Diego, currently at Wolfsburg, and Riquelme, who’s leaving Boca Juniors at the moment according to his agent, have been linked to Flamengo these past days in the media. Flamengo reportedly made a bid of €2.6m to get Diego on loan, and Flamengo’s football director Zinho said he’d be interested in acquiring Riquelme’s services. And as days goes by, both stories continue to develop.
First thing is both players are dividing opinions from Flamengo’s board. When Finances VP Michel Levy got back from Germany with Wolfsburg proposal, part of the club’s board answered they “didn’t want a new Ronaldinho Gaúcho”, regarding Diego wages which would mount to nearly €400,000 per month, a bit under the €500,000 received by Ronaldinho. One thing should be pointed, though: part of his wages would be paid by Volkswagen through a sponsorship deal that could be permanent in the future.
It seems most part of Flamengo’s board favours Riquelme, as well as their supporters. I personally went to ask some friends of mine who are Flamengo supporters, and the majority of them answered they prefer Riquelme over Diego. Also, one Brazilian sports media ran a poll which gave 65% of preference to Riquelme over 35% to Diego.
Another two reports came in the media regarding Diego’s possible loan deal. The first is about how Felix Magath, current Wolfsburg’s manager, feels about the possibility of seeing Diego leaving, question that he answered “If a player can’t or don’t want to accept the club (Wolfsburg), then there’s no sense in asking him to stay. But the play must look for a club to play first”. The second one is about Flamengo’s time limit about Diego. According to Zinho, the club will wait for a Wolfsburg answer until Thursday. If they remain silent, Diego won’t be an option anymore.
The latest Riquelme news are both encouraging and worrisome to Flamengo fans. Like I mentioned earlier, Riquelme’s agent Daniel Bolotnicoff confirmed the player won’t stay at La Bombonera, even though Boca fans were pleading him to be still. That makes Boca Juniors’ loss against Corinthians at the Copa Libertadores Final this year Riquelme’s last game as an Bostero.
But Flamengo isn’t the only club in the Riquelme race. Cruzeiro’s president Gilvan Tavares went out to the media a few hours before the player agent announced the news regarding his Boca Juniors exit, stating that his club would look forward to have his services at Toca da Raposa (Cruzeiro’s training ground).
Flamengo’s way to Riquelme wasn’t going to be easy. The main problem might be whether Flamengo will have the financial power to compete for Riquelme in the transfer market after Cruzeiro and other clubs in the future shows interest in acquiring the legendary Argentinean. They might have the edge as they’re the most respected club in Brazil, but could be a matter of money rather than exposure or project.