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Juan Román Riquelme retires: a Yellow Submarine legend hangs up his boots

Three and a half years at Villarreal, including the magnificent run to the Champions League semifinals in 2004-05. More than that, an amazing, unique player. Forever Riquelme, indeed.

A rare picture of a smiling Riquelme!  Jan 2006 v Osasuna
A rare picture of a smiling Riquelme! Jan 2006 v Osasuna
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

News from Argentina is that Juan Román Riquelme is hanging up his boots at the age of 36.  A controversial figure during his career, for sure, but a unique figure, a memorable player.

Riquelme says he will "go and suffer in the stands now, just another fan".  His greatest successes were with Boca Juniors, of course, but there was also that magic spell at Villarreal, from 2003 to 2007.

A couple of videos, the first, Boca v River, 2014:

Here are clips of Riquelme in action for Villarreal (his debut against Real Madrid with a young-looking David Beckham, among others):

He played 145 matches for Villarreal (starting 143).  106 of those were in La Liga, 12 Champions league, 21 UEFA Cup (Europa League nowadays),  4 Copa del Rey, 2 Intertoto Cup. 45 goals (36 in the league, 1 Copa, 8 in Europe).

And finally, an appreciation (published in late 2013) by an Englishman--you can click at the bottom to read the other parts of his story, this is the part that covers Riquelme's time at Villarreal.

His description of Riquelme against Inter is spot on.

Siempre Riquelme, yes indeed.