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River Plate coach Gallardo disputes Barcelona rumours

12:10 PM GMT+8 09/11/2019
Marcelo Gallardo River Plate 2019-20
The Argentine claims he hasn't been approached by the Catalans and remains focused on his current club

Marcelo Gallardo played down rumours he could take over as Barcelona coach, saying his focus was on River Plate.

Gallardo has been linked with a move to Camp Nou amid reports Ernesto Valverde will leave no later than the end of the season.

However, the River coach discussed the rumours ahead of a big finish to the year, including a Copa Libertadores final clash against Flamengo on November 23.

"No party came forward to start a conversation, especially knowing that we are in a very important phase for our club, playing decisive matches," Gallardo told a news conference on Friday, via Globo Esporte.

"Of course there is nothing that takes my focus off the goals ahead."

"I can't echo the rumours," he added. "No one came to suggest a meeting or analysis of what to do in the future. This is not the time for that."

Gallardo has been in charge of River since 2014, winning two Copa Libertadores titles.

River are third in the Argentinian Primera Division, a point adrift of Argentinos Juniors and Lanus through 12 games.

While Gallardo is focused on the job at hand, River's sporting director, Enzo Francescoli, admitted he must be ready for the possibility his coach could be signed by Barcelona.  

"We need to be prepared for any decision," he told  TYC Sports ."This happened a few years ago when Ramon Diaz told us he had to leave, but I don't think about this a lot.

"You [the media] make me think about this when I speak with you. I'm not thinking about what'll happen in a couple of months because it's not even my decision.”

With Barcelona winless in their past two matches, pressure has quickly mounted on Valverde, but the man himself believes his position is secure

"I'm not worried about my future," he told reporters on Friday. "The other day I had dinner [with Bartomeu]. I feel supported and respected.

"Whether you understand [the criticism] or not, it's how it is. I don't have much to say. If we'd scored a goal [against Slavia], everyone would be more calm. It's how it is. You have to accept things as they come.

"A week ago, we were on the highway, we had seven wins in a row. Now, we'll see."