Gareca plays down Argentina rumors, commits future to Peru

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-08 08:27:22|Editor: huaxia
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RIO DE JANEIRO, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Peru head coach Ricardo Gareca denied Sunday that he could leave his job to take charge of his native Argentina.

The 61-year-old has three years left on his contract with the Peruvian Football Federation and says he plans to honor the deal.

"I have respect ... and love for my country, but I have a contract with a team that has offered me everything," Gareca said after Peru's 3-1 loss to hosts Brazil in the Copa America final at the Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

"I'm used to respecting contracts. We all have a big commitment and that needs to be respected. My contract runs until 2021 and if things go well that could be extended."

Argentina's current head coach, Lionel Scaloni, said on Friday that he had an agreement to keep his job until at least the end of the year.

Speculation has mounted over Scaloni's future following the team's inconsistent performances in the Copa America. The Albiceleste finished the tournament on a high on Saturday by beating Chile 2-1 in their third place playoff in Sao Paulo.

Gareca, a former forward who earned 20 caps for the Albiceleste in the 1980s, was appointed Peru coach in February 2015 and led the team to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Blanquirroja's first appearance in football's showpiece tournament in 36 years.

Meanwhile Gareca said he disagreed with claims by Argentina captain Lionel Messi that this edition of the Copa America was influenced by corruption and that the tournament was "set up" for Brazil to win.

"I respect him [Messi] a lot as a player and a person but that doesn't mean I have to agree with everything he says," Gareca said.

"I think Brazil won on their own merits: they were the best team. There are things in South American football that need to improve, but we have to stop looking at what happens in Europe and considering it better there because that's not necessarily the case. I will always defend football here and I don't think we have to see ourselves as corrupt. We need to promote South American football while at the same time ... work on trying to improve it." Enditem