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By ESPN Staff

Riquelme completes return to Boca Juniors

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Juan Roman Riquelme has completed his transfer back to Boca Juniors from Spanish club Villarreal, a senior official of the Buenos Aires club said on Thursday.

'He's already signed. He's a Boca player,' club vice-president Pedro Pompilio told reporters at the team's Bombonera stadium.

The 29-year-old Argentina playmaker was due to be officially presented at a news conference at 2100 GMT.

Riquelme, the fulcrum of the Argentina side that reached the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals, fell out with Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini last year and has seen no league action in Spain this season.

However, he has featured strongly in Argentina's four 2010 World Cup qualifying games to date, scoring four goals. He has scored 17 goals in 46 appearances for the national side.

Riquelme returned to Boca on loan in February and helped them win the Libertadores Cup, South America's champions league, for the sixth time. It was his third Libertadores Cup win with the Buenos Aires club.

At the end of the five-month loan, Boca said they could not afford to bring Riquelme back permanently but they, Villarreal and the player have now managed to agree a deal which Argentina media have put at about $15 million.

The return, however, appears to be too late for Riquelme to play for Boca in the Club World Cup in Japan next month. He helped Boca win the world club title with victory over Real Madrid in 2000.

Riquelme left Boca for Spain in 2002, joining Real's bitter rivals Barcelona. He struggled to hold down a first team place under Louis van Gaal, however, and moved to Villarreal the following year, initially on loan.

He helped Villarreal reach the Champions League semi-finals in the 2005/6 season. His penalty miss against Arsenal dashed the Spanish team's dream of reaching the final in their debut season in the competition.

Riquelme said before leaving Spain that he hoped playing for Boca again would help him keep his Argentina place until the 2010 World Cup.

'This move is the only chance I have to play at the next World Cup, which is the thing that motivates me most,' Riquelme was quoted as saying in Spanish media this week.