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Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36 after a 18-year-long career.
Riquelme calls time on playing days
01/26/2015
 
Juan Roman Riquelme

Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36 after a 18-year-long career.


"It's a very important day for me because I have decided to no longer play football," he said in an interview with ESPN television.


"After realizing all my dreams with Argentinos (Juniors) and with Boca Juniors, I think this is the right time to stop.


"It's a new life that is opening up in front of me and I do not know what part football will play in it."


Riquelme has indicated that he would be keen to become president of Boca, the club where he spent the bulk of his career, playing 388 times, scoring 89 goals and winning five league titles in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2008 and 2011.


After a glittering early career he moved to Barcelona in a big-money deal in 2002, but failed to make his mark and settle at the Nou Camp, eventually moving to Villarreal where he stayed for four seasons.


He returned to Argentina and Boca in 2007 and stayed with them until 2014 when he switched on a six-month contract to Argentinos, helping the side climb back into the top flight last December.


He played 51 times for his country between 1997 and 2008, scoring 17 goals and was Argentine footballer of the year four times.


"I took a decision which I think was the fairest," he said.


"I just felt I could not pull on the shirt of another club having given my all for Argentinos, Villarreal, Barcelona and with the national team.


"I am very happy with the career that I have had."


Riquelme also paid a glowing tribute to countryman Diego Maradona who he considers to be the "greatest player in the history of football."


"I had the good fortune to play with him and to watch him training," he said.


"When he was on the top of his game there was nothing you could do."

Source: AFP
 
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