Juan Roman RIQUELME talks Lionel MESSI, Argentina, Pep GUARDIOLA, more


Juan Roman RIQUELME recently gave an interview where he spoke about Lionel MESSI, Pep GUARDIOLA’s teams and football players these days.

The Boca Juniors legend knows a thing or two about playing with great players. With his clubs, he has played alongside the likes of Andres INIESTA, Diego FORLAN and many, many others. However, probably no one like Lionel MESSI. With the Argentina National Team, the two phenoms formed a great partnership together. Thank you to the great Juan G. ARANGO for the translations.

Speaking with the media, here’s what RIQUELME had to say about Lionel MESSI.

“I have no doubt that MESSI will be back with Argentina. I talk to him all the time, but not about the national team. MESSI enjoys playing with the national team, hell he played a match here, flew to Barcelona and came back to play a friendly in one of the provinces.

“Those types of things make you realize how much MESSI likes playing for his country. Not many players would do that.”

On the topic of young players and hyping them up, RIQUELME says we should give them more time before calling them great.

“(In Argentina) we get too hysterical. A player plays one good match and they are a star. We have to give players time, have them play well for six months THEN we’ll talk.

“Today players play well three matches and they are Gods. Let’s calm things down a bit.

“What worries me most is that time passes by and I see players are less prepared. It worries me that players do not know how to position themselves to receive a ball.”

RIQUELME is also an old school type of player. He didn’t do a lot of running but instead let his feet and the ball do the talking. Which is why when discussing players these days, his comments go against the popular opinion:

“It is not easy to win the ball. Even if you are extremely trained, even if you eat cereal every day. Even if you do 1,000 sit ups every day. Even if that put that thing on your back [GPS] which I don’t know what the hell it’s for.

“Because if you give the ball away, if you play poorly what good is that? So if you ran little but played all your passes right you still played poorly because you didn’t run? So if I pass every single time to opponent yet ran 34 kilometers, I was the man of the match?

“So the player that runs the most now and has it marked by the thing on their back is the best. Back in my day, we didn’t wear that. Back in my day we didn’t talk about cereal, we didn’t talk about those things. We talked about playing ball. We talked about moving well, passing well, angling yourself properly. “I couldn’t play with bandage underneath my jersey, I could only imagine playing with that thing on my back.

“Players have a way of playing that we all hope can lead to something. Boca is playing a way in which we hope that they win Libertadores. We can agree that we want Messi and Barça to win because they play attractive football, they position themselves well.

“The same goes for GUARDIOLA’s team (Manchester City) and Bayern Munich, but they have been unable to win the Champions League, but we always will want them to win. Each coach has a style of playing. There are different ways of winning and that is why I think Boca has a chance of winning.”

Here is a video of Juan Roman RIQUELME’s partnership with Lionel MESSI in the Argentina National Team.


  1. Riquelme cited the code of ethics as the reason of his retirement.
    He retired 2 times.

    2004 and 2007 team were 2 totwl different teams. Riquelme wasnt part of 2004.

    It was not because of generation conflict that he retired, people wanted him out because according them messi would be the better 10 and we would play faster with messi.
    It was not because of his age.

    Our biggest mistake was not to continue with the Olympic squad 2008, that squad needed some tweeks here and there but it had the foundation of a great squad and we won gold and but threw it away.
    What a shame we are our own enemy.

  2. Maradona about Messi, Riquelma about Messi. Still way too much about him. When he is in NT journalists talk only about him. When he is not – as well.

    Argentina NT still exist without him and we have other problems now.

    We were going to left him in peace for now. In this way we’re not going to help him.

    • and all that talk is not helping at all, people don’t understand the mental state of Messi and current young players too. If his time comes, then it comes, if does not then it does not.

      • Exactly,

        it’s incredible how people can’t realize it doesn’t help neither Messi nor current NT players. They does not need the feeling of waiting for some BIG ONE to the game really started. The atmosphere of confusing waiting is really not good.

