June 20, 2013
Saudi Arabian club seek Riquelme's services
A mystery, cash-rich Saudi Arabian club have tabled a US$3 million bid for Boca Juniors idol Juan Román Riquelme, an international football site revealed.
Sources close to the player expect negotiations to begin in the next couple of days if Boca agree to sell their captain and icon. The unnamed club is competing in continental competition, narrowing down the possibilities to Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al Hilal and Al Ettifaq, according to Goal football web site.
The Argentine playmaker, 34, revealed following the Copa Libertadores final defeat to Corinthians that he had played his last game for the club, shocking fans of the Buenos Aires institution, whom yesterday gathered at La Bombonera stadium and at the nation’s main capital cities with their team's flags to show their support to player Juan Román Riquelme, beg him to rethink his decision and blame Boca's President Daniel Angelici and coach Julio Falcioni for the midfielder’s abrupt exit.
According to the site, the Saudi club have made Riquelme their number one transfer priority.
Riquelme is contracted to Boca until June 2014, meaning that the Saudis would have to negotiate with the 2011 Apertura champions before discussing personal terms with the ex-Barcelona and Villarreal man. It also remains to be seen whether the star would leave his family and young son in order to pursue his career outside South America.
An irreconcilable rift with coach Julio César Falcioni, who never wanted to play with a playmaker or a 4-3-1-2 form instead of his favourite 4-4-2, and president Daniel Angelici are behind his decision make it appear unlikely that he will return with the “Xeneizes” while the pair are still there.
Riquelme has also been linked to Brazil’s powerhouse Flamengo, Villarreal, West Ham, Bolton Wanderers, and local clubs Tigre, whose coach and former Boca teammate Rodolfo Arruabarrena had already said doors are open for Román at the Northern Greater Buenos Aires side, and Argentinos Juniors, where the midfielder started hius career.