Buenos Aires — In a historic electoral battle, Boca Juniors’ iconic figure, Juan Román Riquelme, emerged victorious on Sunday, clinching the position of club president in a closely contested campaign against Andrés Ibarra. Ibarra, backed by former Argentine President Mauricio Macri, posed a formidable challenge in a hotly debated election.
According to Boca, Riquelme, running alongside Jorge Amor Ameal, secured 64.4% of the votes after counting nearly half of them. In contrast, Ibarra garnered 35.3%, ultimately conceding defeat.
Riquelme, 45, a revered figure in Boca Juniors’ history, enjoyed a storied playing career with the club, amassing 11 trophies, including five league titles and three Copa Libertadores triumphs. His extensive career also featured stints in Europe with Barcelona and Villarreal, notably reaching the Champions League semifinals with the latter in the 2005-6 campaign.
Notably, Boca last clinched the Copa Libertadores in 2007 during Riquelme’s playing days. Despite losing this year’s final to Fluminense in November, a challenging league season led to Boca’s exclusion from the prestigious continental competition, redirecting them to the Copa Sudamericana.
Election Delay and Resolution
The elections faced a two-week delay due to a dispute over the eligibility of 13,000 new members to vote. Ibarra contested their voting rights, prompting a demand for a judicial inquiry into the 2021 memberships. Ultimately, the contested members were permitted to cast their votes.
Ibarra gracefully conceded defeat on Sunday night, emphasizing, “Everything we have done was to defend the club. Boca comes before everything and everyone. Boca needs to recover peace and unity.”
As of now, Riquelme has not publicly commented on his victory. The election garnered attention, with recently elected Argentine President Javier Milei seen arriving at the Bombonera to participate in the club’s democratic process.