This was a business trip that was memorable because of the hospitality of my host colleagues. They took me to watch a football match between the two rival local teams – River Plate FC and Boca Juniors.
Superclásico is the football match in Argentina between Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate. It derives from the Spanish usage of “clásico” to mean derby, with the prefix “super” used as the two clubs are the most popular and successful clubs in Argentine football. In fact, the term ‘Clásico’ originated in Argentina, particularly with this match up and it was later exported to other countries such as Spain and Mexico. According to some statistics, they command more than 70% of all Argentine football fans between them.
The Superclásico is known worldwide as one of the fiercest and most important derbies. In April 2004, the English newspaper The Observer put the Superclásico at the top of their list of “50 sporting things you must do before you die”, saying that “Derby day in Buenos Aires makes the Old Firm game look like a primary school kick-about”, and in 2016 the British football magazine FourFourTwo considered it the “biggest derby in the world”. That same year The Daily Telegraph ranked this match as the “biggest club rivalry in world football”, and the Daily Mirror placed it number one in the top 50 football derbies in the world, above El Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, in 2017.
There were fireworks, flares and great football. The visiting fans even tried to set fire to the stadium after the game.