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Football | International

Juan Roman Riquelme © Action Images

Riquelme keeps Boca Juniors guessing



Juan Roman Riquelme continued to keep everyone guessing about whether he would play again ahead of the final stage of the Argentine championship that starts this weekend.

Having walked out on Boca Juniors in July and turned them down last month despite the return of record title-winning coach Carlos Bianchi, Riquelme has hinted he might want to wear their colours again after all.

Media reports said the club would announce on Friday if the former Argentina midfielder was going back but some board members seem unconvinced it is a good idea.

Riquelme could stand accused of breaking his strict personal code of behaviour. He missed out on the 2010 World Cup because the previous year he said he would never play for Argentina under then-coach Diego Maradona and stuck to his word.

"Everything will be decided at a board meeting," Boca's general secretary Cesar Martucci told the sports daily Ole.

"When we're all together with our colleagues on the board, we'll settle (this)," he added, explaining the delay was due to club president Daniel Angerlici's business trip to Qatar.

Boca will parade new marquee signing, Argentina forward Juan Manuel Martinez, when they host Quilmes at La Bombonera on Saturday (2215 GMT).

Arch-rivals River Plate, who have talented teenager Juan 'Mini Messi' Iturbe on loan for six months from Porto, travel to Cordoba on Sunday to face Belgrano, the side that relegated them in 2011.

Velez Sarsfield, who won the 'Inicial' tournament in the first half of the season, open their title defence at Argentinos Juniors at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium on Friday.

GAGO GAIN

The champions are expected to give a debut to Argentina midfielder Fernando Gago, snatched on loan from Valencia under the noses of his first club Boca.

There are mixed prospects for the big teams, arch-rivals Racing Club and relegation-haunted Independiente from the Buenos Aires suburb of Avellaneda and Juan Antonio Pizzi's San Lorenzo.

Racing, who had a good run-in to the 'Inicial' with a talented young attack, have gone for experience in the transfer market by taking Argentina midfielder Mario Bolatti on loan from Internacional of Brazil.

Independiente are struggling in the bottom three of the relegation standings, a separate table calculated on average points over three seasons, and will need a good run in the 'Final' to avoid the drop for the first time.

They have brought back former Argentina midfielder Daniel 'Rolfi' Montenegro from Mexico's America and signed Colombian forward Jorge Caicedo.

San Lorenzo made up for their failure to bring Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini back home by doing likewise with former Nantes and Toulouse centre back Mauro Cetto from Palermo.



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