Riquelme left over holiday row - Villarreal

December 1, 2007

MADRID, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme had to leave Villarreal because he was not prepared to be treated the same way as the rest of his team mates, according to club president Fernando Roig.

'The conflict began last year when Roman wanted to take more holiday than the coach wanted in December,' Roig was quoted as saying on the club's website.

'As the player did not want to explain himself, I realised that this had become a problem of authority. We tried to sort it out in January after the winter break, but he refused to change his position. It is very difficult to solve a problem when someone refuses to speak.'

He added: 'No one is more important than Villarreal, not the president nor anyone else and we should always make that clear.'

Riquelme was loaned out to former club Boca Juniors for the second half of last season and helped them win the Libertadores Cup.

However, the Argentine side said they could not afford to bring him to the club on a permanent deal.

The midfielder returned to Villarreal at the start of this season but did not play any games for the club.

Rather than let him continue to languish on the sidelines, the Primera Liga agreed to allow him to sign a 30-month contract with Boca earlier this week.

Roig said that Villarreal had received no transfer fee for the 29-year-old international. 'We haven't earned a single euro from the move,' he said.

Villarreal have made an impressive start to the season despite having to do without Riquelme. They are currently second place in the Primera Liga, a point behind leaders Real Madrid.