La Volpe takes over at Velez, swaps with Russo

December 22, 2006

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Ricardo La Volpe was named as the new coach of Velez Sarsfield on Thursday, one week after quitting Boca Juniors following their spectacular failure to win the Argentine championship.

The former Mexico coach completed a straight swap with Miguel Angel Russo, who last week left Velez to take charge at Boca.

'After several days of negotiations, Ricardo La Volpe agreed to join as the new coach of Velez Sarsfield for one year,' the former South American champions said on their website.

La Volpe, who led Mexico to the second round at this year's World Cup, joined Boca in September as he returned home after 26 years of playing and coaching in Mexico.

Boca appeared almost certain to win the Apertura championship when they led by four points from Estudiantes with two games to play.

Incredibly, they lost both games against modest Belgrano and Lanus, going down 2-1 at home in the latter after taking the lead.

Estudiantes pulled level on points to send the title race to a playoff which they won 2-1 after Boca again let slip an early lead. La Volpe announced his resignation immediately afterwards.

The gruff former goalkeeper, who was reserve in Argentina's 1978 World Cup winning team, is a studious tactician but struggled to settle at Boca.

There were reports that some players could not adapt to his system and were worn down by his three-hour training sessions.