Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto wants to set the record straight.
Media in Argentina have been reporting for some time now that Boca Juniors are looking to Schelotto to become their new head coach. He would be asked to bring back the dignity and respect to a club that has fallen to 18th place of the 20-team Argentine Clausura.
Schelotto says that despite the reports, he has yet to enter into any discussions to take over the team.
“I have not spoken with the people at Boca Juniors,” Schelotto told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “They have not called me, but I read the newspapers and I know [Boca’s interest in hiring me as coach] a reality. Right now I am thinking like a player. I am a Columbus Crew player. I am totally dedicated to the Crew and I am focused on the next game against Dallas.”
Boca Juniors President Jorge Ameal is said to be traveling to Columbus in the coming days to make a formal offer to the Bombonera legend.
“I don’t know anything about this,” Schelotto said. “I want to repeat that I have not spoken to Boca Juniors officials. I can’t speak to anything except for what I read in the press. They could be true but they haven’t told me anything and I can only say that.”
El Mellizo (The Twin), as he is popularly known in Argentina, admitted that his contract with the Crew runs through the end of the 2010 season. He also confirmed that there does not exist any clause in his MLS contract that would allow him to take the head coaching job at Boca should it be offered to him.
The question then becomes whether he would accept a head-coaching position should it eventually be offered to him.
“Right now I can’t make a decision on a possible return to Argentina because I have not been offered that chance,” Schelotto said. “I can’t speak about hypotheticals. I want to repeat: My mind is focused on the game against Dallas and I continue to think like a soccer player. The day I retire, I plan to be a coach, and at that point I welcome the opportunity to lead Boca. But right now I am a player.”
The Argentine media have consistently made mention of his relationship with another Boca Juniors star, Juan Román Riquelme. Some insist that should Schelotto ever take charge of Boca, Riquelme would be shown the door.
“I’ve heard and read about that,” he said. “But I can’t give an opinion on what other people think or what others write or say. I have not said anything about [my relationship with Riquelme] and I don’t want to do so publicly. Not just about him but about any other payer. Because then people draw conclusions and opinions that are not real. So I’d rather not speak about any specific player.”
On the MLS front, Schelotto believes that the continuity of the squad from their 2008 championship season bodes well for this year.
“The 2009 season only finished badly because we were eliminated from the playoffs right away,” he said. “We won the Supporters’ Shield and that was good. The team has the same base from 2008, and we are confident that we are going to be back in the top position.”