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Juan Román Riquelme (born June 24, 1978 in San Fernando, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina) is a football player, who currently plays for Villarreal CF of Spain.

Growing up in Don Torcuato, Riquelme grew up in a family of 10 in strict poverty. Argentine giants Boca Juniors and River Plate spotted him when he was a youth player for Argentinos Juniors. He chose to move to Boca in 1995, as he had grown up supporting them, and they paid US$800,000 for his signature. A year later, on November 10, 1996, Romy played his first professional match (Boca Juniors 2 - 0 Unión de Santa Fe) and two weeks later he scored his first senior goal (Boca Juniors 6 - 0 Huracán).

 

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With the Argentine national football team, Romy has played 35 matches, scoring 8 goals. He also won the Southamerican Youth Championship, and the Football World Youth Championship, both in 1997 and with coach José Pekerman.

In 2002, after seven successful seasons with Boca Juniors, the central midfielder was transferred to FC Barcelona for a reported £10 million. This new stage of his life proved to be a difficult and troubling time. Shortly after his departure from Boca, his brother, Cristian, was kidnapped. Riquelme negotiated for his brother's release and eventually paid the ransom. He has stated before this was one of the reasons why he chose to leave Boca although it has also been noted Riquelme was in dispute with Boca over his contract at the time. His arrival at Barcelona was a failure. Due to the club's struggling fortunes, there was intense pressure on Riquelme to perform well. However, Barca's current coach at the time, Louis Van Gaal described Riquelme as a "political signing" and treated him with indifference. When Van Gaal did play him on rare occasions, Riquelme was deployed on the flanks - his least effective position. He was unable to find his form, losing his place in the first team as well as his confidence and was loaned to Villarreal a year later.

Here he began to relax. He was surrounded by fellow Latin and South American players, including fellow Argentine international and captain Juan Pablo Sorín. Expectations were also much lower at Villareal and Riquelme began to display the talents that now make him so sought after.

Riquelme is often regarded as an extremely talented playmaker with excellent creative vision and close ball control. He has taken a conspicuous lack of pace (a quality which football writers never fail to mention) and turned it into a positive asset, often decreasing the tempo of the game in his team's favor while still retaining possession through his skill and ingenuity on the ball. Of the midfielder's abilities, legendary Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger has said, "He's always able to slow the game down, and wait for a weak moment to kill you" . Riquelme is often cited as the main factor in Villarreal's ascendance in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League through the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. At the end of the 2004-05 campaign, Spanish sports newspaper Marca awarded him the title of Most Artistic Player. As a result of his influential play, he 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 5 million euros, and gave the player a 4-year contract.

A peculiar contract situation arose when, on December 7, 2005, Villarreal beat French club Lille OSC 1-0 to win its UEFA Champions League group, knocking out English giants Manchester United F.C., and Lille and advancing to the lucrative knockout stages in the club's debut season in the Champions League. Because of a clause in the transfer contract with Barcelona, Villarreal had to pay one million euros to the Catalan club. The contract includes another two one-million Euro clauses; one if Villarreal finishes in one of the top 4 positions of the Spanish Primera Liga in the 2005/2006 season, and an identical clause for the 2006/2007 season.

On April 2006 the English newspaper The Daily Mirror published a rumour about a possible interest of Manchester United's boss Sir Alex Ferguson in signing the Argentine international in the summer transfer window, whose club would have made an offer of £10 million, which was declined by the Villarreal.

Riquelme is not by any means a normal or a traditional player by the standards of this generation. Argentina legend Jorge Valdano describes Riquelme best by saying: “If we have to travel from point A to point B most of us would take the six-lane highway and get there as quickly as possible. Riquelme would choose the winding mountain road, the beautiful scenic route which takes him six hours instead of two.”

During the second leg of the Champions League semi-final match between Villareal and Arsenal, at the 89th minute, Jose Mari won his club a penalty after a foul committed by Gael Clichy, but Jens Lehmann saved the penalty executed by Riquelme that would have taken the match to extra time.

When Argentina became joint favourites to win the 2006 World Cup after the group stage, Riquelme was the main reason. Riquelme was an integral part of the Argentina side which notably dispatched Serbia and Montenegro six-nil. He provided excellent playmaking skills which created a perfect backbone for the Argentine side to romp home. They entered the second round in top form. However, they were defeated in the quarter-final by Germany on penalties, after a 1-1 draw after extra-time. Riquelme delivered the corner from which Roberto Ayala scored Argentina's goal. According to Sky Sports News , Riquelme has confirmed Manchester United have made a 'sizeable' bid for him.

Achievements

  • 2005 Nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year
  • 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup (Villarreal CF)
  • 2001 Copa Libertadores (Boca Juniors)
  • 2000 Argentine Apertura Championship (Boca Juniors)
  • 2000 Intercontinental Cup (Boca Juniors)
  • 2000 Copa Libertadores (Boca Juniors)
  • 1999 Argentine Clausura Championship (Boca Juniors)
  • 1998 Argentine Apertura Championship (Boca Juniors)
  • 1997 FIFA's World Youth Championship (under-20)

Comments

RIQUELME AUNQUE VOS SEAS DE BOCA Y YO DEL RIVER TENGO QUE ADMITIR QUE VOS ERES EL MEJOR DESPUES DE CRESPO VALLA RIVER PLATE.....

Simply the best

cool the best

I think Juan Roman Riqueleme is the best footballer in the world.

He can spot a team member a mile away with those clean cut passes, he is a play maker Argentinean style.


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Best Footballer in the world

Top Five Players

1. Ronaldo 2. Messi
3. Ronaldinho  4. Pele
5. Gerrard


Vote for the best football player on the planet

stevie gerrard is the best because he can do everything whereas other good players specialise in a few things. Also he works hard and is loyal to club and country.

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mi jugador es iniesta de espana

I think c ronaldo is the best

ronaldinho he's the master

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my vote is with xavi of barcelona technically he is brilliant. his control vision and touch is first class i hope he wins fifa world player of the year in a week or sos time
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torres,messi,kaka,cristiono ronaldo,villa and xavi