Riquelme Quits MaradonaBy: Jeremy | March 10th, 2009
Just a short time after Diego named him to the squad to face Venezuela and Bolivia, Juan Roman Riquelme announced his retirement from the national team. This came as quite a shock to most people, including me and Diego.
He said that the thought of Riquelme retiring never entered his mind. Juan Roman said that he and Diego couldn’t get along because they think differently and have a different code of ethics. So he decided to quit the national team at 30. Even if Diego gets the axe after 2010, Riquelme would be pretty old in footballing years by the time 2014 rolls around, so he is effectively ending his World Cup career.
While he didn’t say exactly what the differences were, he did say they had something with where Diego wanted him to play.
Earlier Diego had said that he needed Riquelme to provide cover in the last 20 meters for Tevez/Messi/Aguero and not playing farther back and taking the ball from Demichelis or dancing around Mascherano and Gago.
Another possible reason is that Riquelme claims to have found more things out about his participation in the Selection from tv or radio sources than from Diego or Bilardo directly.
Who knows if Diego can smooth this out, but I am inclined to think that this could ultimately be a good thing for Argentina. I’m not wanting to say that Riquelme is selfish on the pitch, but he does seem to want to be the centerpiece, whether he is playing well or not. In fairness, on his club teams a lot pressure is on his shoulders to win, and maybe he can’t switch that off when he plays for Argentina. This could wind up to be like Henry to Barcelona for Arsenal last year.
Crazy things in Argentina this week.