History - 1996 a 2001
ROMÁN, THE LEGEND
On the afternoon of 10 November 1996, during the 2-0 home win against Unión, Juan Román Riquelme made his debut for the blue and golds.
This shy and freckled young man would become a legend over the years. He proved decisive and broke Marzolini’s record by being the most capped player at La Bombonera, which he liked to call his courtyard. The first titles under Carlos Bianchi, the Libertadores Cups, the Tokyo final against Real Madrid, the Superclásicos, goals, thousands of assists... Riquelme means Boca. "I was born 'bostero' and I’ll die 'bostero', he keeps repeating. And no one doubts it.
After six years without official trophies, Boca celebrated again under Carlos Bianchi. In July of 1988 the best cycle in its history began and the 'Virrey' (Viceroy) became the club’s most successful coach ever.
In his first season, he formed a tough group and won the title without losing (13 wins and 6 draws). The 'Virrey' improved Riquelme and launched a historical pair formed by Guillermo and Palermo, that in the 1998 Apertura would score 20 goals helping to establish record after record in short tournaments. This team eventually proved relentless, devastating and apparently invincible extending their unbeaten run to 40 games, and with the victory of the 1999 Clausura got the so-called back-to-back. Bianchi had begun his road to immortality.
WORLD CHAMPIONS AGAIN
The new millennium brought an air of international glory. After 22 years, Boca were again South American champions lifting the Libertadores.
The road to glory was memorable, with a historic 3-0 win over River in the quarter finals, and then in Brazil on penalties against a strong Palmeiras. That golden year would continue with the conquest of the Apertura: despite the loss of Arruabarrena and Walter Samuel, the team were able to stay strong and celebrated the title after 12 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses. In the current championship came the cup that made Boca the best club in the world: on a magical night, with two goals from Palermo they beat Real Madrid by 2-1 and brought the Intercontinental Cup back to Argentina. It was an epic triumph against all odds. An unforgettable season that would be repeated.
CARRYING ON THE MOMENTUM, ANOTHER CUP
The hero, Palermo, was gone, but Riquelme wasn’t and to contribute to the cause were Marcelo Delgado on the pitch and Bianchi with his wisdom on the bench.
Boca made it a double win, immediately winning another Libertadores. In the two-legged final, they beat Cruz Azul in Mexico and lost at LaBombonera. Penalty shoot-out, then, and here the one who shone was Oscar Córdoba. The Colombian goalkeeper saved the first shot, then the Mexicans missed twice. In the second part of the year the group lost more players, both Ibarra and Bermúdez left. In the final of the Intercontinental against Bayern Munich it was impossible to repeat the performance of the previous season. After a tough game, in extra time they were defeated 1-0. This match would be Bianchi’s last in his first cycle at the club.