Thursday, June 20, 2013

20 June 2007 - Riquelme's Glorious Return

On 20 June 2007, a brace from Juan Román Riquelme secured a sixth Copa Libertadores for Boca Juniors.

It was their ninth appearance in the final, matching the record held at the time by Peñarol (though both had won it five times, two behind Independiente's seven titles). It was the fourth appearance for their opponents, Grêmio, who had lifted the trophy twice.

Riquelme, who had started his career with Boca Juniors in 1996, was back on loan after four years in Spain playing for Barcelona and Villarreal. He had won the Copa Libertadores in 2000 and 2001, with the latter being his last piece of silverware with the club. Upon his return, his impact in the league was minimal, with two goals in fifteen appearances, but he had had more of an impact in the tournament, scoring five goals in nine matches.

He added a sixth goal in the final's first leg, a 3-0 win at the Bombanera on 13 June. But he really shined in the second leg at Grêmio's Estádio Olímpico, scoring the day's only goals with strikes in the 68th and 81st minutes to seal the title. His performance led Boca to sign him on a permanent basis and he has remained with them ever since.

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