Juan Roman Riquelme was sought by
Corinthians two years ago when they were building a team to try
to win the Libertadores Cup for the first time in their
Now Riquelme, who said he did not want to leave Boca
Juniors, stands in the way of Corinthians who have at last
reached their first final clash with the Argentine six times
South American champions.
Boca are at home in Wednesday's first leg at La Bombonera in
Buenos Aires as they bid to equal the record seven victories of
fellow Argentine side Independiente.
"There are no favourites," Corinthians coach Tite told
reporters almost defiantly outside the team's hotel in Buenos
Aires on Tuesday.
"You're never going to be relaxed in a final, because of
what you're playing for, because of the expectations, the
"A magic formula? We have to do what we've been doing, play
the same way at home and away, Corinthians are a team more than
individuals," added Tite of his side whose strong defence have
conceded only three goals in 12 games in the tournament.
Boca's magic formula could be said to be Riquelme, the best
player in the Argentine domestic game and the key player in
their progress to the final.
He earned respect in Brazil for his Libertadores exploits,
primarily against Brazilian teams and especially in the away
legs in Brazil.
Boca have won four of their titles this century and Riquelme
was a part of three, having missed the 2003 victory over Santos
after moving to Barcelona.
In 2000, the year Boca went on to beat Real Madrid in the
Intercontinental Cup final, Riquelme helped them beat Palmeiras,
Corinthians' Sao Paulo neighbours, on penalties and the
following year they beat Cruz Azul of Mexico, also in a
In 2007, Riquelme scored both away goals and three
altogether in the tie as Boca romped past Brazil's Gremio 5-0 on
Two of Boca's defenders are also veterans of previous finals
including left-back Clemente Rodriguez who has won the trophy
Centre-back Rolando Schiavi, who is 39, played for the 2003
winners and also helped Juan Sebastian Veron's Estudiantes lift
the trophy in 2009 before returning to Boca last year.
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