Buenos Aires, Argentina: Playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme is leaving Boca Juniors, saying he has "nothing left to give" following the Argentine club's loss to Corinthinas in the Copa Libertadores final.
The 34-year-old former player of Barcelona and Villarreal held back tears when he told teammates and club officials about his plans early Thursday after the defeat.
Corinthians defeated Boca 2-0 in Sao Paulo to take the two-legged final 3-1 on aggregate and claim its first Libertadores title, the top prize in Latin American club football.
"I've talked to the team. I've talked to the club president and I told him I'm not going to carry on," Riquelme said. "I love this club. ...The dedication I have to the club is huge. But I feel empty. I have nothing else to give to the club."
Riquleme called the move "my decision."
"I feel empty," he said. "I'm a fan of this club. I can't go out and play at 50 percent. ... I'm a Boca fan, and I'm going to die a Boca fan.'"
Riquelme has been frequently sidelined the past several seasons with knee and leg injuries. He suggested he might play with another club but offered no details.
Referring to his 9-year-old son he said: "If he wants to see me play, I'll play a bit more."
Riquelme began his career with Boca Juniors in 1996 before leaving for Barcelona and Villarreal. He returned to Boca in 2007.
He led Argentina at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and was one of three over-age players in the Argentine side that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.