Boca vs. River, which party is the least desirable for many Argentines?


9 November 2018 04:49 PM
Updated 9 November 2018 5:06 in the afternoon

"We will never forget it," Boca Juniors fans often say about River Plate's unprecedented decline to Argentina's second division in 2011. They repeated it, sang it, stirred up the wound.

But not only them: in Argentine football, forgetting is almost impossible.

The tournament, which was won unfairly decades ago, is a classic lost due to landslides, some details about personality that should be from others: there are always anecdotes, results, achievements that you try to embarrass others.

In more than 100 years of fierce competition between Boca and River, there is a lot of data to choose from. And in this case all appear to be historians.

Therefore, what happened in the Copa Libertadores final, which for the first time will be contested between these two football giants, will be difficult to forget.

This is the most important Latin American club tournament. With the two biggest teams. So traditional "superclásico" will, for once, "superfinal". Or "the end of the world," as some newspapers have titles.

Always these parties are the source of clashes between players and fans despite requests from the authorities to play in peace and harmony AFP

Have never played a final like this. Have never played a final with such competition. Nothing will happen on Saturday 10 and 24 November.

Winning or losing, therefore, will lead to the idea of ​​longevity or eternal death.

You play too much

Nobody except the head of state, Mauricio Macri, a famous fan and former president of Boca, said in an interview that "losers will take 20 years to recover."

"This is a much played final, it's played too much, I think it would be better if one of the two who entered the final was Brazil," he said before the final match was determined.

Dan Macri is not the only fan who doesn't want this final: during the semifinals in Buenos Aires, BBC World spoke with dozens of fans from both teams who expressed that feeling.

There was so much tension for the party that the government decided to play without public AFP competitors

"Losing will leave us dead", "it will be a great ending, whatever it is", "it is a lot of emotional burden for now (economic crisis)". So the two sides' comments were heard; exaggerated like every word in this country.

But sports journalist Andrés Burgo agreed: "The fact that nobody wants to play has produced the greatest empathy between River and Boca fans that I remember, because this is the most interesting final, but also the most unfair."

"That loss will be too much punishment for the extraordinary campaign Boca and River carried out."

Both teams, explained Burgo, were too risky in this final.

River played the advantage of the last few years, marked by victory in three key crossings with Boca, one of which was in the final (Copa Argentina, 2017); and Boca played its lead between 1998 and 2011, with those who won four Libertadores.

Tension beforehand

After the statement, Macri spoke several times about the game. This is a State problem.

Due to the rivalry of violence that has existed in Argentine football (the source of 135 deaths in the past 18 years), visiting team fans cannot go to local tournament matches.

A few weeks ago the classic city of Rosario, between Central and Newell's, had to play without the public to avoid confrontation.

Football and politics always join hands in Argentina. But never before was a president so clearly a fan of teams like Macri de Boca, the club where he became president AFP

Macri said that the Libertadores final, a tournament without this ban, was "a great opportunity for all Argentine players to show maturity."

But the president of the club and the Argentine Football Association did not agree and announced that there would be no visitors to avoid "inconvenience".

And although Macri called for "peace and harmony" with his request, on Monday a leaked video depicting River technician Marcelo Gallardo as a "culon".

Looking back

Argentina is obsessed with symbols and history.

Some historians attribute it to the privilege of immigrants, in a constant search for its roots; but others relate it to a collective memory process that supports non-repetition which occurred after the military regime in the 70s and 80s.

Some things in Argentina – many don't say anything – produce as much enthusiasm as football | AFP

And being a country largely formed by immigrants, with almost no connection with the pre-Columbian past, new symbols of Argentine identity – from Perón to Indio Solari – live to the extreme.

That is why football clubs, not only Boca and River, are vehicles of ownership that are above the country itself: 70% of Argentina, according to the polls, care more about the results of their clubs than any of the national teams.

"Being an event that does not require anabolic, Boca River is also exaggerated in the media and painted as if the losers disappeared, which is certainly not true," Burgo added.

It might be exaggerated, then, to say that this match will never be forgotten. But of course it takes time.


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