Boca legend Riquelme makes sensational return (video)

After retiring from the game in July of last year and in December re-confirming his intention to hang up his jersey, Juan Roman Riquelme has once again returned to the club he loves and the club who love him – Boca Juniors.

Just one month ago, I wrote an article speculating as to whether we had seen Juan Riquelme kick his last ball in professional football after the mercurial Argentine talent had rejected overtures from Brazilian sides Fluminense, Palmeiras and his boyhood heroes to make a comeback after quitting the sport just six months previously. (See here)

Within the article, I also hinted that we should not be surprised to see the 34-year-old playmaker make his return. Yet, Riquelme’s shock decision to lace up his boots once more appears to have caught everyone off guard.

Riquelme retired after defeat in the Copa Libertadores final to Brazilian adverseries Corinthians in July 2012, citing that he had nothing left to give the club and that he had burnt out.

Speculation mounted that the Boca legend – who is immortalised by a statue in the club museum – was set for a return to the club in December when he appeared at the Boca training ground for the first day of pre-season, however he only visited to re-iterate that he had no intention of pulling on the famous blue and yellow jersey once more.

It is believed that Riquelme exited Boca in July as a result of a fiery relationship with then coach Julio Cesar Falconi and several disagreements with him over the team’s tactics. However, Falconi was replaced by Boca’s most successful ever coach and Larry David lookalike Carlos Bianchi in December 2012 paving the way for Riquelme’s return.

Riquelme and Bianchi have previously united to great effect to secure Boca Juniors 3 Argentine League titles, 2 Copa Libertadores and 1 Intercontinental cup and it is believed that Bianchi has been instrumental in Riquelme’s return. Upon the return of Boca’s second favourite son, Bianchi said “He [Riquelme] has realised that at 34 he doesn’t have to stop playing football…Roman has a lot to give any team, as long as he’s in good shape.

It would be foolish to guess how long Riquelme will remain in his fourth stint with the Buenos Aires giants and perhaps downright stupid to dare to believe that we may see Riquelme pull on a blue and white jersey for the 2014 World Cup.

However, Boca Juniors fans will be salivating over the return of their talisman and entertaining the prospect of both Riquelme and Bianchi combining once again to deliver domestic and continental success to La Bombanera stadium.


He has realised that at 34 he doesn’t have to stop playing football … Roman has a lot to give to any team, as long as he’s in good shape