Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The derby capital of the world

David Nugent in Editorial, General Soccer News 31 Oct 2009


Buenos Aires DerbyThe capital city of top flight derbies is not London, Madrid or Milan. The international capital of the derby match is the birthplace of one of the greatest footballers ever, Buenos Aires. Current Argentina manager Diego Maradona was born in Buenos Aires and the city is close to his heart.

The Argentine capital currently contains 13 clubs in the Argentinian top flight. Considering the league has 20 teams that’s amazing. There can be up to three derbies a weekend, which in most cases are fiercely contested affair.

The most fierecest rivalry

The most fiercest of rivalries is that of working class Boca Juniors and Millionarios of River Plate. Both clubs got their names from the dock area of Boca, where they started out in the early 1900’s

River got their name from packing boxes and Boca got their kit colours from a Swedish national flag  on the side of a ship. The derby between the two giants is called the Superclassico. However the derby between River and Boca isn’t the only big derby in the city.

Racing club and Indepediente were founded around the same time as the two other giants of the Argentinian game. The two sides stadiums are just 200 yards apart. The Avellaneda is the second biggest derby in the city. There is also the Clasico del Barrio which is the derby between Huracan and San Lorenzo.

Amazing record

The top five clubs in the city River Plate, Boca Juniors, San Lorenzo, Racing Club and Independiente between them won every championship till 1967, when the league was restructured. River and Boca have dominated the top flight in recent years. However this season they are struggling in the current Torneo Apertura. Boca are in 9th and River are 13th. Although Buenos Aires based Banfield, San Lorenzo, Velez Sarsfield and Independiente are all still in with a chance of topping the league.

Passionate fans

The rivalries in Buenos Aires sometimes explode in to violence. Like other derbies in the world the passions run high on derby day. The Superclassico has been listed by the Observer in the fifty sporting events you must do before you die.

The derby is made famous by the intense support shown by both sets of supporters and some say its the biggest derby game in the world. The old fashioned stadiums El Monumental of River Plate and La Bombonera of Boca only add to the atmosphere. The two grounds have also been used for Argentinian national matches.

Famous players

Lots of famous names have graced these derbies over the years. The great Diego Maradona has appeared for his lifelong club Boca Juniors and another Argentine legend Daniel Passarella captained River in hard fought encounters. In more recent years the likes of former Argentianian internationals Ariel Ortega and Hernan Crespo have helped River to victories.

Is the Superclasico the biggest derby in the world?

There are many big derbies all over the world. There’s big competition from the Manchester derby, Merseyside derby and the London derbies in England and Milan derby in Italy and then there’s many more big derbies around the world. However I think the people of Buenos Aires may just have the best claim for the loudest and most colourful derby in the world but biggest derby in the world you decide for yourself.


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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