As Europe sizzles in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, the South American continent woke up to the World Cup qualifiers. And what a start it was for Argentina. It was as if they were continuing on the wonderful display of what purists will call football from the Copa America. Except for the finals which was one bad day at office for Riquelme & Co. the rest of the tournament was like a fantasy for the whole team.Riquelme’s return to Spain has not been good at all. A spat with the Villareal coach, meant he has not played for the last 3 months and the last match that he had played was the 3-0 loss to the Brazilians in the Copa America finals. And what a return to football the great player has made. He is definitely a class apart. Two beautifully taken free-kicks resulted in 2 goals and a great win.
In my opinion Riquelme has played better football compared to Kaka. But in all probability Kaka might win the FIFA footballer of the year. The way Riquelme played for Argentina and then for Boca Juniors last year was noteworthy. There are not many who play like him, moving around mid-field passing the ball around and looking for the killing pass. Argentinian football should thank their coach Alfio Basile for bringing back King Riquelme to the football field.
Tom Vickery, BBC’s South American correspondent has written a good article on Riquelme here. He says
Riquelme’s performance on Saturday was like a large billboard announcing the fact that football starts in the brain