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Riquelme quits Argentina over spat with Maradona

Riquelme quits Argentina over spat with Maradona

Star midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme quit the Argentina team on Tuesday, saying he and coach Diego Maradona did not get along.
"We did not agree on much. We do not have the same principles. As he's long as he's coach of the team, we cannot work together," Riquelme said in an interview with Canal 13 television.
Maradona had criticized the Boca Juniors star last week and said he was annoyed that his phone calls to Riquelme since then had not been returned.
Riquelme said he was upset that he had to learn through the media last month that he wasn't wanted by Maradona for the friendly against France. Riquelme hasn't played for Argentina in both friendlies under Maradona. Both times the coach said Riquelme had club commitments.
But Maradona said on Tuesday that he would leave open the chance for Riquelme to change his mind and make himself available for World Cup qualifiers this month against Venezuela and Bolivia.
But Riquelme, Argentina's leading scorer in these qualifiers with four goals, said he was finished with the national team.
"It hurts me in my soul to do this, but hopefully everything will turn out well for the team and they can qualify for the World Cup without me," he said.
It's the second time Riquelme has quit the side. The first was after the 2006 World Cup. Then, after falling out with Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini, he was loaned to Boca Juniors and eventually transferred for $15 million. He led Boca to the Copa Libertadores title in 2007 and the Club World Cup final, and his form was too good to stay out of the national team.
He helped Argentina win the Olympic gold medal in Beijing, and just before Christmas, he guided Boca to victory in the Argentine Apertura for its 23rd domestic title.


Updated : 2021-08-03 14:00 GMT+08:00