Riquelme's decision, which he announced on Sunday, came as a surprise since he was weighing up the chance of a move to Paraguayan club Cerro Porteno, having quit Argentinos Juniors after helping them secure promotion back to the first division.
The 36-year-old had left Boca, the top Argentine side he helped win a string of domestic and international titles and where he had stated he was more important than the club president, at the end of last season in June.
"I don't know if this is a special day, but it is important... I've made the decision not play football any more," Riquelme told former Real Madrid and Argentina defender Enrique Wolf in an exclusive interview on a TV sports programme.
"I was sure that to do something important it had to interest and motivate me. I think that after having fulfilled my commitment to Argentinos and all Boca's dreams, this is what's best."
Riquelme is best remembered in Europe for his often brilliant Argentina form and for having missed a penalty for Villarreal, his second Spanish club after Barcelona, in a Champions League semi-final shootout with Arsenal in 2006.
Van Gaal clash
He had a special mention for his coach at Barca, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, with whom he never succeeded in holding down a regular first team place.
"Van Gaal told me I was the best in the world when we had the ball and when we didn't it was like playing with a man less. He explained to me that he hadn't been convinced about signing me, but I learnt a lot, his training sessions were marvellous," Riquelme said.
Widely regarded as Boca's greatest ever player apart from Diego Maradona, Riquelme shared a World Cup with Lionel Messi in Germany in 2006 where Argentina went out on penalties to the hosts in the quarter-finals.
He was expected to play in the 2010 team at the next finals in South Africa but quit in 2009 in conflict with then coach Maradona.
Riquelme, groomed as a youngster at Argentinos Juniors' renowned academy where Maradona also started out, made his first division debut for Boca at 18 in November 1996 under former Argentina coach Carlos Bilardo.
He played nearly 600 games for four different clubs and Argentina and scored nearly 150 goals and made many more assists as one of the most creative talents to come out of South America.
"I'm very happy and keen to enjoy what's to come, though I know no job will give me the satisfactions football gave me," Riquelme said.

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