Former Catania coach Diego Simeone has made an instant return to football, as he officially returns for a second spell at struggling Argentine giants Racing Club.
The ex-Argentina midfielder and veteran of 106 caps was presented as the successor to Miguel Angel Russo in a press conference held on Tuesday afternoon, and he will start immediately a second spell in charge of La Academia. 'El Cholo' finished his career in Avellaneda in 2005 and had a short tenure as coach following his retirement, before leaving to take the reins at Estudiantes, River Plate and San Lorenzo in his native land.
After a bright start Racing suffered an alarming slump in form in the second half of the Clausura, eventually finishing 15th. Speaking to reporters, Simeone affirmed that he would try to rebuild at the club, and that his immediate goal was to secure Copa Libertadores qualification for the coming year.
"We have to plan our objectives step by step. After finishing 15th, we will have to take things slowly and with great care. We know that we are growing, but the plain fact is that we came 15th," the trainer admitted.
"The first aim is to get into a cup competition, something that hasn't happened for a while here."
The 41-year-old declared himself pleased to be back in El Cilindro, but was tight-lipped about the squad he was inheriting; especially the two Colombian stars, Giovanni Moreno and Teofilo Gutierrez.
"Giovanni is recovering [from cruciate ligament surgery]. He needs to focus on that and return to the levels he showed before. Teofilo is a quality player and we hope to count on him in our team," he mentioned, declining to confirm whether the Copa America participant would be retained or sold by the club.
Simeone is expected to make wholesale changes to the team, which despite their poor performance are considered one of the best teams in the country. Captain Claudio Yacob and Patricio Toranzo are two players expected to leave, while San Lorenzo goalkeeper Pablo Migliore, Once Caldas' Carlos Carbonero and Matias Sanchez of Estudiantes are three potential transfer targets for the upcoming Apertura.