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Boca legend Riquelme: Copa Libertadores final doesn't matter any more

7:00 AM WAT 25/11/2018
Juan Roman Riquelme Boca Juniors
The former Boca Juniors and Argentina star say the long-awaited final no longer has meaning after Saturday's buss attack

Boca Juniors legend Juan Roman Riquelme says the Copa Libertadores final has lost its meaning following Saturday's bus attack that saw the second leg postponed until Sunday

The first leg finished in a 2-2 draw in Boca's Bombonera in a match that passed off relatively without incident, despite a 24-hour delay due to rain. 

But the visiting squad were greeted by a hail of bottles and other missiles from River fans in the streets surrounding the stadium which shattered the glass of the club's coach as they made their way to the Monumental for Saturday's return leg.

A one-hour postponement was subsequently announced by CONMEBOL at 16:45 local time (19:45 GMT), 15 minutes prior to the original kick-off scheduled by the South American governing body.

That deadline came near and a new delay was confirmed, with the provisional kick-off pushed back one final time on Saturday before the match was finally postponed and moved to Sunday. 

But Riquelme says the outcome, and the match itself, have lost all meaning amid the violence. 

"I’m exhausted and tired of looking at everything that happened, of seeing the people throwing rocks at a bus, I can’t believe it, and the people next to them who didn’t stop them," he told Canal 13. 

"We should be happy that we don’t have a Boca player severely injured. In Panamericana the same thing happened and there were people injured or dead. They are people. This game doesn’t matter anymore. What’s important is that no players are severely injured.”

The legendary midfielder also says he has no doubts that the two teams would rather not play the match under such trying circumstances. 

“I feel Boca is going to want to play in normal conditions, and the other team too. I have no doubt that the River manager wants to play when the Boca players are in the right condition to play. I don’t see [River boss Marcelo] Gallardo being any other way.”

While Gallardo seemingly agreed, he is hopeful that "normal conditions" can return by Sunday and that the rival clubs can play the match the way it was intended to be played. 

"A football party was expected and it ended up being a general, total embarrassment," he said, via TyC Sports.

"First was the aggression against the Boca bus and after everything that was lived during the day, we had to live this when we should have another kind of enjoyment.

"Unfortunately, it ended as it ended. Hopefully tomorrow [Sunday] in normal conditions we can play the game that we all want.

"It seemed to me that we could not play the game if Boca's players had been physically or mentally damaged, and from then on I did not make decisions, it was my opinion."