BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Former Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago, the outstanding player in the Argentine league, has penned a new contract with Boca Juniors as they resume their quest for the first division title.
Boca visit Banfield on Saturday in their first match this year since the championship made a belated resumption with Velez Sarsfield’s 3-2 home win over Estudiantes on Thursday.
The championship should have restarted five weeks ago after the summer recess but was delayed by financial issues that sparked a players’ strike -- which ended in midweek.
Argentina playmaker Gago, the Boca captain, signed a new contract on Friday until 2020 after fears he might follow Carlos Tevez to the football El Dorado in China. Tevez left Boca for Shanghai Shenhua in a reported $87 million move in December.
“Captain Fernando Gago renewed his contract and Boca fans will be able to enjoy his football for another three years,” the club said on its Twitter account (@BocaJrsOficial).
The 30-year-old, whose previous contract was due to end in June, left Boca for Real Madrid in 2006 and also played for AS Roma, Valencia and Velez before returning to Boca in 2013.
He was a key figure as Boca took the lead in the first half of the season with 31 points from 14 matches, three points clear of joint second-placed San Lorenzo and Newell’s Old Boys.
Argentine clubs have had mixed results after the long break in domestic action with San Lorenzo losing 4-0 away to Flamengo and league title holders Lanus beaten 1-0 at home by Nacional of Uruguay in their opening group matches in the Copa Libertadores this week.
Reporting by Rex Gowar, editing by Pritha Sarkar