        They need to feel this NT live his own life and all the process already has started and… there’s no other who is more responsible for success of this enterprise as themselves together with coach.

        Need to feel as if Messi would never be back. That is the mentall refresh we need. Ane Messi must feel he will back only into new era of Argentina NT.



    Is this interview out of date?

  4. Riquelme has hit the bulls eye. His words has depth. Unfortunately in this group we lack depth in discussion. We don’t discuss the technical attributes of a player for various positions , in different zones in the field, in different tactical formations and during possession or during attack/ defense etc etd. Here what we do, when we see someone scoring one or two good goals or having one good game, we say this player needs to be in the team. As Riquelme said lets give the player 6 months to one season and check the consistency. Also whether the player is injury prone or not, because it impacts the coach’s strategy a lot.

  5. It’s too obvious that at that time Roman and Messi played well together, understood each other’s movement, Do you guys agree or not? please reply if you agree or not.

  6. Riquelme is the romantic in football. Zidane and him are always my favourite playmakers but I disagree with what he said. It is possible to have a player like him in the team but need others run more to compensate. I think it’s unfortunately the reason why Bielsa didn’t want him. In modern football, everyone especially the offensive players and midfielders, need to run to press the opponents once they or team mates lost the ball. Besides constant running offer lot of solution to the playmaker, otherwise it will be very static like the national team during the world cup.

    • You can run with the ball 30 yards and eventually lost the ball or you can pass a 30 yards accurate ball which initiate a great attack, I suppose this was his philosophy.

      But you are absolutely right, modern football needs a lot of running, but still he is the best playmaker of his generation, according to me.

      • That pass to Saviola against Nigeria was legendary. I got an aerial view from TV yet I never notice Saviola was making a run since Roman was the one that holding the ball and was like 35 yards from Saviola.

  7. Roman and messi with Aguero upfront Argentina won the Olympic Gold in spite of this they hadn’t played thereafter together. Had peck roman in 2014, Argentina win the world cup

    • I think the same scenario in 2010, may be even better chance with young messi aguero and di maria, if roman was here, with zanetti, we would have been the champion

      • In 2010, Riquelme, Zanetti and Cambiasso were still OK but Lucho was at his peak. But Maradona wanted Messi to play as 10 with 2 wingers plus 2 strikers. What a waste

        • in 2010 Fans and Media were calling for ‘oldies’ to stay away (Zanetti, cambiasso, Roman ..etc) and give chance to the younger generation (Messi and his generation) saying that they failed final of Copa 2004, WC 2006 and final of Copa 2007 (2 consecutive Copa finals just like these days), Riquelme had to quit because of all the negative media attacks towards him and his mother got sick, some say because she could not take it, and he quit. same like many doing now. go figure. It’s a never ending story.

    • It was the arrogance and stupidity of Maradona that kept Requelme from the NT. Imagine if him and Messi had played together at 2010. I dont remember those quotes. But can recollect Riq was really pissed of about Deigo.

  8. Riqulme said Messi will be back while Maradona asks Messi not to come back .Riqulme, Tevez and Maradona all are agreeing on one point that the criticism raised against Messi is false and baseless. That is the point to be noted here. Messi retiring or not retiring is another topic. The unjust criticism aginst Messi is what all of these great Argentinian footballers pointing out. Argentina media’s and some of Argentina fans’ are still throwing all responsibilities of failures on him. Maradona very recently rightly said : “The Under-15s lose and it is Messi’s fault, the fixture list in Argentina puts Racing against Boca and Messi is to blame. He is always to blame. Stop breaking my balls. ”

  9. Agree with Roman riquelme
    Yes Argentina media do overrite
    Some players that is true..
    I played football I coached as well
    I do have knowledge about football.

  10. He was like a passing god to me, controlled the midfield, actually control the game, a player we missed most in recent days. If he was with Messi in his peak, our story of football could have been different, I am talking about 2010 world cup and later. I missed him most.

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