River Plate veteran Ariel Ortega has been informed by coach Juan Jose Lopez that he will not represent the club when the Clausura season opens next month.
Ortega has been River’s key player for much of the last two decades but missed the club’s first day of practice on Wednesday for the forthcoming Clausura season. When he arrived at practice he said Lopez told him he was no longer required.
“He (Lopez) told me I’m not in their plans,” he told reporters before leaving practice. The 36-year-old Ortega said he expected to talk with club President Daniel Passarella about his contract, which expires at the end of the Clausura season.
River Plate have struggled in recent seasons, but the club showed signs of improvement towards the end of the recent Apertura season under Lopez. The coach took over in November after Angel Cappa was sacked.
Ortega joined River in 1991 and stayed until 1996. He spent the next four seasons with European clubs Valencia, Sampdoria and Parma before returning to River in 2000. He left again in 2002 for Turkey club Fenerbahce, but came back to Argentina in 2004 with Newell’s Old Boys.
He moved back to River Plate in 2006 and stayed there, expect for a year on loan with Argentine club Rivadavia de Mendoza.