Riquelme quits Boca Juniors, returns to first club

“The welcome will be on Sunday,” Argentinos Juniors said on Friday of the 36-year-old’s official unveiling with coach Claudio Borghi thrilled to get the talented player for the fight to earn promotion straight back to the first division.

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“Revolution has come to La Paternal,” they said on their website referring to the Buenos Aires barrio, or neighbourhood, where the club that also launched Diego Maradona’s career is based.

“Roman is a box of surprises and there was always that hope for us (of his return),” Borghi, a former Boca and Chile national team coach, told Fox Sports.

Riquelme’s former Boca team mate, central defender Matias Caruso, has also returned to Argentinos, with whom he won the league title under Borghi in 2010, following a season at Universidad de Chile.

Former Barcelona and Villarreal midfielder Riquelme rose through the junior ranks at Argentinos, noted for a youth scheme that also produced the likes of Fernando Redondo and Esteban Cambiasso, but made his first division debut at 18 with Boca, who snapped him up in 1996.

Riquelme, one of Argentina’s greatest talents who played for his country at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, helped Boca win five league titles, the South American Libertadores Cup twice and the Intercontinental Cup club crown in 2000.

Argentinos, nicknamed Bichos (bugs), were relegated in May at the end of the Final championship, second of two in the season won by Boca’s arch rivals River Plate.

They will play in the Primera B Nacional second tier championship from next month.

(Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Tony Goodson)