Argentina’s Roman Summer

It was always going to be a Roman summer.

Juan Roman Riquelme has already brightened June with his displays for Boca Juniors. Three goals in two games against Gremio helped Boca win the Copa Libertadores and confirmed his place as the most technically gifted player currently plying his trade in South America.

Now, the enigmatic midfielder is performing similar feats for his country. Two goals last night in a sublime display against Peru, following a similarly effective performance against Colombia in the 4-2 win. Messi might be the one girls scream at, but Riquelme is the man football fans are watching.

Riquelme has looked at ease in this Argentina team. Manager Alfio Basile has placed him at the head of a diamond formation in midfield and put runners around him (Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Mascherano). That has allowed him to do what he does at Boca, which is amble around and wait for the water carriers to supply him so he can turn it into wine.

Riquelme has also looked at ease off the pitch. He is notorious as a overindulgent, sometimes even childish, melancholic. He never settled in Europe because he was unable to adapt to the stricter norms of comportment at senior clubs. At Boca, he was given leeway to do what he wanted when he wanted off the park, as long as he performed on it.

But here in Venezuela he has looked content, even happy. Argentine came into the tournament beset by personnel problems but the group has appeared united and Riquelme has looked at home, smiling, even joking at press conferences.

Not since Argentina won the World Cup in 1978 have they gone so long without winning a major trophy. If Riquelme continues to turn it on like last night, that drought will soon end.

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7 Comments

Filed under Argentina

7 responses to “Argentina’s Roman Summer

  1. negri

    and he’s killing off a few of those charges that he’s yellow in big games. keep up this form for two more games and he’ll have buried that one.

  2. Fred

    Isn’t it winter in South America now?

  3. It is always high summer in Venezuela!

  4. I agree. Riquelme is playing far better and more effective than Messi.

    But had you seen what girls would do for Leo?

    http://venezuela07.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/girls-obessed-with-leo-messi/

  5. Hilarious and completely mad!

    I hope her crocked ankles were worth it.

    Many girls throwing themselves in front of Carlitos?

  6. Fred D

    Do you think that Edinburgh Hibees could entice Riquelme to come and play for them after the Latin Cup, he is just the guy we need, a decent striker. Bye the way if you think its cold in Venezuela! wait until you come home to bonnie scotland!

  7. pondwatching

    wouldn’t you be better with trying to entice Robinho, … after all you are the Leith Brazil !!

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