After suffering a heart-breaking defeat by Corinthians when playing with Boca Juniors, Juan Roman Riquelme announced that would be his last professional game with a Bostero shirt. He would look for a move to a club where he wouldn’t be a liability, as age has caught up with him and his superior technical ability hasn’t emerged in his last few games.
So enters Flamengo. Again.
After missing Ronaldinho Gaúcho to a judicial decision, Flamengo has been missing a star. Vagner Love has been solid, scoring some key goals which saved Flamengo from defeat in the Brazilian League. But they’re missing someone more to organize their midfield, as Flamengo has been flooding with defensive midfielders.
Their first option is Diego, who is currently playing at Wolfsburg. After a successful loan spell in Atletico de Madrid, where he won the UEFA Europa League last season, Flamengo made a offer of €2.6m to Wolfsburg to have his services in an loan spell. His wages would be paid by a Volkswagen sponsorship, which would feature in their shirt which currently misses a major sponsor.
If the bid is unsuccessful, Flamengo’s football director Zinho already said to media outlets that the 2nd option would be bringing Riquelme to the team. Zinho also said he’d already talked to Riquelme’s agent and that the club’s doors are open for him.
But a team which could take Flamengo out of the way is Villarreal. The recently relegated Spanish team is in heavily trouble, and some old reports about Riquelme’s willing to go back to the Yellow Submarine are heating up. The matter is whether or not Riquelme wants to save his old team.
Both players would bring much to Flamengo, but Diego has an edge as he’s younger and much more reliable physically. Riquelme would have to rely on technique, and would bring a need of moulding a system to protect the team, as Riquelme isn’t good defensively as his Copa Libertadores performances showed.
Either way, Flamengo would go from Copa Sulamericana material to title contenders the moment one of them is announced. The most important question however is whether the club will move out of its recent slump, with a crisis situation not only on the pitch with poor performances but also with political tension in the boards.