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Atletico Madrid snap up Riquelme

29 August 2007 15:34

MADRID (AFP) - Atletico Madrid continued their summer spending spree Wednesday in snapping up Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme from Villarreal, Cadena Ser radio reported.

The radio said both parties had reached agreement, to be sealed officially Thursday, on a two-year contract with an additional year option.

Riquelme, out of favour with Villarreal's Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini and recently plying his trade on loan to Boca Juniors in his homeland, had earlier said he would be willing to play for nothing if hard-up Boca had paid a transfer fee.

The 29-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Boca and helped the Argentines to victory in the Copa Libertadores but the club said they believed that all in all they would have to find some 20 million dollars to buy him, including image rights.

Riquelme's deal with Villarreal ran to June 2009 and he had been training on his own since the start of the new season, while his teammates enjoyed a 3-0 away success last weekend at Valencia.

Atletico, having lost striker Fernando Torres to Liverpool, have responded by spending 77 million euros this summer on new talent, not quite as much as the 120 million shelled out by neighbours Real, who beat them 2-1 at the Bernabeu last Saturday.

Other arrivals were keeper Christian Abbiati on loan from AC Milan, midfield star Luis Garcia from Liverpool, Riquelme's former Villarreal teammate Diego Forlan, Portuguese forward Simao and attacking midfielder Jose Antonio Reyes from Arsenal.

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Wednesday 16 April

Tuesday 15 April

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Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 33 +50 82
2 33 +62 79
3 33 +65 78
4 33 +23 62
5 33 +14 56
6 33 +14 52
7 33 +6 51
8 33 +0 44
9 33 -5 41
10 33 -11 40
11 33 -8 38
12 33 -13 37
13 33 -16 37
14 33 -31 37
15 33 -17 35
16 33 -25 34
17 33 -18 32
18 33 -22 31
19 33 -30 30
20 33 -38 22

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