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Soccer-Boca Juniors gain Martinez after losing Riquelme for good

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Jan 22 (Reuters) - Boca Juniors have made up for the permanent loss of Juan Roman Riquelme with the biggest signing of Argentina's mid-season recess.

Argentina forward Juan Manuel "Burrito" Martinez completed his transfer from South American champions Corinthians of Brazil when he was presented officially to the media in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old Martinez, who won three Argentine league titles with Velez Sarsfield between 2005 and 2011, was at Corinthians for six months and failed to hold down a regular first team place.

He was part of the squad that won the Club World Cup in December in Japan but only came on for the last few minutes of the final in which Corinthians beat Chelsea 1-0.

Boca, who this year will be playing in the South American Libertadores Cup they have won six times, also signed Uruguayan Ribair Rodriguez on loan from Italian Serie A side Siena and defender Claudio Perez from Belgrano.

"We all agree the Libertadores is our ambition but Boca has to fight on all fronts and start the ("Final" league) championship on the right foot," Martinez told a news conference at the club's Casa Amatilla training complex.

"I played against (Martin) Palermo, I suffered and enjoyed his goals but I play in a different position," said Martinez on being compared with Boca's record goalscoring centre forward who retired in June and is now coach of rivals Godoy Cruz.

Riquelme quit Boca last July after their Libertadores Cup final defeat by Corinthians and new coach Carlos Bianchi, with whom he won a string of titles during their time together at the Argentine giants between 1998 and 2002, failed to entice him back.

Boca finished fifth equal and eight points behind winners Velez in the "Inicial", the first of the two championships in the Argentine season, in December. The "Final" kicks off next month.

They did not renew coach Julio Cesar Falcioni's contract and brought Bianchi, the club's most successful coach, back for a third spell in charge.

Riquelme looked set to join relegated Brazilian giants Palmeiras but a deal appeared to have dampened this week with a change of president at the club from Sao Paulo who questioned whether they could afford to sign the former Argentina playmaker. (Writing by Rex Gowar; editing by Mark Meadows; rex.gowar@thomsonreuters.com; 44 7905 733628; Reuters Messaging:rex.gowar.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130122/soccer-boca-juniors-gain-martinez-after-losing-riquelme-good