That’s how Juan Román Riquelme has described Boca Juniors’ offer to him to give him a new three year contract. After breakfasting this morning with the news that Claudio Borghi had described the playmaker’s contract negotiations as ‘80% closed,’ Román has shot back on television, insisting that, ‘it seems like [the directors] are just trying to buy time.’ At least Martín Palermo has finally signed his own extension – and told the press he wants to play with Boca in the Copa Libertadores next year, and should they win it, ‘retire after the Club World Cup’. And another Copa Libertadores-winner, Estudiantes boss Alejandro Sabella, has also renewed his contract.
Boca are currently in New Zealand preparing to play a friendly against
the Kiwi national team Wellington Phoenix, but back in Buenos Aires Palermo has already been hitting the training ground after confirming his stay with the club will be extended by at least a year. ‘I want to retire fighting for something nice like the Copa,’ he told the press. ‘If we win the Libertadores I’d like to play the Club World Cup too…’ He also told the press conference that, ‘I’m talking with the club psychologist [about my retirement], and after I retire I’ll take a break and after that I’d like to be a manager, that’s my wish.’ A team of eleven Martín Palermos certainly wouldn’t be lacking attitude.
A team of eleven Juan Román Riquelmes, however… blimey. There’s a thought. From Wellington, Boca manager Claudio Borghi, enthused by the news of Palermo’s renewal, told the press yesterday; ‘[negotiations with] Riquelme are 80% done.’ Román saw that today and wasn’t amused. And how did he signal his displeasure at Boca’s directors? With a quiet phone call? Oh come on. This is Juan Román Riquelme we’re talking about. He did it by calling a press conference, of course. ‘I don’t want to confuse anyone,’ he began. ‘After the meeting we had on Monday this has gone backwards. It seems like the only thing they want to do is gain themselves a bit of time. I always live with the truth and I don’t like to see the manager of Boca saying via television that my situation is advancing well. This Monday after another meeting with my agent, it’s gone backwards. To say it’s 99% done [Borghi actually said 80%, but a little exaggeration never hurt anyone hey?] confuses people, and I don’t like it.’ He went on to claim that, ‘every time they meet with my agent there are more stones across the path, and I have to jump over them because I want a happy ending.’ What a romantic image. And it’s not about money, but about, ‘the terms of the contract.’ Well, that’s cleared that up.
One man who doesn’t seem fussy about money or the terms of his contract is Alejandro Sabella – the Estudiantes boss has renewed his contract for a year and, in spite of having won the Copa Libertadores after six months in charge last year, he’s on the same wages he was when he took over the club in January 2009. He has, however, requested that his assistants be given a rise. Sabella’s contract actually expired three weeks ago, on the 30th June, and his holding off signing a new one for so long was seen by some as a way of pressuring the club’s directors into bringing in a new signing or two – Rosario Central’s Emiliano Zelaya is in his sights – or of seeing whether he might be offered the national team job, but whatever the reasons for the delay, he’s signed again now.
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Photo taken from canchallena.com