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Dempo SC: Is Ariel Ortega a Good Choice

Ortega: India Calling

Indian football fans have been on the high since last night when a regional Bengali Channel Mohua Khabar break the news about Argentinean three time World Cupper Ariel Ortega being interested in playing for Dempo. With thoughts about whether the news being a rumour or a truth, I was wondering why Dempo would choose Ortega at this stage of his career, when he is no longer wanted in his home country.

Yes, Ariel ‘Burrito’ Ortega might have had a glorious past. He captured the imagination of the nation as the poster boy of the River Plate Youth System in the early 90’s. Making a splash for the recently relegated club in 1991 as a teenager, Ortega had a meteoric rise making him a very prominent member of the national team.

“Orteguita” had everything any player could ask for- pace, dribble, change of direction, a shot and a bright future ahead. At that point there was not a player who could match him. Not one player could defend him. His performance left the Argentine news media amazed as to what “Orteguita” could do with a ball “tied” to his feet.

Ortega had in him to become like ‘Messi’ even before Leo had hit the scene. However, his internal demons were a hindrance in his progress. His explosive personality was part of the deserved “Orteguita” tag he was not able to shake off.  His personality was always a complicated one, thus not helping him obtain stability with any club that he was a part of during his career after 1996.

Further his addiction to alcoholism was one major hindrance in his career often getting embroiled in controversies. His long list of offences under the influence of Alcohol includes sneaking off during hugely important international tours to crashing cars to often skipping training etc etc. Even on the pitch his temper often eluded him from giving his best. Many would still remember his infamous head butt on Edwin Van Der Sar in the 1998 World Cup Quarter Final for which he was send off.

More recently, he had a spat with his River Plate manager Diego Simeone and was sent out on loan to 2nd division side Independiente Rivadavia as the manager was very fed up with his attitude and alcoholism.

If Dempo at all signs the former Argentina International, there is no doubt to the fact that the presence of someone as his stature would financially help Dempo. People will flock to the stadium to watch him in action. Sales of merchandise may go up. Dempo will obviously get an extra mileage even in the eyes of corporate.

But one question that still haunts me is whether Ortega can deliver, kicking off his alcoholism habbits’ and his short temper. The other point is that he has past his prime and is 37 now. Yes he might still be able to make a cut above the rest in India putting in all his experience behind. However in my personal opinion, he is a bad choice for Dempo and above all a bad example for young footballers. Lastly Dempo are after a player who has been discarded by the world and his own country because of his evil nature.

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