Johor FA president, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim confirmed via his Twitter account yesterday that the southern Malaysian state is ready to give up on signing former Argentine international, Juan Roman Riquelme.
The crown prince of Johor stated that it was largely due to the former FC Barcelona player’s wage demands of RM1 million a month, which he thinks is too much for a player in his mid-30s.
Riquelme is now 34 years old and last played for Argentinian giants Boca Juniors. He recently made public his intention of leaving Boca, which prompted Johor to check his availability.
The playmaker has the experience of playing in this country before, when he captained Argentina to the World Youth Cup hosted by Malaysia in 1997.
Tunku Ismail also revealed that Johor would not stop looking around for other big name players from around the world in their bid to make the state football team a force to be reckoned with, once again.
“Johor are also looking at David Trezeguet, Michael Owen, Elano, Pablo Aimar and a few other big names. We’ll see what’s the best deal possible,” he tweeted.
Since Tunku Ismail took over the Johor FA presidency earlier in the year, he has set out to bring glory days back to Johor football and appointed Singapore footballing legend Fandi Ahmad as the team manager and technical advisor.
He also tried to bring in Argentina’s all-time leading goal-scorer, Gabriel Batistuta as the football director in March.
Johor FA’s last notable success in Malaysian football came 14 years ago in 1998, when they won the Malaysian FA Cup.