BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Guillermo Barros Schelotto's future is a puzzle he must decifer in the coming days. At the end of the 2010 season, the Columbus Crew declined their option on the Argentine star, listing him as one of the players available in the Re-Entry Draft.
Unselected by any of the 18 MLS teams in both stages of the Re-Entry process, el Mellizo is now a free agent and is free to negotiate directly with whichever club pursues the attacker.
Rumor has it that he'll return to Argentine side Gimansia y Esgrima La Plata, the club that saw him touch the ball for the first time as a professional. But the 37-year-old spoke exclusively with FutbolMLS.com to clear up all that has been said about his supposed return to play in his homeland, as well as what the next step will be for him, should he decide to keep knocking the ball around.
FutbolMLS.com: You assumed you wouldn’t be selected in the Re-Entry Draft, right?
Schelotto: Yes, because of the salary issue. Now other teams can contact me up until Jan. 1 and they can lower my salary. I’m not really clear how it works, but I think that teams can negotiate directly with me.
FutbolMLS.com: Has anyone reached out to you since you’ve been in Buenos Aires?
Schelotto: Yes, a few [MLS teams] reached out to me last Friday but they wanted to see what they would do in the [Re-Entry] draft, picking players so as not to lose out on them, and then they would determine their next step.
FutbolMLS.com: The financial issue takes a back seat, no?
Schelotto: Yes ... that issue is not important. The fundamental factor is that I feel well because, if I move to another team, I can’t ask them to invest in me, to sign me, and then I’m not able to produce and assume the responsibility that comes with it. I want to be convinced that, from a physical standpoint, I can take on the responsibility, whether in [MLS] or elsewhere in the world.
FutbolMLS.com: There were many rumors about an “almost certain” return to Gimnasia y Esgrima in La Plata. What’s the truth?
Schelotto: Honestly, so many things have been said in which I have nothing to do with. I don’t know what happened or so many things were said. I haven’t decided what I will do [with my career]. I am on vacation, half-disconnected from everything and waiting for next year to see what I will decide to do about whether to play or not.
FutbolMLS.com: But is it true that you accepted to do the preseason with Gimnasia?
Schelotto: No. I don’t know where this came from. I didn’t say anything. One day it comes out in the La Plata newspapers that I said that I would return and the next day the papers hammer me with questions. And if I tell the fans I’m not coming back, they insult me. I’ll be honest, here in La Plata it’s really difficult. I can’t believe it. I read the papers and sometimes I listen to the radio and I say to myself, “This was never like this.” You don’t understand the outlandish things they put [in the papers] and say.
FutbolMLS.com: The president of the club, Héctor Delmar, said that “it’s very likely” that you’ll play the next six months with Gimnasia.
[inline_node:320635]Schelotto: I spoke with him but I prefer not to talk about it because otherwise I have to clear up a bunch of things. I prefer not to speak about Gimnasia and I don’t know about the upcoming season. I have not decided yet if I’ll continue to play. That is the biggest decision that I have to make and I have not made it yet.
FutbolMLS.com: What kind of things are going through your head?
Schelotto: After 20 years of playing – and I’m 37 – I don’t know whether to continue or not. I want to feel free to decide without pressure from any person or team. I want to feel free to keep playing.
FutbolMLS.com: Do you leave the door open for a return to Argentina?
Schelotto: No, it’s not that I left the door open, but rather that I have to decide first what I’m going to do. I have to think it through. I don’t want to speak about Argentine soccer. If I come back here, I would only come back to one place, obviously [Gimnasia]. And if I decide not to play anymore, they’re going to say, “Why not?” So I prefer not to express an opinion on this.
FutbolMLS.com: When you left the Columbus Crew, the reason given for your departure and that of some of your teammates was because they wanted to build a younger team for 2011. But in the Re-Entry Draft, they selected 34-year-old Jeff Cunningham. What are your thoughts on this?
Schelotto: Well, it’s a total contradiction. I didn’t know Cunningham was that old. … But oh well, you would have to ask [head coach Robert Warzycha] and the person who backed the decision.
FutbolMLS.com: After leaving Ohio, have you spoken to the people from Columbus again?
FutbolMLS.com: A few days ago, Warzycha and his assistant Ricardo Iribarren were in Buenos Aires. Did they contact you?
Schelotto: I knew they were coming and I imagine that their ideology is totally different from mine. I knew that they wouldn’t get in touch with me and that they would try to look for what it is they’re looking for, which surely has nothing to do with my way of thinking. It’s fine that they didn’t call me.
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