COPA LIBERTADORES

Riquelme: "Playing the final at the Bernabéu won't be the same, it's sad"

Juan Román Riquelme isn't happy about staging the Copa Libertadores final in Madrid: "They're taking away our final, our party. It will be the most expensive friendly in history".

Juan Román Riquelme was crystal clear about how he views relocating the Copa Libertadores final return leg between Boca Juniors and River Plate to the Santiago Bernabéu. The former player, a Boca Juniors legend, told Radio Mitre: “It all seems very strange to me – it’s strange for all of us. The SuperClásico is one of the few things that is ours – like our barbecues, mate, dulce leche… whatever. The SuperClásico is ours and they’ve taken it away from us. It's our party, in our country – a game between the biggest two clubs in the country. On the one hand we have to feel proud to have two Argentine teams in such a prestigious final but it’s sad that it’s going to be played in another country. It would like staging a Champions League final between Real Madrid and Barça here in Buenos Aires – you can’t just take a big final somewhere else like that, it wouldn’t be the same. You lose something. One or the other will win and as a Boca fan, I hope it’s Boca but there are only playing this game because the Club World Cup is around the corner – that’s the only reason", Riquelme explained.

“It’s going to be strange – playing the game in an unfamiliar stadium with many players who have never played in Europe before. Whichever team enjoys the experience of playing at a big stadium like the Bernabéu will have the best chance of winning the trophy. I’ll be turning on the television to watch it on Sunday but for me, it won’t be the same, it won’t be like the Copa Libertadores – it will be the most expensive friendly game in history”.

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