Argentina's star-studded 2008 gold medallists: Where are they now?

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Juan Riquelme

Riquelme was included as one of three over-age players in 2008 – he was 30 at that point of his career – and featured prominently as expected in China, playing in all but one game and netting a penalty in the 3-0 semi-final win over rivals Brazil.

These days he’s really not up to much at all, save for sparse media appearances criticising Boca’s current regime

Considering he’d retired from international football altogether in 2006 due to his mother’s ill health, it was a particularly satisfying achievement in Albiceleste colours for a player so revered in his home nation and beyond.

He jacked in Argentina commitments for good in 2009 after a fall-out with Diego Maradona and when he finally retired from football in January 2015, he did so to worldwide fanfare.

“He was the second inventor of football – the first were the English over 100 years ago,” wrote journalist Horacio Pagani in tribute. He was not alone.  

After a disappointing spell under Louis van Gaal at Barcelona, Riquelme lifted a decent if unspectacular Villarreal team to new heights, ending with the crescendo of a Champions League semi-final spot in 2006.

Things were never the same again at El Madrigal, though, and he returned to Boca Juniors where it all began, initially on loan. Six-and-a-half years and two Apertura titles later, he finally left his first club for a sojourn at Argentinos Juniors.

These days he’s really not up to much at all, enjoying his retirement in peace in Buenos Aires – save for some sparse media appearances criticising Boca’s current regime, that is. – JB