ARGENTINA

Marcelo Gallardo rejects Barcelona rumours: "My wish is to stay with River Plate"

Marcelo Gallardo is set to stay with River Plate in 2020. The coach dismissed speculation over his future amid rumours linking him to the Barcelona job.

Gallardo to stay on as River Plate coach in 2020

Marcelo Gallardo has announced that he will be staying on as River Plate coach in 2020. Barcelona have been linked with Gallardo to replace Ernesto Valverde but the 43-year-old confirmed that his intention is to remain with River during a press conference on Wednesday.

Gallardo puts Barcelona rumours to bed

"At the end of the year I usually stop to see where I'm going, what stimulates me, my state, what gets me going and what works with my professional and personal priorities," Gallardo told journalists today. "Something began to be generated regarding the decision I was going to make. I don't want that to continue. On 2 January, I will be here and I will start the pre-season, which may be in Uruguay, Buenos Aires on the south of the country. I am not interested in generating any kind of uncertainty. My wish is to continue with this team. I never had doubts about staying. Being here is hard with the requirements you put on yourself and what it means to be in charge of this club. That's why you have to stop and reflect. Beyond my contract, which expires in December 2021, there is no clause. The leadership and I have a very cordial relationship."

Gallardo's highs and lows with River

Gallardo, who won six league titles and the Copa Libertadores as a River player, took over in 2014 and has led them to 10 trophies, including a pair of Libertadores triumphs. The last of those continental successes came in memorable fashion in 2018 with a 5-3 aggregate defeat of arch-rivals Boca Juniors after extra time in a final second leg that was moved to the Santiago Bernabeu.

River were unable to defend the Libertadores trophy last month, however, as they fell to a dramatic 2-1 defeat to Flamengo late on in Lima. Gallardo's side sit fifth in the Superliga, three points off the top, and will play their final match of the year when they take on Central Córdoba in the Copa Argentina final on Saturday.