Friday, 17 June 2011

J. Riquelme Biography

Posted by Its All About Sports at 18:42
* Full Name: Juan Roman Riquelme
    * Squad No: 10
    * Position: Midfielder
    * Age: 33
   * Birth Date: Jun 24, 1978
    * Birth Place: San Fernando, Argentina
    * Height: 1.82m
    * Weight: 75 kg

Club career
Early career

Riquelme was born into a family of ten in poverty, and grew up in Don Torcuato. Argentine clubs Boca Juniors and River Plate spotted him when he was a youth player for Argentinos Juniors. He chose to move to Boca in 1995 - for US$800,000 - as he had been a fan of the club since childhood. A year later, on 10 November 1996, Riquelme played his first professional match in a 2-0 win over Unión de Santa Fe. Two weeks later, he scored his first senior goal, in Boca's 6-0 win over Huracán.

In 2002, after seven successful seasons with Boca Juniors, Riquelme was transferred to Barcelona for a reported €11 million. Shortly before his departure from Boca, his brother, Cristian, was kidnapped. Riquelme negotiated for his brother's release and eventually paid the ransom. He stated this was one of the reasons why he chose to leave Boca, although it was also noted Riquelme was in dispute with Boca over his contract at the time. Louis van Gaal described Riquelme as a "political signing" and treated him with indifference. When van Gaal did play him, he did so rarely, deploying him on the flanks; thus, the player was unable to find his form during a period of largely substitute appearances, losing his place in the first team. He played mainly - as a starter - in the Spanish Cup, and netted the game's only goal in a rare UEFA Champions League first XI opportunity, at Club Brugge.


Riquelme would be loaned to fellow La Liga side Villarreal for the following two years; there, he played alongside compatriots Juan Pablo Sorín and Rodolfo Arruabarrena, as well as two other Argentines and three Brazilians. At the end of 2004-05, Spanish sports newspaper Diario Marca awarded him the title of Artistic Player, and he also earned a nomination for the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year award. In an effort to keep hold of him, Villarreal bought up 75% of Riquelme's rights from Barcelona for up to €8 million, depending on Villarreal performance in the next two seasons, and gave the player a four-year contract. A 25% transfer fee would also given to Barça if Villarreal resold him.

A peculiar contract situation arose when, on 7 December 2005, Villarreal beat French club Lille OSC 1-0 to win its UEFA Champions League group, knocking out English giants Manchester United, and advancing to the lucrative knockout stages in the club's debut season in the main continental competition. Because of a clause in the transfer contract with Barcelona, Villarreal had to pay €1 million to the Catalan club; additionally, the contract included another two €1 million clauses; one if Villarreal finished in one of the top four league positions in 2005-06, and an identical clause for the 2006-07 season.

As Villarreal reached the last-four in the Champions League, in the second leg against Arsenal, Jens Lehmann saved a Riquelme penalty that would have taken the match to extra time; it ended 0-0 at El Madrigal.

Boca return
Following a tense situation between player, board of directors and manager Manuel Pellegrini, Riquelme accepted a five-month loan back to Boca Juniors, in February 2007. He went on to play a significant part in Boca's success in the 2007 Libertadores Cup, scoring against Club Atlético Vélez Sársfield in the round of 16, Club Libertad in the quarter finals and Cúcuta Deportivo in the semis, earning Boca a place in the finals. In the first leg of the final against Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense, Riquelme scored a goal, adding two more in the return, crowning Boca champions. He also won the award for the competition's Most Valuable Player.

In August 2007, it was reported that Boca had given up hope of re-signing Riquelme. However, a few days later the situation changed, as the Argentine team's director Juan Carlos Crespi expressed confidence in Riquelme's return "within 10 days". The negotiations stalled when Villarreal's offer to give up Riquelme in exchange for €4 million, Rodrigo Palacio and half the rights to either Mauro Boselli or Jonathan Maidana was rejected by Boca. It was announced on 30 August that Riquelme had been signed by Atlético Madrid for a fee of €8 million. This transfer, however, fell through at the last minute, and Riquelme remained a Villareal player, being awarded the 16 shirt.

On 26 November 2007, Riquelme reached an agreement with the Spaniards and was allowed to re-join Boca Juniors after the transfer window re-opened in January 2008. The player managed no official appearances for Villarreal during the first half of 2007-08.

