May 23, 2022 8:05 am

Juan Román Riquelme, the former soccer player who is learning, now, to be a leader

Juan roman riquelme It has a particular way of being and showing itself. It is known that throughout his career as a footballer he has received countless accolades for his enormous class, but also many opponents due to the character he has managed in the locker room – and sometimes even on the field of play. Nevertheless, in his managerial role he seems to be having his best days.

For a transfer market that started perfectly with the arrival of Darío Benedetto, the leading striker they had been waiting for years ago, but who will continue to have a different and special tint from previous breaks: Details remain to add Nicolás Figal and with his Football Council they are determined to buy Guillermo “Pol” Fernández. Although it is not the only thing: you see a vice president who – precisely – is beginning to understand that his role entails greater responsibility to that of a simple footballer. So the communications you need to engage in may include contacts with people with whom you previously had no affinity.

Benedetto dreams of retiring in Boca

By Mouth. For getting a better team, with the hierarchy that he intended since December 2019. Thus, these days a Riquelme is being observed with another position, in which differences are left aside, the past does not count and he focuses on negotiations and the dialogues no matter who is in front. This was the case, for example, with Christian Bragarnik, close to Daniel Angelici, to incorporate the scorer who arrived in the country this Thursday and underwent a medical check-up. And it is the way he chose to deal with other protagonists.

Important men for the history of Boca, but who, it is known, were very far from building a good relationship even in times of glory. From what he was able to find out THE NATION with sources from the club, it is true that the director Xeneize traveled to Paraguay on the occasion of the celebration he did Alejandro Domínguez, president of Conmebol, for his six years at the helm of the mother entity of South American football. It is also true that, taking advantage of the meeting, traveled with the decision to chat with the Paraguayan leader about the harsh sanctions that were imposed on players, members of the Council and the coaching staff and trying to reduce them. Although there is also a very important reason, linked to continuing the search for reinforcements: face to face with Guillermo (and Gustavo) Barros Schelotto.

Riquelme, dressed in a suit in Paraguay together with one of the musicians from Los Palmeras
Riquelme, dressed in a suit in Paraguay together with one of the musicians from Los PalmerasInstagram @dariengrenon

And it is that another of the wishes of the former soccer player is to take advantage of the freedom of action that he has Angel Romero since he separated from San Lorenzo with his brother Óscar. In fact, several weeks ago, the Council approached him with the offer and the attacker had accepted it at first, but then preferred to speculate on the appearance of other offers from abroad that -finally- did not exist. Because, From the environment of the former man from Corinthians they picked up the phone a few days ago to reactivate the negotiation that was taking place:Riquelme warned them that they want him, but new (lower) numbers could be discussed due to the heavy arrival of Benedetto.

The point is that the scheduled meeting with the former coach of Boca and current coach of the Paraguayan national team has to do with Romero. Somehow, the manager wants to make a kind of deal with Barros Schelotto to keep the striker happy and benefit both from the performance they know he can exploit: Boca, hiring him; Guillermo, summoning him in these few dates that remain for the end of the Qualifiers heading to Qatar and, in case the Albirroja gets the ticket, aspire through his level with the blue and gold shirt to take him to the World Cup. Also, because they know that -if they are not satisfied- Romero has already shown signs in Boedo that he can generate some inconveniences in the locker room.

Angel Romero, one of the reinforcements sought by Boca
Angel Romero, one of the reinforcements sought by BocaLA NACION / Mauro Alfieri

Pure coincidence, but a few days ago it was Martín Palermo, Aldosivi technician, who confessed that he had a telephone conversation with Riquelme. Men who had enormous differences and even both have made their enmity public, but these days they had no problems contacting each other and successfully negotiating for youth that Boca – for now – does not take into account: he would have requested the loans of the goalkeeper Agustín Lastra and the defender Nicolás Valentini, that they would be about to agree on their arrivals in Mar del Plata.

“I know what the right moment is to ask him for a player. That’s what I did with Adrián Sánchez, when he was directing in Curicó Unido. He told me that there was no problem, that he would lend them to me, ”explained the top scorer in Boca history.

Martín Palermo, the DT of Aldosivi, who contacted Riquelme, a former teammate in Boca
Martín Palermo, the DT of Aldosivi, who contacted Riquelme, a former teammate in BocaDiego Izquierdo – Telam

Even that intention to approach Alejandro Domínguez on the issue of sanctions is also a sign that This Riquelme went down even more to the ground. In each interview, even just after winning the Argentine Cup in December, he repeated the sensations of having been eliminated from the Copa Libertadores due to the mistakes made by the VAR judges, both in the Bombonera and in the Mineirao stadium, where the scandal that It led to suspension dates during the next group stage, thousands of dollars of punishment and even the prohibition of attending Conmebol matches (Raúl Cascini and Marcelo Delgado) for two years.

“I have never seen a team win both games and go out. It is unfortunate. When they don’t let you win…”, Riquelme said more than once. However, he now put that behind him: continuing to publicly pick on the problem could have a negative impact on that quest to reduce sanctions. And, at the same time, he is an intelligent person: He knows that in person he imposes a respect forged by his enormous career that can alleviate the situation.

Juan Román Riquelme’s trip to Paraguay, something more than a celebration of others and a lot of meetings that denote a change of position to make his club even better.

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