With the news that Juan Román Riquelme has retired I thought it would be a good time to share his top ten free-kicks. This list originally appeared on Goal.com after his winner against Racing for Argentinos Juniors but it is all the more relevant now. Sit back and enjoy the master at work….
BOCA JUNIORS Vs River Plate – Copa Libertadores 2000
En route to claiming the Copa Libertadores in 2000 under Carlos Bianchi, Boca Juniors swept aside River Plate in the Quarter Final. A goal down from the first leg, Boca returned to La Bombonera and defeated their old rival 3-0. Riquelme’s late free kick ensured the victory and put Boca on the path to one of the most successful periods in their history.
ARGENTINA Vs Germany – Confederations Cup 2005
The 2005 Confederations Cup is better remembered for the disastrous Final against Brazil but earlier in the tournament, Riquelme scored this cracker to level the scores against Germany in the final group game.
BOCA JUNIORS Vs Grêmio – Copa Libertadores 2007
Another Libertadores triumph in 2007 and another trademark Riquelme free kick. A man of the match performance in the Final against Grêmio was capped by this driven effort in front of his adoring faithful in La Bombonera.
ARGENTINA Vs Chile – World Cup Qualification 2007
Out of favour at the time with Villarreal, Riquelme once again proved his class scoring twice to give Argentina a winning start to qualification. Already scoring one freekick, a young Lionel Messi wins the next, some 30 yards out and Riquelme curls the resulting freekick into the top corner.
BOCA JUNIORS Vs Fluminense – Copa Libertadores 2008
Boca fell short in 2008 in their bid to retain the Copa Libertadores but Riquelme still left his mark. This freekick gave Boca a 2-2 draw in La Bombonera but the Brazilian won the return leg to reach the Final.
ARGENTINA Vs Bolivia – World Cup Qualification 2010
The meeting between these two sides in La Paz sent shockwaves around the world but matters were far more as expected in Buenos Aires. Riquelme scored twice, including this effort to complete a 3-0 win.
BOCA JUNIORS Vs Estudiantes – Torneo Clausura 2011
Boca under Julio Falcioni were never particularly pleasing on the eye but at least with Riquelme in the side they were still capable of things like this. Boca only finished 7th this season and so this goal in La Bombonera was a highlight. Estudiantes were Copa Libertadores champions at the time and interestingly, current Boca keeper, Agustín Orión was in goal for the visitors.
BOCA JUNIORS Vs Corinthians – Copa Libertadores 2013
Despite going out in the next round in 2013, Boca managed to inflict revenge over the side that had defeated them in the 2012 Final. When other players score a goal like this, you might be excused for thinking it is simply an overhit cross, when Riquelme does it you know the ball finishes exactly where it was supposed to. This spectacular strike in Brazil was decisive in Boca knocking out Corinthians.
BOCA JUNIORS Vs River Plate – Torneo Final 2014
River Plate went on to win in La Bombonera for the first time in 10 years and ultimately claim the Torneo Final trophy but Riquelme left his mark on his final Superclásico appearance. This inch-perfect strike levelled the match and although it did not prove to be enough it is a wonderful goal.
ARGENTINOS JUNIORS Vs Racing Club – Copa Argentina 2014
Back at his childhood club at the age of 36, Riquelme rolled back the years to score this blinder and knock Racing out of the Copa Argentina.