Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the birthplace of soccer legends Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona. They are like saints throughout the city. Their images are everywhere, from office buildings to restaurants, akin to frescos adorning Italian churches.
Boca Juniors is Argentina's most decorated club team, with 74 titles. Locals wait for years to purchase season tickets for a home game. If you want to attend a game, there is just one option: overpaying significantly. A resale ticket costs approximately $160 per seat, but be aware of the section you enter. Sometimes there are stands and no chairs, meaning one can easily be wedged between the stadium's back wall, the upper-level overhang, and a raucous crowd tightly gripping a single railing. Visibility can be virtually non-existent, relying on the occasional movement of heads to catch a glimpse of the game.
Be aware of the colours.
Attending a soccer match in Buenos Aires comes with cautionary tales of passionate fan behaviour, including the risk of being struck in the face. Foreigners are advised not to wear the wrong shirts, display sinful colours, or enter the bad venues of the stadium. Singing is another must-do, which can be challenging if you don't speak Spanish.
From the city centre to the iconic Bombanera stadium, a colossal concrete structure painted in Boca's iconic blue and gold is a lengthy journey. During evening games, the darkened streets resemble a blend of a zombie apocalypse and a sporting goods store. Every corner is loaded with people indulging in drinks, screaming lyrics, and selling Boca paraphernalia. Hats, caps, shirts, shorts, pennants, balloons, and banners adorned makeshift stalls.
Our advice: better hire a local guide who leads you through the hustle and translates warnings about avoiding the away fans seeking trouble. Safety first, second and third ... Before the recent 2023 Copa Libertadores match between Boca and the Chilean Colo Colo, the Chilean fans got angry because they couldn't get tickets. And they weren't going to pay 160 dollars. So they set things on fire, which was dangerous and caused several heavy fights on the street. As a foreigner, you better avoid these urban battlefields.
For safety purposes, there is a heavy police presence around the stadium. As you approach, you will encounter police officers blocking the sidewalks. You will be required to present your tickets and identification before being allowed to proceed. Another set of officers or security guards will conduct the same checks every few yards. You will be checked no less than five times before reaching the stadium. Security measures are also in place at the stadium itself.
Go with the flow and forget anything else
Once in, you might discover that your supposed seats are non-existent, as you have been warned. In exchange for this loss, you get an experience you will never forget if you survive. The loud chorus of singing, screaming, and tobacco-smoking fans can make it nearly impossible to see the game. A sea of bodies jumps and dances, heated heads screaming at the top of their lungs.
Whenever Boca approaches the opponent's goal, the crowd erupts into an incomprehensible chant, enveloping the stadium with a loud, joyous, and passionate atmosphere. It's rather raw and exciting. You literally feel Bombonera shaking on its foundations, which is scary at moments. Despite the challenges, it's a beautiful experience, and the songs are deafening, joyous, and passionate! Just go with the flow and forget about anything else.
Emotions run deep in Argentina's soccer
After a win, everyone is pleased in Buenos Aires. The people, true to their name meaning "fair winds", celebrate a successful match without any untoward incidents. But it's not always that way. Even World Cup can end up in chaos.
Emotions run deep. Attending a soccer match in Argentina is an exhilarating experience. The rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate, known as the Superclásico, is particularly intense and globally recognized. These highly anticipated electric matches captivate the nation, bringing it almost to a standstill.
Argentina's culture is firmly rooted in soccer.
Argentina's culture is deeply intertwined with soccer. Children grow up immersed in the sport, playing it in the streets and participating in organized leagues. It is common for parents to foster their children's dreams of becoming professional soccer players. For most of them, it's a way out of the economic setback people, and the country have been facing for decades now.
When money is brought up, it's not all peace and harmony. Soccer has a long history of corruption and scandal, and the national team has faced numerous disputes. Despite these challenges, Argentina's unwavering passion and love for the game persist. Soccer is more than just a sport in Argentina—it is a way of life, a matter of identity.
The ultras are going wild for the entrada. Smoke pots add extra colour to the wavering activities of hardcore fans. Young and old are yelling their hearts out. Fanaticism lasts over 90 minutes, for pride and honour are at stake.
Soccer in Argentina is not of a high level; during the Clásico's, it is even worse. Clubs mainly do everything not to lose. However, the hope toward that one goal keeps you on the edge of your seat. That optimism serves as a source of national pride and identity. Whether in the bustling streets of Buenos Aires or the tranquil villages across the country, the game ignites a profound love and passion.
Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves.