Madness and magic from Maradona’s motherland
It's the last game of the season and Argie Bargy drags itself down to La Republica de Boca.
It was all in the name of spreading the word about football. Yep, there are actually people who have not been to a football game and three were with me on this occasion. What do you do when a visitor comes to Buenos Aires? Show them Evita's mausoleum and go to a football game.
La Boca on a freezing night against Tigre (11th in the league) may not seem like an alluring game, but this is Argentina and you never know what will happen.
Eight goals later and we - including three footie virgins - were bouncing up and down with the fans on the most exciting terrace in the world – on Boca Juniors' mighty Bombonera stadium.
La Bombonera in full-on party mode
Let's be honest, the quality of Argentine football here in Argentina is not great. We have the opportunity to see players on their way up or on their way down. Although Boca's team sheet did include Riqueleme, Palacio and Palermo.
Only slightly exaggerating, Palermo hasn't not scored in a game all season. Riqueleme still plays for the national side. And it was Palacio's last game for Boca after an $18m investment from Lazio.
But Boca put six past Tigre who managed just two in replay. We had sending offs, yellow cards, pitch invasions and the club's twelth man - the barra brava - were in full swing.
This is still a stunning experience, one of the most exciting in the football world I would argue, and there was nothing to play for. But Boca played and actually looked like they were enjoying it. The stadium was packed. And I remembered why I liked football again. After a pretty ugly season marred by violence, Argentine football was again doing what it does best... entertain.
River had won the Clausura a week earlier, while Independiente - known as the King of Cups - qualified for the Copa Libertadores after years away. The story now is Racing. One of the most supported Argentine football teams, Racing are playing in the Promoción – a playoff which, if they lose, will see them descend into the 'B' for the second time in their history.
But as the final whistle blew in the Bombonera, my three friends had seen just why Argentine football is so exciting. It doesn't have the smooth play and multimillion pound players, but it has the fans with their whistles, chants, flares and fireworks. It has players who often play for the team they are passionate for. It has a 'nothing to lose' attitude. It is a thrilling visceral experience.
Reading FC it ain't.
Latest South American Football News
Santos decide to let Neymar leave
Brazilian championship results and standings
Favourites Mineiro fight back for Tijuana draw
Lamela earns Argentina call as Messi backup
Riquelme stunner sends Corinthians crashing
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010