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River Plate confirm the signing of former Real Zaragoza captain Leonardo Ponzio

January 8, 2012 By Gregory Sica
The defensive midfielder has returned to the club to help them in their fight to return to the Argentine top-flight.
Experienced defensive midfielder Leonardo Ponzio returned to Argentine giants River Plate after signing a three-year deal with the club on Saturday. The former Real Zaragoza captain decided to join the club to help them return to the Argentine first division.

Ponzio, 29, became River Plate's second reinforcement of the Summer after former Juventus scoring-machine David Trezeguet, who penned a three and a half year deal with the club in late December.

River Plate, who were relegated to the Argentine second division for the first time in their entire 110-year history last year, have invested in high-quality players in an attempt to regain their status as a 'big' Argentine club.

River Plate ended the first round of the Primera B Nacional in second-place last year, with 35 points from 18 matches, two points behind league leaders Instituto of Cordoba.

Having suffered three defeats, River deemed it necessary to sign a player of Ponzio's defensive capabilities. It will be the player's second stint at River Plate, after having been part of the side between 2007 and 2009. During that time Ponzio helped Los Millonarios win the 2008 Clausura championship.

Matias Almeyda, the coach of River, has gained two experienced players to add some much needed depth to his squad. However, this means the club will have to release several players. Those players nominated to exit the club include Mauro Diaz, Facundo Affranchino, Daniel Villalva and Gustavo Bou.

River Plate kick-off the second round of the Argentine Primera B Nacional against Almirante Brown on February 4.

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