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 By Tim Vickery

Juan Roman Riquelme: The master of his art will be missed by Argentina

The ESPN FC team reflect back on Juan Roman Riquelme's storied career and the crew is forced to pick which was the best professional footballer.

Towards the end of 2001, a tribute match for Argentine legend Diego Maradona was staged at Boca Juniors' famous stadium, La Bombonera, in Buenos Aires. The spectators included then-Argentina national team coach Marcelo Bielsa, who was roundly booed. However, the fans' ire had nothing to do with any falling out between Bielsa and Maradona, but rather the fact that the coach had no place in his team for Juan Roman Riquelme, the playmaker and idol of the Boca side of the time -- who announced his retirement...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Juan Riquelme -- ex-Argentina, Boca Juniors and Villarreal star -- retires

Juan Roman Riquelme announced his retirement from football after an illustrious career with Barcelona, Villarreal and Boca Juniors.

Legendary Argentina and Boca Juniors playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme has retired from football.

Speaking Sunday in an interview with ESPN Argentina, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist made it official: "I've made the decision to not play football anymore," said the 36-year-old Riquelme. "I have been clear since after [earning] promotion with Argentinos. I was clear that to continue playing it had to be something that interested me. I thought it best to take it calmly and communicate that I am not going...

 By Tim Vickery

Uruguay-Brazil headlines second round of South American U20 championship

Giovanni Simeone and Argentina have run rampant at the South American under-20 championship, but tougher competition awaits the Albiceleste in the second round.
Giovanni Simeone and Argentina have run rampant at the South American under-20 championship, but tougher competition awaits the Albiceleste in the second round.

With all due respect to Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Chile, it is time for the main event of the competition. In the South American under-20 championship, the aforementioned four teams have been knocked out. Six are still standing, and over the next few days, they will play one another in the tournament's decisive second stage.

The stakes now rise. Four of the remaining six will make it through to this year's Under-20 World Cup. One will join host Brazil in next year's Olympics; another will...

 By Tim Vickery

South American U20 Championships defined by exhaustion, tough schedule

Peru and Paraguay may have played out a dubious draw but blame the schedule more than anything.

Worst fears were realised when Group A came to a close in the South American Under-20 Championships.

Argentina had already booked their place in the decisive second stage. Behind them were three teams, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru, all level on points. Two would join Argentina. One would be eliminated.

Ecuador had completed all their matches and could only watch from the sidelines, hoping for a decisive result in the match between the other two. But a draw between Paraguay and Peru would qualify...

 By Ben Gladwell

Diego Maradona may face trial for defamation

Former Argentina football star Diego Maradona appeared to be asleep on Tuesday at a military ceremony where Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was delivering a speech.
Diego Maradona has been involved in a long-standing dispute with the Italian tax authorities.

Rome prosecutors are seeking charges against former Napoli star Diego Maradona for allegedly defaming the former head of Italy's tax collection agency.

Maradona is accused of having defamed the former president of Equitalia -- the department responsible for collecting taxes in Italy -- Attilio Befera in remarks he made in 2012, when he claimed he was being mistreated by the Italian authorities.

The Rome district attorney Nicola Maiorano said on Wednesday that Maradona, "in a series of public appearances...