All work and no play for Argentina's Big Five

The Argentinian Football Association don't believe in giving their players much of a break.

No sooner have they hit the beaches of Uruguay after driving across with their model girlfriends in their moderately priced cars (there are no supercars in Argentina), than they will be back on the pitch playing in the pesky summer tournament.

Independiente, Boca, River, Racing and San Lorenzo, or the Big Five, will all meet in various destinations such as Mar del Plata - Argentina's version of Blackpool - and Mendoza in the wine-making region.

Mar del Plata... a bit like Blackpool apparently

And in the couple of weeks since the end of the season it has been all change.

Boca have brought back Carlos Bianchi, a former very successful coach to work 'behind' Carlos Ischia. Despite his reassurances he wouldn't step on Ischia's toes, he has already waded in to talk about possible signings. They are particularly desperate for a first team goalkeeper, and Bianchi (noticeably not Ischia) wants Roberto Abbondanzieri.

River had their worst season, well, ever, finishing comprehensively bottom (they don't get relegated because demotion is based on a three year average, basically safeguarding the bigger teams from going down).

Néstor Gorosito, who replaced Simeone via a temporary coach has said cheerio to Sebastián Abreu - sending him out on loan to Spain's Real Sociedad - without, as yet, bringing in a replacement goal-scorer.

Only the Colombian Radamel Falcao made any major impact in front of goal. However, Gorosito has said that "we all would like to see Ortega back." The star is currently in treatment for alcoholism.

Ortega: Return to River on the cards?

But the biggest change has taken place at continually-troubled Racing. Following the Blanquiceleste's demise for financial 'irregularities' the club, like most in Argentina, returned to being a civil association, whereby the fans vote in the club's chairman.

In the last couple of weeks Rodolfo Molina was handed the reins of the club with 43 percent of the vote.

Among the sweltering heat of the Argentine summer, we'll soon begin to see the effects of the changes – starting with River vs Independiente on Tuesday January 13 – the unluckiest day in the Argentine calendar (Friday 13th is actually lucky).

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