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Messi Honors Riquelme In Farewell Match At La Bombonera

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Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera buzzed with excitement during Juan Román Riquelme’s farewell game. An electrifying crowd of over 50,000 enthusiasts bore witness to Riquelme wearing Boca’s revered blue and yellow one last time. But it was Lionel Messi’s presence that illuminated the night.

Lionel Messi, Argentina’s national team captain, graced the field as part of Argentina XI. The crowd erupted as he entered. He played alongside 2022 World Cup stars, including Ángel Di María and Leandro Paredes. Head coach Lionel Scaloni cheered them on from the sidelines.

Riquelme, now Boca’s vice-president, was visibly moved as he thanked everyone who had shared his football journey. He likened his career at Boca to starring in “the most beautiful movie”, showing his deep-rooted connection to the club.

Arguably, the highlight of the evening was when Lionel Messi, captain of the ‘Albiceleste’, took to the pitch. Alongside Messi were other heroes of the 2022 World Cup win, including Ángel Di María, Leandro Paredes, and head coach Lionel Scaloni.

Lionel Messi y Riquelme en La Bombonera

It was an eventful day for Messi as well, as he turned 35 on the same day. This birthday coincidence for Riquelme and Messi didn’t go unnoticed, despite Messi’s seven-time Ballon d’Or winner status drawing most of the attention.

“Messi and Maradona are the two greatest players I’ve seen in my whole life. It’s wonderful to have him here. I apologize to your family Leo that you had vacations and stayed a couple more days, I’m very grateful that you always said yes to me and for all the bosteros I am lucky to have you here, it is unforgettable, I hope you had a great time. I love you very much.”

Riquelme speaking to Messi in front of 50,000 Boca Junior fans at the La Bombonera stadium.

Riquelme, in an interview on TyCSports, had nothing but praise for Messi, calling him a genius and fondly reminiscing about their shared playing experiences. He acknowledged Messi’s deep admiration for him, a sentiment echoed by Josep Maria Minguella, the agent who introduced Messi to Barcelona. Minguella revealed Messi viewed Riquelme as an idol, demonstrating the bond between these football legends.

Sometimes he would come to my home when we had a barbecue. I remember one of those barbecues. Riquelme, Fábio Rochemback, Thiago Motta, and some other players were all there. We did it in the late afternoon. I could see Messi sitting at the back of a table. From there he looked beneath that famous hair at Riquelme. Messi looked at Riquelme as if he were Jesus Christ. For Messi, Riquelme was the’ 10′, left-footed, played in the first-team of Barca and was his great idol. But he only looked at him because Leo was very quiet and it was difficult for him to converse with his idol.”

Josep Maria Minguella on Lionel Messi’s relationship with Riquelme

The event concluded with Messi revealing his plan to take a family vacation before joining his new club, Inter Miami.

“It is a very nice feeling to have been able to be at [Riquelme’s] testimonial, with all that he means for football in Argentina, what he means to Boca, to be once again in ‘La Bombonera’. Now there will be a few days of vacation and then I will start in my new city, my new club (Inter Miami ), I am very excited.”

Lionel Messi talks about his new club Inter Miami

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