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Juan Roman Riquelme not returning to Boca Juniors

Jan 5, 2013, 11:10 AM EDT

Boca Juniors' player Schiavi watches their Argentine First Division soccer match against Newell's Old Boys in Buenos Aires Reuters

Sure to disappoint the throngs of Boca Juniors fans hoping for his return, Juan Roman Riquelme showed up at Boca’s training ground Saturday morning to inform the team that he will not be joining them for the upcoming tournament. The club icon plans to stand by the decision he made this summer.

“I can’t change the decision I made six months ago. I love this club, I’ve lived some very nice memories, but I am a man of word and I am not returning to Boca.”

Riquelme left Boca in July after the club’s loss to Corinthians in the Copa Libertadores final. Rumors have linked the playmaker with moves abroad, most notably to Brazil, but when Boca recently replaced former manager Julio Falcioni with club legend Carlos Bianchi, there was hope Riquelme could be lured back to the club.

However, after discussions between player and club late this week, Riquelme arrived at the club’s training complex to deliver the disappointing news.

“I came because I had to let the coach and the president know about my decision. I did the things I had to do and told them the same thing I said over at Carlos (Bianchi)’s home. I’m very grateful towards the coach, the president and for everyone who tried to convince me to return to Boca, but my decision is firm. I’m very happy with the life I’m living and want to continue this way.”

So where will Riquelme end up? After this fervor of activity surrounding a return to Boca, it’s too early for new links to surface. Both stylistically and financially, Brazil remains a good fit, though if a team from Major League Soccer wants to take the chance that Riquelme can adjust to Major League Soccer, you won’t hear any complaints from this space.

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