After months of speculation, Guillermo Barros Schelotto is set to join MLS from Boca Juniors, just like it's 2007 all over again. This time, however, the Argentine is headed for the touchline rather than the forward line.
Schelotto has flirted with the league since his coaching career began, and this year the reports gained further momentum, turning into an avalanche once it was confirmed he'd depart Boca Juniors after their season ended. But most of those rumors had GBS succeeding Tata Martino at Atlanta United.
Instead, Schelotto was named head coach of the LA Galaxy on Wednesday.
Here's 10 things to know about the Boca and Columbus Crew SC legend:
During his 16-year playing career in Argentina, Schelotto won 17 (!) official trophies. He won the league six times, Copa Libertadores four times, Copa Sudamericana twice, Recopa Sudamericana twice and the Intercontinental Cup twice. All but one of those trophies came with Boca Juniors, a club where he starred for 10 years.
Then, he came to MLS and the winning didn't stop.
Crew SC legend
Schelotto enjoyed a memorable four-year spell with Crew SC from 2007-10. He won MLS MVP and MLS Cup MVP in 2008, while also leading Columbus to a Supporters' Shield-MLS Cup double that year.
He was Crew SC's first-ever Designated Player, contributing 33 goals and 41 assists in 102 appearances after joining towards at the end of his playing career.
2008 MLS Cup hero
HIGHLIGHTS: Columbus Crew vs. NY Red Bulls | MLS Cup 2008
In the Crew's 2008 MLS Cup triumph, Schelotto shined brightest on the biggest stage. Crew SC beat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 and GBS assisted on all three goals. Words won't do the highlights justice, so just watch them already.
Copa Libertadores heartbreak
Schelotto was in the global soccer news recently as he guided Boca Juniors to a dream matchup in the Copa Libertadores final against heated Buenos Aires rivals River Plate. Unfortunately, much of the conversation was diverted from the playing field to extracurriculars.
After a thrilling 2-2 first-leg draw, Boca made the short trip to River for the return leg. Outside the stadium, River supporters threw bricks at Boca's bus, breaking windows. The players and staff were shaken up and the final was postponed. Schelotto was outspoken about his disappointment in the events.
"Today we should be talking about how River and Boca are putting Argentina on the highest pedestal possible and instead we are talking about violence instead of what the teams have achieved this season," Schelotto said, via Sky Sports. "Unfortunately, we haven't learned from the same errors we have made before and we have ended up damaging Argentina and South America."
Eventually, the two sides packed up and finished the final in Spain, where Schelotto's Boca fell after extra time.
At Lanus, Schelotto worked with a number of players who would soon join MLS.
Lucas Melano, Alejandro Silva, Diego Valeri and Miguel Almiron all played for Schelotto over the years at Lanus. Interestingly no player he managed at Boca since 2016 has joined MLS — yet.
Bureaucracy blocked potential Serie A adventure
After four years in charge of Lanus, Schelotto headed to Palermo, then in Serie A, in January of 2016. But he was judged to have insufficient coaching experience to meet UEFA licensing regulations and left the club on mutual terms less than a month later, postponing his opportunity to manage in Europe for the time being.
"It is with deep regret that Palermo must take note of the decision of Guillermo Barros Schelotto and his staff to leave the technical guidance of the team, having not got the UEFA-recognized license to coach," read a statement from Palermo.
Gustavo and Guillermo Barros Schelotto | Reuters/Action Images
Guillermo's twin brother Gustavo was also a professional soccer player. The two played together at Gimnasia in Argentina, where their father was a club president. Gustavo briefly featured at Boca with Guillermo.
Gustavo has been an assistant on Guillermo's staff at both Lanus and Boca.
Style of play
Schelotto has predominantly played an attacking 4-3-3 system, averaging just under two goals scored per game while leading Boca.
With more work to be done this offseason, the Galaxy aren't quite yet tailor-made for that system (where would Gio dos Santos play if he sticks around? Would Ola Kamara be effective playing left wing full time?). But with Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line and Romain Alessandrini unshackled from much defensive responsibility on the right wing, the club shouldn't have much trouble scoring goals.
No stranger to Galaxy-like pressure
At Boca Juniors, the club is expected to win everything, all the time. The Galaxy aren't much different.
LA have won more MLS Cups (5) than any other club in league history. They have far and away made the final more times (9) than any other club in league history. They've missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, a near-foreign concept to the club, and have swiftly changed coaches each season in attempt to rectify that.
The Galaxy are also the home of the stars. It's the club that David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Carlos Ruiz, Cobi Jones, Steven Gerrard and Ibrahimovic have all passed through. MLS coaching legends Sigi Schmid and Bruce Arena have served with distinction on the touchline.
Schelotto won't be unfamiliar with the pressure, having just held one of the highest-pressured jobs in the world.
No stranger to Zlatan-like personalities
Schelotto with Tevez | Reuters/Action Images
Admittedly, there is nopersonality quite like Ibrahimovic, but, Carlos Tevez isn't exactly in another stratosphere.
Tevez began his career at Boca before moving to Europe and enjoying success at West Ham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus before returning to his boyhood club in 2015, just before Schelotto took. Tevez then left after GBS' first season in charge, heading to China, but returned for a third spell at Boca after failing to settle in Shanghai.
This season, he made 10 appearances in the league and another 10 in the Copa Libertadores. Tevez is an absolute icon at Boca, and his manager was able to get him to be a team player while finding success in the league and nearly taking South America's top prize.