Juan Roman Riquelme: Youth tournament in South America features 11 players named after Argentina legend

Riquelme celebrates scoring in 2007 Libertadores Cup final
Riquelme celebrates scoring in the 2007 Libertadores Cup final

"We all dream of a team of Riquelmes. Number one is Riquelme. Number two, is…" you get the idea.

Juan Roman Riquelme was a major figure in South American football during the 2000s. And his influence can still be felt on the pitch today. In this year's Sao Paulo Junior Football Cup - a competition for Brazilian under-20 football teams - there are 11 players named after the Argentina legend.

These are all young lads born between 2000 and 2005 - when Riquelme was in his peak, providing the perfect inspiration for football-mad parents.

Conmebol Libertadores
Rikelmi Valentim discusses his namesake
Rikelmi Valentim discusses his namesake

His young namesakes at the Sao Paulo tournament have spoken about the player. Rikelmi Valentim of Juventus da Mooca cites a goal against Palmeiras, in the 2001 Libertadores semi-final, where Riquelme the elder danced through from the halfway line to score Boca's second. Palmeiras won the game on penalties and, subsequently, the competition.

Riquelmy Mendes Araujo (left) chats about Riquelme's hey day
Riquelmy Mendes Araujo (left) chats about Riquelme's hey day

Also playing at the tournament are 17-year-old team-mates Riquelmy Mendes Araujo and Riquelmo Alves Lima, who both play for Brazilian side Cruzeiro.

The attacking midfielder became a Boca Juniors legend during two spells with the Buenos Aires club, winning three Copa Libertadores trophies, one Intercontinental Cup and five Argentinian top division trophies between 1998 and 2011.

He was named Argentine footballer of the year four times.

Like Messi, he was also compared to another famous Argentine number 10 when he first emerged - Diego Maradona.

He was also a revelation for Argentina at the 2006 World Cup, where he helped guide them to the quarter-finals. Pele said of him, at that time: "We used to have players like Riquelme."

The 2006 Argentina World Cup team
The 2006 Argentina World Cup team

So all of these young Riquelme's plying their trade in football now - is it a case of nominative determinism? Is everyone who carries the Riquelme name just bound to be great at football? More likely, there are loads more young Riquelmes knocking about the place who we haven't heard of (yet).

It's also worth saying that this isn't the first time we've heard of something like this.

Back in 2015, a certain, Mancunian, young Ronaldo (named after the Brazilian legend) signed for Oldham Athletic youth team.

And Leeds United fans may be familiar with Romario and Ronaldo Vieira - two West African brothers with names of Brazilian legends who have played for the Yorkshire club.

There's also a young lad called Rodrigo Riquelme, playing at the moment for Atletico Madrid B-team.

What's in a name, 'ey?

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