Friday, 14 May 2010

Priority Ten

Those unfortunates who have beared witness to 18 months of Boca Juniors mediocrity, turmoil and scandal could be excused a nano-second of hope, a moments anticipation on reading the headline in recent edition of Olé. On delving a little deeper into the article dreams are soon dashed, 10 new players wont be arriving in the close season, Mayor of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri wont be directing city funds towards his former employers, and wealthy Arab shaikhs don't see Boca Juniors as the next Manchester City.

The Ten is Juan Roman Riquelme, one of the few players who's returned to the land of his birth without the aid of a walking frame. For many Riquelme is the embodiment of La Nuestra (the way the game should be played) whilst for others he's an unnecessary luxury, a relic of a bygone era and a devisive figure within the team and club as a whole. Never one to shirk confrontation he famously fell out with Maradona (who hasn't?) and retired from the national team for the 2nd time; made a guest appearance at a barbecue organised by the club's infamous La Doce hooligan gang ( and in recent months has admitted that he can't stand Boca's record goalscorer Martin Palermo. He's seen off potential coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto who would only consider the job on the proviso that JR moved on, probably a blessing as he has no coaching experience. Riquelme's contract expires in June and rumours seemed to indicate that he'd follow Pato Abbondanzieri north to Brazil with Flamengo and Corinthians showing interest which would give the 31 year old another chance at Libertadores glory. This evening's game away to Banfield may have been his last appearance for the club 'if I don't return as a player I'll be back as a fan' he said last weekend but after an operation on his left knee he will be sidelined for at least 2 months.

Post-convalescance keep your eyes and ears open, scour your local paper the world's greatest playmaker could be taking the field at a football ground near you..........