The faultlines between Julio Grondona and Diego Maradona could deepen if these two cult of personalities square off on the potential inclusion of Juan Roman Riquelme to the national team.
Like Steve McLaren call up of David Beckham in England's faltering Euro 2008 campaign, Riquelme is on Grondona's lips because the Albiceleste are approaching a crisis point under Maradona in their World Cup quest. Juan Sebastian Veron has failed to provide the necessary cohesion to a group of talented individuals still searching for a clue on the pitch.
The match against Brazil looms large in the horizon and has already sparked a bitter exchange of words between River Plate and Maradona over the readiness of the Monumental Stadium. A loss would bring Argentina to the edge of the precipice.
The debate over Riquelme is not new. His performance at the 2006 World Cup was widely panned. The criticism forced Riquelme to announce his international retirement as his mother took ill with the stress of the non-stop media tantrum. At the 2007 Copa America finals, his scintillating form deserted him. His limitations were fatally exposed. Riquelme got swallowed by a physical and bustling Brazilian side. The Argentinian was unable to control the tempo of the game which he had so successfully done prior to the final. He became a defensive liability as he failed to track back to help the besieged Argentinian defense.
Maradona criticized his lack of speed as a reason for dropping him as he sought to introduce a blunter and faster element to the game. Overwhelm the opposition with pace. Riquelme's more sedate approach would be at odds with his change in tactics.
But speed without cohesion is chaotic.
Grondona has not sought privately to influence Maradona putting out feelers through more public channels hoping to drum up support from Riquelme's legions of supporters. He could seek Carlos Bilardo's intervention, the influential general manager of the national squad is a godfather figure to both Maradona and Riquelme. It was through Bilardo that Riquelme learned of Maradona's decision to drop him from the national squad.