Former Inter Milan and Roma defender Nicolas Burdisso has been appointed sporting director at Boca Juniors, the Argentine giants announced in a press conference on Monday.
The move comes three days after the Buenos Aires club parted ways with coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto following the historic Copa Libertadores defeat to arch rivals River Plate.
Burdisso began his career at Boca before moving to Italy as a 23-year-old and playing out the rest of his career there, where he also donned the colours of Genoa and Torino.
“I’ve been waiting for a long time to return to the place that formed me,” said Burdisso, 37, who retired earlier this year having won 49 Argentina caps.
Despite leading Boca to back-to-back league titles, the club decided to dispense with Barros Schelotto following the 3-1 defeat to River a week ago in the Libertadores final second leg that was moved to Madrid over security concerns.
The original second leg — following a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Boca’s emblematic Bombonera stadium — was postponed three weeks ago after several Boca players were injured when their team bus came under attack from River fans on the way to the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires.
Burdisso, who has no coaching experience, was an under-20 World Cup winner with Argentina in 2001 and Olympic gold medallist in Athens in 2004.
He played at the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010.
One of his first tasks will be to find a new coach.
“We have a very clear profile for the coach we need,” he said.
Local press have named former Brazil and Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, and Jose Pekerman, the ex boss of Argentina and Colombia, as possible replacements for Barros Schelotto.