Upon his official return to the club in 2008, Riquelme played in the 2008 Clausura and the 2008 Copa Libertadores. Boca Juniors would make it through to the semi-final's of the tournament. Riquelme guided Boca out of the group stage where which they were nearly eliminated after losing 2-0 to Colo-Colo. Riquelme did not play in the return game against Colo-Colo when Boca dramatically won 4-3 but managed to help Boca win 3-0 in their final group stage game against Venezuela's Maracaibo, first by assisting Gabriel Paletta with a goal and then scoring one him self in the 74th minute. Riquelme was the influence in Boca's win's over Cruzeiro and Atlas until losing in the semi-final's to Brazil's Fluminense. Overall, Riquelme had scored 4 goals in the Copa Libertadores, he helped Boca win the 2008 Apertura tournament by playing some of his best football. He scored two goals in an important 2-1 win against Racing de Avellaneda in La Bombonera and on November 9, 2008 following the death of club chairmen Pedro Pompillo, Roman scored a trademark free kick against Arsenal de Sarandi to win the game 1-0, with the help of a unusually far-placed player barrier. Boca would then finish with in the top 3 when San Lorenzo and Tigre were level on points with Boca resulting in a 'triangular final' of each team to play against each other. Roman's influence in Boca's successful campaign earned his club the 2008 Apertura tournament.

In the summer of the 2010 reports were claiming that West Ham United were close to agreeing a move to the Premier League for Riquelme, however his love affair with Boca was to continue as he revealed he wouldn't join West Ham in order to try and sign a new contract with Boca. On July 28, Riquelme said that he had accepted a new contract from Boca Juniors for four years earning $5.000.000.On November 6, Juan Roman Riquelme played after almost 6 months out because a injury in his right leg. Although Boca Juniors lost 0-2 against Argentinos Juniors, Riquelme played very well, the newspapars calificated him with 8, the same note as Nicolas Navarro, who was the player of the match.

International career
Riquelme won the South American Youth Championship and captained the team to win the FIFA U-20 World Cup, both in 1997 with coach José Pekerman. And would receive a call-up, but did not play in the 1998 or 2002 FIFA World Cups.

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Argentina were defeated in the quarter-final by Germany on penalties, after a 1-1 draw after extra-time. Germany equalised moments after Riquelme was substituted off the pitch. Riquelme had delivered the corner from which Roberto Ayala scored Argentina's goal.

Following the loss of Argentina and Pekerman's resignation as head coach, Riquelme was tipped by many to take over the reins of skipper for the Albicelestes in place of the outgoing Sorín. However, after captaining the team for the first friendly match under new coach Alfio Basile, he announced on 13 September 2006 his decision to retire from the Selección, claiming that the frequent critics from sectors of the press and public had negatively affected his mother's health, who was hospitalized twice in two months after the 2006 World Cup. At that point, Riquelme had played 37 matches for Argentina, scoring eight goals.

On 26 June 2007, Riquelme was recalled to the national team by Basile as part of the 23-man squad to represent Argentina in the Copa América. Riquelme illustrated his array of skills by scoring two goals – a header and a free kick – against Colombia in the second match of the Copa's group stage. In the quarter-finals against Peru, Riquelme scored two of Argentina's four goals and assisted Lionel Messi for another goal to lead Argentina into the semifinals with a 4-0 win. He scored his fifth goal of the competition in a penalty during the semifinal clash against Mexico, completing Argentina's 3-0 win. After that Argentina was trashed against arch-rivals, Brazil, 3-0 in the final.

On 14 October 2007, Riquelme emerged from three months of inactivity at Villarreal to score two free kicks in a 2-0 win against Chile to get his team off to a winning start in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. On 17 November, he netted twice again in Argentina's 3-0 victory against Bolivia. Having scored four in the qualifiers, he decided to retire from the national team after a disagreement with coach Diego Maradona.

Argentina included Riquelme as one of the three permitted overage players in the squad for the Olympic Games Football tournament in Beijing. Riquelme captained to the gold medal, scoring once, against Brazil in the semi-final.

After Maradona left the International stage as coach, and as Bastista took over the temporary post as Argentina's coach, Batista offered Riquelme back his spot in the National team and stated that he could return if he wished.

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