"Riquelme will not go." (Getty)
Shortly after Boca Juniors lost to Corinthians in the Copa Libertadores final, 34-year-old Juan Roman Riquelme announced his intention to leave the Argentine giants for a second time. It was a devastating blow to Boca fans made even worse when word spread that their all-mighty hero might go to Brazil to join Flamengo.
So as Riquelme prepares to leave, as he did in 2002 when he joined Barcelona, thousands of Boca fans have gathered to stage protest in various cities around Argentina (some reports say 10, others two dozen) to beg Riquelme not to go. The largest demonstration included 5,000 at Boca's La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, where supporters filled the streets and made their way to the stadium. According to Ole, the club initially said they wouldn't be let inside due to a lack of security, but eventually relented and the chants of "Riquelme is Boca, Boca is not going!" continued in the stands.
Coincidentally, this is very similar to what happened in London when Manuel Almunia left Arsenal.
In total, Riquelme spent 12 years with Boca Juniors, playing more than 300 matches, winning five Primera Division titles and three Copa Libertadores. He was the Argentine Footballer of the Year four times, the latest coming in 2011. Also, he is magic.
Here's video of the demonstration (skip ahead to 55 seconds in to avoid the studio babble)...
Fans gather outside La Bombonera to protest Riquelme's departure. (Getty)
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- Juan Roman Riquelme
- Boca Juniors