Juan Roman Riquelme: If Argentina need me, I will be there

The playmaker would love to return to international football for the World Cup qualifiers, and also defended Lionel Messi from post-Copa America criticisms in Argentina
Boca Juniors star Juan Roman Riquelme has affirmed that he would be available to play once more for Argentina should he receive the call, while lamenting the instability in the team demonstrated by Sergio Batista's short stint as the Seleccion coach.

The 33-year-old No. 10 has not played in the Albiceleste for over two years, after resigning under the reign of Diego Maradona due to personal differences with the trainer. He had been more receptive to a return under Batista, but spent long periods of the last year on the treatment table and eventually missed out on a call-up to the Copa America.

Speaking the day after 'Checho' was removed from his charge by Julio Grondona and the AFA, Roman once put himself at the disposition of whoever succeeded.

"If they need me for the qualifiers, I will return. If not, the Seleccion has some wonderful players", the veteran of 51 international caps revealed in an interview with Cadena COPE. He also argued that if his country wished to be competitive once more, they had to give their coaches more time.

"It is not a good thing to change the trainer every eight, nine months. I hope they bring in one now who they can leave a long time there."

Riquelme finished by talking about former Olympic gold medal-winning team mate Lionel Messi, and was baffled by the rough reception the Ballon d'Or holder received in some quarters following Argentina's quarter-final elimination.

"Us Argentines are a little bit special, we have the best player on the planet and instead of enjoying him we are always questioning why he does not play like in Barcelona. In the Copa he was the best of the lot, but if we don't win they always go after him and that is not good," he asserted.

Argentina's World Cup qualifying campaign kicks off in October, with a home clash against Chile.