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.