Peru boss Gareca denies Boca Juniors interest

BUENOS AIRES, July 7 (Xinhua) — Peru head coach Ricardo Gareca has played down speculation linking him with Boca Juniors, as the Argentine giants seek a replacement for Sebastian Battaglia.

Gareca, who is currently in Argentina for personal reasons, reiterated his commitment to Peru’s national team during a brief conversation with journalists on Thursday.

“Peru is my priority,” the 64-year-old said. “We have an excellent relationship.”

When asked whether he had spoken with Boca, the former Argentina international forward replied: “I have nothing to say”.

Gareca has been Peru’s manager since February 2015 and guided the Blanquirroja to the 2018 World Cup in Russia – their first appearance in football’s showpiece tournament since 1982.

Peru missed out on a place at this year’s World Cup in Qatar after losing an intercontinental playoff against Australia last month.

Battaglia was sacked on Tuesday following Boca’s Copa Libertadores round-of-16 defeat to Corinthians on penalties.

Reserve team manager Hugo Ibarra has been named the club’s caretaker manager.