Boca Mi Vida, Boca Mi Pasion
... this is from one of the many songs the Boca fans sing during the games. When you are in Buenos Aires with an only slight interest in football, visiting La Boca and the Boca Juniors is a must. Watching one of their games is the highlight of such a visit. We managed to do all of it and can highly recommend this experience.
La Boca is one of the working class barrios (districts) of Buenos Aires. A lot of the early settlers came from the Italian city of Genoa. That’s also why the fans of Boca Juniors are officially called “Los Xeneizes” which means “The Geonese”. It is located at the city’s old port and really famous for its brightly painted houses as well as its football team “Club Atletico Boca Juniors”.
The Boca Juniors are one of the most widely known teams in the world. It is being said that the term “Jugador No 12” (the 12th player) was created in Boca. The fans go really crazy and every team that has to play in their stadium, will experience this first hand. In every game they put the banners up, as shown below from the game we saw, to remind everybody. Not that it is needed ... ;-)
They have a great museum beneath the stands. You can learn all about the club’s history, find all names of all player that have ever played for Boca (including Maradona) written on the little yellow stars as well as their pictures. You also have the option of going on a tour. It will take you inside the stadium, gives a brief history lesson and tells you some interesting stories. For example, that the dressing room of the visiting club is directly located under the boca fan stand. They make so much noise above them that most of them are pretty impressed (if not scared) even before coming out to the playing field.
The Boca Juniors was home to Diego Maradona who is still omnipresent.
Boca itself is a very colorful place and a must when you are in Buenos Aires.
Kids playing football during the day.
Who is this?
They say “Jugador No 12” (the 12th player) was created in Boca.
A wall in the museum with all the names of the players.
Pictures of all the famous players.
That's the souvenir shop next to the stadium.
If you are in Buenos Aires makes sure to visit one game of the Boca Juniors.
9 - 9
Biggest challenge if you want to go to a match is to get hold of a ticket, especially if you are a tourist. The so called “socios” (members) of the club have the priority for getting tickets. Problem is that there are 60.000 socios for a stadium that only has a capacity of 44.000. So what to do ... Luckily there are organizations specialized in this, taking care of us tourists.
The company picks you up from meeting points across the city and drives you La Boca. Close to the stadium they drop you together with a guide who stays with you all the time. Before entering the stadium you get a beer and a “choripan” (grilled sausage with bread) which is included in the price. Despite the fact that there is an alcohol ban around the stadium for 20 blocks before and after the game. For one night, we have become socios: Michael was called Juan and Karin was called Augustin. We did not just get a ticket, we were using their membership cards including name and photo to get into the stadium.
The game we saw was Boca playing Toluca from Mexico as part of the Copa Libertadores ... Boca unfortunately lost 1:2. Despite this, the fans were just amazing. Not comparable to most stadiums and experiences in Europe. This is not something you can explain easily in words, you just have to go there and see and feel for yourself.