Attention all football fans.
Well; and non-football fans. Indeed, everyone!
Here is a tale so incredible I would not believe it myself if I hadn’t just witnessed the reality of the build-up.
Tomorrow (Sunday 9th December) we may go and watch the South American version of the European Champions League football cup final. The Copa Libertadores de América (Liberators Cup). We are not jumping on an aeroplane having just won the lottery.
No: The game will be played just down the road – from Dani’s school actually – in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium in Madrid. We were there walking around outside of the stadium today and the South American fans were already in evidence.
For the first time in the cup’s history the two biggest teams in Argentina (both in Buenos Aires in fact) Boca Juniors and River made the final. The final is played over two legs, one game at the stadium of each finalist. A few weeks ago, I watched the first game played at Boca Juniors stadium La Bonbonera. It was live on Spanish TV and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. Being effectively a local derby between teams whose fans quite literally hate each other there were no “away” fans allowed. The same was to be true in the return game a week later. However, the River fans had other ideas. With no Boca fans to attack the River hooligans decided to launch a full-scale assault on the Boca team bus. Several players were injured. Enough to cancel the game. A few weeks later, unable to rearrange the match, it has been moved to Madrid.
This is the South American football club cup final! Why couldn’t they find a suitable location in that continent you may wonder? Well; anywhere in Argentina would attract both sets of fans – and other club’s hooligans no doubt. Brazil? You must be joking. The Brazilian’s and Argentinians hate each other when it comes to football. There would surely be serious trouble. And so Real Madrid’s stadium was chosen to host the final. With the first leg ending in a draw this is now in a fact a one-off final.
Who thought that was a good idea? Who thinks the weekend will pass without some violence? Myself and Dani’s mum have both been to football matches in the stadiums of Boca and River. We know how volatile it is.
Admittedly, most of the hooligans from both clubs will not be able to afford the trip to Spain for this football match. But there will several thousand supporters for sure. An estimated six thousand have flown in in the past two days. Come to think about it, who would deal with any violence on board the aeroplanes? Maybe they are travelling on separate aircraft? Crazy.
Like all South American countries Argentina is well represented in Spain. There are estimated to be more than72 thousand Argentinians living in Spain. You can bet the real number is higher. They are expecting 50 thousand fans in total at the game. Another figure worth a mention is the four thousand police that will be on duty in and around the stadium tomorrow.
Will we go? Will there be trouble? Update tomorrow….