July 24, 2018 / 6:30 PM / 3 months ago

Peru fan takes out ads in plea for coach Gareca to stay

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - An anonymous fan took out a page of personal ads in the Buenos Aires daily Clarin on Tuesday in an unusual appeal for Peru’s Argentine-born manager Ricardo Gareca to stay in the job.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - Peru Press Conference - Ekaterinburg Arena, Yekaterinburg, Russia - June 20, 2018 Peru coach Ricardo Gareca during a press conference REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge/File Photo

Gareca, who is currently at home in Argentina on holiday, led Peru to their first World Cup in 36 years at the Russia 2018 finals and is hugely popular in the Andean nation.

However, he has not yet decided whether to remain in charge or seek a new challenge and the passionate Peru fan took to the small ads in a bid to convince the 60-year-old manager to stay on and lead the team to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“GARECA, come home to PERU 32 million unconditional (fans) are waiting for you to take us to QATAR/Don’t think about it/RETURN/#Garecareturn,” said the small ads, which numbered close to 100 and covered almost a whole page at the back of the paper.

The newspaper said the unnamed fan paid $1,130 to buy the space in the classifieds section.

Gareca, who took over the Peru job in 2015, told Reuters that friends had sent him photos of the page and he was “very thankful for the affection shown.”

Gareca has been offered a new contract to lead Peru in the World Cup qualifiers for the 2022 finals and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Argentina national team job after Jorge Sampaoli stepped down this month.

Peru went out of the World Cup after finishing third in the group stage following 1-0 defeats by eventual champions France and Denmark before a 2-0 win over Australia in their final game.

Reporting by Ramiro Scandalo; Writing by Andrew Downie; editing by Ken Ferris

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