Juan Roman Riquelme hopes Barcelona target Sergio Araujo stays at Boca Juniors

The veteran playmaker says his young team-mate must choose what is best for his career but would like the striker to remain at the Buenos Aires-based side for the time being
Juan Roman Riquelme believes club colleague and Barcelona target Sergio Araujo has a bright future and claims the striker must decide where he wants to play, but hopes the youngster will stay at Boca Juniors for 'a long time' to come.

Riquelme started as captain in Boca's 3-1 friendly defeat at Espanyol on Wednesday night, while Araujo came on as substitute in the second-half at Cornella.

New signing Dario Cvitanich gave Boca the lead after 55 minutes, but Pablo Daniel Osvaldo hit back shortly afterwards and added a second from the penalty spot later on before Joan Verdu sealed victory with a spot-kick of his own a minute from time.

Nevertheless, Riquelme was pleased with his side's performance ahead of the trip to London for the Emirates Cup and a meeting with Arsenal.

"For a first game, it was pretty good. It was fairly even, and the referee made it more difficult for us," he told reporters afterwards, in reference to a possible offside for the second goal and two dubious penalty decisions either side of that.

Riquelme also believes Boca are putting together a decent side following a mediocre campaign last term, when they finished seventh.

"We are very excited by the team we have and the team that's being assembled," he said.

Whether Argentina Under-20 striker Araujo will form part of that team, however, remains to be seen as the forward has attracted interest from both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

"If he stays with us, I will be happy," Riquelme added. "But if he comes here [to Barcelona], I will be happy as well. Wherever he plays, he has to be happy. He is a player with a big future and let's hope he does whatever he wants to do."

Speaking as a Boca supporter, however, Riquelme claimed he would like his team-mate to remain at the Bombonera.

"We want to enjoy him for a long time," he said. "He is a great player and he is fan of our club, so we'll see what happens."

Riquelme had a spell at Barcelona earlier on in his career and claims he enjoyed the experience of returning to play football in the Catalan capital.

"I come to Barcelona every year on holiday," he revealed. "But it's special to come back here and play football - we really enjoyed the experience."