1. The whole country stops to support either Boca or River. The whole world watches.
70% of the country chooses a side when the Superclasico comes around.
2. This is Boca.
3. This is River.
4. There are 20 teams in Argentina’s first division. 13 are based in Buenos Aires. You cannot separate futbol from Buenos Aires.
They’re all a little bit crazy.
5. But as former River player Mario Kempes put it, when Boca and River play “they are not just fighting for the city. The whole country is involved.”
6. Boca fans have labeled River “las gallinas” - the chickens - for choking at big games. River fans labeled Boca “los bosteros” - the pieces of sh*t. Both teams have embraced the nicknames.
River fans now call their stadium the “gallinero” - the chicken coup - while the Boca Juniors twitter account tweets “Happy Sunday, bosteros!” every weekend
7. Even Pope Francis, who supports San Lorenzo, once told a River-supporting Rabbi, “I think this year we’re going to eat chicken soup.”
8. Some of the world’s best players of all-time have played in the Superclasico.
Diego Maradona only played for Boca for one year after his arrival in 1981, but he returned to the club at the end of his career and is still one of the club’s most passionate supporters. He’s also loved for his talent as much as his insanity.
9. The world’s best players are still making names for themselves in Superclasicos.
Players like Radamel Falcao and Carlos Tevez represent the fact that while Europe may have better leagues, top talent is still coming out of Argentina
10. Carlos Tevez is a Boca legend, but he once celebrated a goal with the chicken dance. He was shown a red card for inciting violence.
After the game, he said, “The passion got the better of me.”
11. Tevez isn’t alone. In 2011, River player Matias Almeyda was charged with assault and inciting violence after kissing the River badge in front of Boca fans.
He avoided a court case after agreeing to donate $3000 to charity, as you do.
12. The Superclasico “cargadas” - or wind-ups - are infamous.
In 2000, Boca fans put posters all over the city that listed the names of bands who played at El Monumental, River’s stadium. The message was that while Boca were winning trophies, River were watching concerts.
Speaking of music, River fans were recently inspired by an inflatable pig during a Roger Waters concert and created one that was dressed in Boca colors, floating it in front of the Boca fans
13. Carlos Bianchi, the current and most successful coach in the history of Boca Juniors, is Larry David.
14. Like Larry David, Bianchi works in mysterious ways.
At Boca, he made 10 commandments for his team, which included “non-negotiable rest” (eight hours of sleep and a two-hour siesta every day), as well as no cell phone usage during training and meal times.
15. “When I wake up, I can’t put on anything red or white” - Boca legend Juan Roman Riquelme.
Wearing red and white at Boca or blue and yellow at River is asking not to leave the stadium with your life. The superclasico rivalry can even influence some of the most powerful companies. A widely-sold drink company had to agree to their logo being painted in black and white rather than red and white on the side of the Bombonera if they wanted to keep the sponsorship deal. The company LG had similar problem.
16. The thing is, Boca Juniors’ colors were inspired by a Swedish boat that came into the city’s port. Not to mention the fact that both clubs have English names.
17. River-Boca also represents a class divide. River is often referred to as The Millionaires, while Boca is the people’s team.
Antonio Liberti, one of River’s former presidents, once said: “River is like the Colon Theatre, not anybody can play there.”
18. Laps of honor in enemy territory are notorious in Argentine football. Boca’s Silvio Marzolini said, “I believe players who win a championship have to do the lap of honor… wherever it is.”
Of course, this usually results in fans belting players with bottles and rocks. Still worth it.
On Sunday, the Superclasico returns. We’ve made the trip to Boca’s La Bombonera, and we’ll be capturing the craziest rivalry in the world, with a camera in one hand and our shirt waving in the other. For more info on the Superclasico, be sure to give Argentine futbol expert Joel Richards’ ebook a look. Our Superclasico art was made by Luke Barclay. Follow KICKTV and our trip to Argentina on YouTube.