Alfio Basile has announced the squad list for the 2007 Copa América in Venezuela, due to kick off on Tuesday (I got a little overexcited before when stating it would begin on Friday). Argentina’s first match will be on Thursday, 28th June, against the United States, and the 22 players, including one eyebrow-raising name, will be…
Roberto Abbondanzieri (Getafe, Spain)
Juan Pablo Carrizo (River Plate)
Agustín Orión (San Lorenzo)
Javier Zanetti (Internazionale, Italy)
Roberto Ayala (Valencia, Spain)
Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United, England)
Gabriel Milito (Real Zaragoza, Spain)
Daniel Díaz (Boca Juniors)
Hugo Ibarra (Boca Juniors)
Nicolás Burdisso (Internazionale, Italy)
Luís González (Porto, Portugal)
Juan Román Riquelme (Boca Juniors (loan) / Villarreal, Spain)
Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, England)
Esteban Cambiasso (Internazionale, Italy)
Fernando Gago (Real Madrid, Spain)
Juan Sebastián Verón (Estudiantes de La Plata)
Pablo Aimar (Real Zaragoza, Spain)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain)
Hernán Crespo (Internazionale, Italy (loan) / Chelsea, England)
Diego Milito (Real Zaragoza, Spain)
Carlos Tevez (West Ham United, England)
Rodrigo Palacio (Boca Juniors)
The big story, of course, is the inclusion of last night’s man of the match and CONMEBOL’s Player Of The Tournament in the 2007 Copa Libertadores, Juan Román Riquelme. Riquelme announced his international retirement following last year’s World Cup exit, claiming his mother couldn’t bear the pressure her son was being put under any longer. But his stellar form for Boca in his four month loan spell from Villarreal convinced Alfio Basile to try and talk him into reversing his decision – and eventually, he did.
It’s a brave decision to make, because you can’t include Riquelme in the squad and leave him out of the starting eleven. And if he’s in the starting eleven, it really needs to be built round him in order to get the best (or, some would say, anything at all) out of him. But as he showed for Boca: give him the right stage, and he could win you something. Is he the man to end the selección‘s 14-year wait for a trophy?
Personally, I adore Riquelme as a player and therefore I should be pleased about his recall. But as you said, it pretty much means that the team will have to be built around him. Does that mean dropping one of Tevez and Messi? And what about Veron?
And then there’s the suggestions that Veron doesn’t get along with Riquelme…worrying.