In game's history there are not many footballers to play for both Club Atlético Boca Juniors and Futbol Club Barcelona. In fact, only a couple of players have worn both shirts but it's about two of the greatest to play the game, Diego Armando Maradona and Juan Román Riquelme.
MARADONA, THE ARTIST WHO COULDN'T LEAVE A LEGACY AT THE CAMP NOU.
Maradona arrived to the Camp Nou from Boca on the summer of 1982, right after playing his first World Cup in Spain 1982. The Argentine genius, who started his career as a profesional in Argentinos Juniors, landed in the Catalan capital for 1.200 million pesetas to become the most expensive transfer at the time.
Albeit Maradona left great memories of his art in Barcelona, the time of El Pelusa at the Camp Nou was marked by illness and injuries. In his first season as a Barça player Maradona was diagnosed with hepatitis A which kept him away from the pitch for three months, an absence that eventually would be decisive for Barcelona as they were eliminated of the Cup Winners Cup 1982-83.
The Cup and League Cup successes, both against Real Madrid in the final, didn't save a season in which Udo Lattek would be sacked after LaLiga fixture 26 defeat against Racing de Santander. César Luis Menotti, the manager who had led Argentina to their first World Cup victory back in 1978, would replace the German.
In his second season wearing the Blaugrana shirt and now under the supervision of Menotti, Diego Maradona suffered an injury after a hard challenge of Andoni Goikoetxea in a league match in which Barcelona overwhelmed Athletic Club de Bilbao by 4-0 at the Camp Nou. Maradona needed to wait more than three months to return to play.
That would be the beginning of the end for El Diego at the Camp Nou. Once the 1983-84 season came to an end FC Barcelona's President, Josep Lluís Núñez, got rid of Maradona's problems by selling him to SSC Napoli, where the Villa Fiorito magician would eventually mark an era in Italian football.
RIQUELME AND HIS CONFLICTIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH LOUIS VAN GAAL
At the beginning of the 2000 decade Juan Román Riquelme was the player who excelled among all in South America.
The exquisite offensive midfielder of Boca Juniors and Argentina had marveled world football with his vision and his way to control the times of the game in the numerous feats of Carlos Bianchi's Boca Juniors at the Copa Libertadores and the 2000 Copa Intercontinental, where the Xeneizes beat Real Madrid by 2-1.
However, the first time Barça knew about Roman's quality was back on Wednesday, August 11th., 1999, in a friendly match between Catalans and Argentines which took place in Alicante and was won by the Buenos Aires side 3-2 with an astonishing performance from the midfielder.
Just as Maradona the signing of Riquelme for Barça would be produced in a World Cup summer, with the difference that Román didn't take place of the Korea-Japan tournament in which Argentina failed to overcome the group stage. However the superlative performances of Topo Gigio at La Bombonera were enough to make FC Barcelona pay the 10 million euros Boca asked for the transfer.
Nevertheless the relationship with current manager back on those days, Louis Van Gaal, went in a bad direction right from the player's presentation, when, according to the footballer, the Dutch expressed that "Riquelme was the worlds best player in attack but a player less while the team needed to defend".
His adaptation problems to a new club, a chaotic season for Barça with two managers Louis Van Gaal and Radomir Antic, and the board transition period made Riquelme's time at Camp Nou a disappointing experience for everybody.
With the arrival of Joan Laporta as FC Barcelona new President for the 2003-04 and the estelar signing of Ronaldinho, who would inherit the number 10, Riquelme left Catalonia just one summer after his landing to become Villarreal's "franchise man".
In the Yellow Submarine he eventually became decisive, under Manuel Pellegrini's direction, in order to reach the 2005-06 Champions League Semi-finals in which a missed penalty of the Argentine in front of Arsenal's Jens Lehman prevented the Valencian side to send the match to the extra times in the fight for the Saint-Denis Final.
CHRISTIAN PAVÓN, THE LAST BOCA JUNIORS STAR TO BE LINKED TO BARÇA
This summer before the World Cup took place in Russia, a new name of Boca was linked to Barcelona: Christian Pavón. The winger who participated with Argentina at the world football biggest tournament has caught the attention of the greatest clubs in Europe by his amazing dribbling and his reliability to generate danger in the final third of the pitch.
Witness if this young talent will be able to leave a great impression as Boca Juniors plays Barça in the party of the Trofeu Joan Gamper next Wednesday, August 15th. BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE AND NOW!