On eve of playoffs, Colorado Rapids get positive signs about Martin Rivero's future

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – If both the Colorado Rapids and midfielder Martín Rivero have their respective ways, Rivero will be back in a burgundy uniform in 2014 – and perhaps beyond.

But there are still hoops to be jumped through before the two sides can seal a deal.

The Argentine No. 10 has struggled through a variety of injuries in 2013, playing in just 15 games so far. Since returning from injury in August, he’s been in and out of head coach Oscar Pareja’s lineup. But the Rapids still view him as a key building block moving forward and would like to bring him back once his two-year loan expires after this season, and the feeling is mutual.

Rivero’s agent, Martín González, told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Argentina on Saturday that the 23-year-old has garnered interest from teams in Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia, but his strong preference is to stay in Colorado.

“The idea is that Martín wants to remain there,” Gonzalez said on Saturday. “We’re going to have to talk of course, but the idea is that Martín remains in Denver.”

Rivero himself has clearly and repeatedly expressed a desire to stay in Colorado, where he thrived in 2012, leading the Rapids with eight assists and starting all 30 games he was eligible to play in. Pareja’s possession-based, one-touch style of attack suits Rivero’s slick-passing nature, and his wife and infant daughter have enjoyed their time in Colorado as well.

“He’s enjoying the team and the city,” González said. “He’s really happy there. But we still do have to talk if he’s going to continue there or not.”

A formal answer isn’t far off. The Rapids are expected to make their decision – they’re trying to lower Rivero’s permanent buy from Argentine side Rosario Central – one way or the other in the next few weeks. But if what both sides are saying is true, the answer to the question of Rivero’s future appears to be an obvious one.

“There’s a price set, there’s a price we have on our end and can we come to an agreement?” Rapids technical director Paul Bravo told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “We’ll come to a conclusion here pretty quickly.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.