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The “5 Grandes” of Argentine Soccer

Simon Staedeli

The term “5 grandes” (5 greatest) was coined in 1930’s on the streets of Buenos Aires and refers to the 5 big teams of Argentine soccer throughout the city. The 5 grandes were chosen by the amount of fans and championships won by each club. At first, it was just a term used by soccer fans to “trash talk” the other teams and increase their own clubs status. But in the 1930’s, these clubs were proven to be the greatest by having the ruling majority in any decision made within the Argentine Football Association.

Club Atlético Boca Juniors

The famous Bombonera, home of the Boca Juniors

Located in the traditional La Boca neighbourhood and founded in 1905 by 6 teenagers, Boca is the only team in the professional leagues history to have always played in the top division of Argentine soccer. Boca stadium, Alberto J. Armando, is known worldwide as “La Bombonera” due to its resemblance to a box of chocolates. Boca has won the Copa Libertadores de America several times, which qualifies soccer teams to the Intercontinental Final. There they played against and beat the European champions, Real Madrid and AC Milan in different occasions.

Boca fans or the “hinchada” is called “jugador número 12” or “La 12”, which literally translates to “Player Number 12”; that’s how important fans are in Argentine soccer culture.

Club Atlético River Plate

River Plate Fans at the Monumental Stadium (Photo taken from http://www.imagenescon.com)

“Millonarios” stadium, “El Monumental”, is the biggest soccer field in Argentina. The 1978 Argentina World Cup final was played here, crowning Argentina as the world champions for the first time ever.

River’s name comes from the literal translation of the Río (River) de la Plata. Founded in 1901, River is the oldest club of the 5 grandes. Although the club was originally located in La Boca, home of its historic rival, it later moved to the Nuñez neighbourhood, where it stands proudly today. It’s hinchada (fan club) are referred to as “Los Borrachos del Tablón” (The Plank Drunks), alluding to the old wooden bleachers.

With 54 championships, both national and international, River is Argentine soccer team with the most titles.

Club Atlético Independiente

Independiente (“El Rojo”), founded in 1905, earned the name “King of Cups” because they are the team with most international titles won within the whole American continent. Independiente stadium is named “Estadio Libertadores de America” and is located in Avellaneda, just south of the city of Buenos Aires. Also known as “Los Diablos Rojos” or Red Devils, it was the first Argentinean team to ever win an international title. They’ve been crowned twice as World Champions, defeating Italy’s Juventus and England’s Liverpool.

Racing Club de Avellaneda

La Guardia Imperial, Racing’s fans (Photo taken from http://racingclub.argentinaforo.net)

Also located in Avellaneda, “La Academia”, was founded in 1903 and it’s the main rival of Independiente. It’s stadium, “Estadio Presidente Juan Domingo Perón”, also known as “The Cylinder of Avellaneda” (due to its shape) is located just 2 blocks away from Independiente’s. Both teams play the Avellaneda Derby, being one of the most heated games between fans in the world, facing Independiente’s “La barra del Rojo” and Racing’s “La Guardia Imperial”.

It was the first Argentine soccer team to ever became world champions, back in 1967, defeating Celtic from Scotland.

Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro

“El Ciclón” is the defending continental cup champion. Founded in 1908 in Almagro neighbourhood, it later was moved to the Bajo Flores, where the “Nuevo Gasómetro” was inaugurated in 1993. In the 1979, the original Gasometro had to be sold due to city infrastructure issues and San Lorenzo was forced to play all its games as an away team until the new stadium was built.

The hinchada is named, “La Gloriosa Butteler” and among it’s many famous fans, the most renowned is the current Pope, Pope Francisco.

Come see for yourself…whether you come to intern, volunteer, study to make sure you experience an Argentine Soccer game at least once! You won’t want to miss it.


 

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