The pair were robbed of their car and personal possessions at gunpoint by three unidentified assailants, with 'Keko' admitting he feared he would never see his family again
Villalva, 19 and with more than 30 first-team games for the Millo, and Cazares, who represented Ecuador in the 2011 Under-20 World Cup, were travelling to practice when they were intercepted on a motorway overpass by three armed men. Villalva was forced to drive at gunpoint as the aggressors entered his Volkswagen Fox, and the pair were eventually left unscathed in a remote part of Buenos Aires province.
Victim of a crime phenomenon that in Argentina has been dubbed secuestro express - express kidnapping - 'Keko' Villalva later told La Red that he feared for his life during the ordeal.
"I was coming to training just like every day and on the overpass a van cut in front of us. They did a strange manoeuvre and when I braked I already had three guns pointed at me," the young forward explained.
"It is horrible, it is the first time anything like this has happened to me and I thought about a lot of things. They said, 'Ah you're Villalva, what do you have at home?' Later they said, 'Don't worry, nothing is going to happen to you'. They took our watches, as well as Juan's wallet and chain.
"Lots of things went through my head... Not seeing my family again, never going back to training."
River coach Matias Almeyda delayed the start of training upon hearing the news, until the pair arrived safe and sound at the club's Ezeiza complex.