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By ESPN Staff

Ortega says he is staying at Newell's Old Boys

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Former Argentina forward Ariel Ortega has denied reports that he is leaving Newell's Old Boys to re-join River Plate, the club where he began his career.

'For the time being, I'm staying at Newell's, where I have to report for training on Thursday,' he told the Diarios y Noticias news agency.

Ortega has missed his team's last two games for personal reasons, fuelling speculation that he is returning to River and that he has fallen out with the team's Chilean coach Juvenal Olmos.

However, Newell's president Eduardo Lopez said: 'This proposal has not been considered, because we didn't buy this player to loan him to River.'

The 31-year-old, famous for his trickery and infamous for his playacting, ended a 19-month soccer exile when he joined Newell's a year ago after FIFA brokered an agreement in which Turkey's Fenerbahce agreed to release him for three million euros ($3.99 million).

Ortega, who played 86 matches for Argentina and scored 17 goals, had previously been ordered to pay $11 million to Fenerbahce after walking out on them in February 2003, failing to return after playing for Argentina in a friendly away to the Netherlands.

Newell's won the 2004/5 Apertura championship less than three months after Ortega signed but their form this year has been less impressive.

They were last month knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana by arch-rivals Rosario Central and are a modest 15th in the Apertura championship with six points from six games.