Less than a week after completing an unbeaten championship-winning Apertura campaign with Boca Juniors, Juan Roman Riquelme has his sights set on further success - qualifying Argentina for the 2014 World Cup.
The 33-year-old, who is in his third spell with Boca, was included in the Argentina squad to face Brazil in September but missed out due to injury. He suffered a further setback in October but recovered his fitness to help lead Boca to their 25th domestic title and first since the Apertura in 2008. And now, with the season at an end, the creative midfielder is targeting a return to the national team under new coach Alejandro Sabella.
"I hope to be in the team and help them qualify for the World Cup. I know that it depends on the performance of my club, my colleagues and I have no doubt that if things go well I will wear the shirt of my country," he told TyCSports.
"I have a dream and that is to play with Lionel Messi and help qualify the national side for the World Cup."
The midfielder added: "When I was a kid, I wanted to watch Diego Maradona and now my son Agustin wants the ball to get to Messi because something will happen. Messi is one of those players, he is the best in the world. "
Riquelme, who missed the final game of the season against All Boys with a foot injury, also spoke about strengthening the squad over the off-season to ensure Boca can challenge in 2012.
"The more good players you have, the better chance you have of winning things. Competition is great, if a player gets injured then it makes it easier, but we will see what the coach decides," he commented.
"If new players arrive to do the same that we are doing then they will feel comfortable and know the club as quickly as possible. "
As well as their own success, Boca fans celebrated their arch rivals River Plate's relegation in 2011, but Riquelme says he hopes to play the fiery derby at El Monumental again soon.
"It is strange. It's the biggest game of all and the players and the fans look forward to it... With River and Boca fighting every tournament it makes the football stronger. Their relegation is damaging to all football, not only to River. I want to play the derby match at the Bombonera and Monumental. Hopefully they will return soon," he said.
Finally, the 33-year-old spoke about his ambitions to become the most capped Boca player, ahead of Roberto Mouza, who made 426 appearances for the club - around 100 more than Riquelme at present.
"The biggest goal I have now is catch up to Mouzo," said Riquelme. "Money is not everything to me. I had the opportunity to go to Brazil, but the heart is stronger and I am Boca. I have 100 more games to play and I will try to do it."