Riquelme set to join Atletico
The Argentine midfielder looks to be on his way to Madrid.
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2007 10:02 GMT
Argentine mildfielder Juan Román Riquelme looks set to become part the lastest addition at Atletico Madrid [GALLO/GETTY]
Argentine midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme is reportedly set to join Atletico Madrid from Villarreal before the transfer window closes on Friday.
Atletico are believed to be ready to pay $13.6 million to secure the 29 year old midfielder on a two-year contract.
Riquelme's arrival would continue Atletico's aggressive rebuilding process.
The club has made eight signings since the end of last season, including Jose Antonio Reyes from Arsenal, Simao Sabrosa from Benfica and Uruguay striker Diego Forlan, with whom Riquelme enjoyed a rich partnership at Villarreal.

"Riquelme would be the cherry on a big cake," an unnamed Atletico official told Spanish daily El Pais.

The one time talisman of Villareal has faced an uncertain future after spending the latter half of last season on loan at his former club, Boca Juniors of Argentina, after falling out with coach Manuel Pellegrini.

He has spent the last two weeks training alone and was omitted for Villarreal's win over Valencia in the opening round of the Spanish league last weekend.

Copa king

In June, Riquelme scored three goals over the two legs of the Copa Libertadores final, leading Boca over Gremio of Brazil 5-0 to claim its sixth South American title.

He also played for Boca from 1996 to 2002, winning three league championships, two Copa Libertadores titles, and an Intercontinental Cup.

Riquelme arrived in Spain in 2002, when he had a disappointing season at Barcelona.

He then joined Villarreal, first on loan and then permanently in 2004.

He helped the team to the semifinals of the 2006 Champions League.

According to the terms of his Villareal contract, Atletico would be required to pay 25 percent of his transfer fee to Barcelona.

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