Almeyda steps aside at River Plate

Matias Almeyda stepped aside as River Plate coach Wednesday with

the famous Buenos Aires club struggling near the middle of the pack

in the Argentine first division.

Club President Daniel Passarella said the two had agreed on the

decision, although Almeyda left the impression he wanted to

stay.

Almeyda, a respected midfielder with the club, took over in June

2011 after River Plate was relegated to the second division for the

first time in its history. The demotion set off street fighting and

looting in and around River’s stadium.

Almeyda got River back into the first division this season, but

the club’s play suggests relegation could happen again.

”It is very painful for me that his (Almeyda’s) time has

ended,” said Passarella, a former River defender and captain of

Argentina’s 1978 World Cup winning team.

Almeyda first ran out for River in 1991 and played his final

game for the club last year. He has played in Spain and Italy with

long stints at three Italian clubs – Lazio, Parma and Inter Milan.

He has talked about his desire to coach one day in Italy.

Passarella said he would start talking on Thursday to possible

successors.