Tag Archives: Boca Juniors

What next for Ronaldinho?

Living legend Ronaldinho and Atlético Mineiro have parted company this week after agreeing to terminate the Brazilian playmaker’s contract with immediate effect.

A decade ago, Ronaldinho was one of the most talked about players on the planet, in the same way the football-loving public rave about Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronnie won the Libertadores Cup with Alético Mineiro – the first time he or the club lifted the continent’s most biggest club prize.

The Brazilian international wowed audiences for his magical displays for PSG, Barcelona and Milan, the three clubs he turned out for when widely considered to be at his peak. Ronaldinho done things with the ball most of us could only dream of.

His agent, who is also his brother, Roberto de Assis has stated that the former Ballon d’Or winner wishes to play until he is 42 (similar to compatriot and fellow genius Rivaldo) and that his new club will be revealed this week. 

It was suggested that Ronnie would be the ideal replacement for Juan Roman Riquelme, who left Boca Juniors for city rivals Argentinos Juniors. Though there is much speculation that some MLS teams are also interested with all eyes on New York City FC for any potential news.

Either way, Ronaldinho may be 34, but the man is a sheer genius. Yes, his partying lifestyle may have led to the decline of his brilliance, but he can still do things with a ball that you and I dream of. Lucky will be the club that lands ‘Dinho’s signature. 


Follow Rob Smith on Twitter (@robsmithireland)

Footy travels #11: Buenos Aires

The blog is bringing you a travel guide from outside of Europe for the first time, and where better than one of South America’s most beautiful and cultural places. A real mecca for the beautiful game and home to some of the most passionate and extreme fans – this is a guide to the wonderful Buenos Aires.

fotos- de- buenos- aires (6)

How do I get in? This is quite a trek, but the easiest way from Dublin is by using British Airways, who fly to Ezeiza Airport, one of the city’s two major airports located around 25 kilometres outside the city itself. It’s not the cheapest of journeys at around the €1, 500 mark, but it’s just one quick stopover in London. You can search the web for a cheaper alternative, but this usually means changing planes twice or even three times and travel time is usually doubled. Ezeiza Airport is well connected by bus and taxis usually have a prepaid fare into town.

What teams can I watch? Unsurprisingly there is no shortage here, dear readers. The big two is naturally Boca Juniors and River Plate. When the two meet, it is (as previously blogged) one of the most tense fixtures in world football. Aside from them, there is  HuracánVélez SarsfieldArgentinos JuniorsFerro Carril Oeste, as well as the Pope‘s beloved San Lorenzo lads.

How do I get to the stadiums? BA is an enormous city with 12 million inhabitants, so getting around can take some time, yet public transport is very good. The cheapest and most effective ways of moving around is by using the bus or the underground railway system called the tren subterráneo – or Subte for short. Walking is a nice way of seeing the city, but again the city is massive. Avoid taxis, as they traffic here can be chaotic.
Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera is located in La Boca. A famous barrio in the city. Bus nos 10, 29, 53 or 64 will take you here.
Rivals River Plate play in the national stadium, the Monumental which was also the setting for the 1978 World Cup Final. Again, buses from the centre of town is easiest, with nos 12, 29, 42, 107 or 130 bringing you within minutes of the ground.

Boca Juniors v River Plate  Ð Argentine Championship - Clausura

How do I get tickets? Regardless of the game, be cautious. There’ll be plenty of very good photocopied versions of tickets for sale outside some of these grounds. That said,  you shouldn’t obtain any trouble getting tickets from any of these clubs – except Boca Juniors that is. Tickets are not sold at the gate for any Boca fixture on matchday and it is well advisable to get a ticket package in advance from a tour group like this one. It’s more expensive – but at least it’s a guarantee.

What else is there to do? Do you like steak? Beer? Tango? Of course you do. And you’re in the capital for all three to all go together. Buenos Aires is an extremely cultural city, filled with museums, theatres, parks, pubs…you name it. It has a slight European feel to it, but is undoubtedly Argentine. The city boasts some of South America’s best nightlife, so you won’t find yourself at a loose end after the final whistle in Buenos Aires. Or even before kick off for that matter.

Follow Rob Smith on Twitter (@robsmithireland


The joy of six: More You Tube classics

Six more footie-related classics spotted recently via the World wide web. Everything from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s man-crush to the the Russian striker that wants to take every one of his fans on.

1.  George Best in the MLS. This goal wasn’t exactly played in a World Cup final. But it sure was a lot better than the vast majority of Pelé’s 1281 goals. I don’t know when we’ll see Keano do this stateside.
[jwplayer mediaid=”1850″]

2. Ibra loves Ronaldo. The not-so-modest Zlatan Ibrahimovic can’t resist but to be star-struck when he faces his hero Ronaldo during the Milan derby. And I thought Ibra only gets star-struck when he looks in the mirror.
[jwplayer mediaid=”1851″]

3. The boy’s a bit loco. You think Cantona’s kung-fu kick was nuts? Bah…that had nothing compared to when FC Shinnik forward Aleksandr Shirko decided to take on his own fans. As you do.
[jwplayer mediaid=”1852″]

4. Fans never forget. Four years after Luis Figo thought he was in the clear from Barça fans after moving to Real Madrid, renowned Catalan Jimmy Jump (and friend of Football El Mundo) reminded the Portugese winger on live TV that he isn’t welcome back at Camp Nou any time soon.
[jwplayer mediaid=”1862″]

5. White Hart Pain. Giving new meaning to the term “ballboy”.
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6. The team of God. Boca Juniors’ La Bombonera atmosphere is insane. Even more so when Diego Maradona is around – as Gary Lineker found out during his 2006 BBC documentary on the Argentine genius.
[jwplayer mediaid=”1859″]

Spot anything good on the web recently? Let me know here or hit me up on Twitter (@robsmithireland).

Boca 'til I die….and after then also!

In this day and age, most (if not all) major and minor clubs around the world flog merchandise such as replica jerseys, tracksuits, posters, eveningwear, underwear and dog-collars to generate revenue. It was only a matter of time before Argentine giants Boca Juniors catered for their departed fans.

For the equivalent of €165, one can have a tailor made coffin with the club’s yellow and blue colours and a silk interior. Fans can even have the club’s crest engraved on the coffin’s lid. Boca have notorious passionate fans (including a certain Diego Maradona), so it’s no surprise to learn that the club have had quite a number of sales from their grim, although quite clever, money-making idea.

A River Plate fan's idea of eternal hell...literally.

German side Hamburg took note of the club’s idea. They became the first European club to have a cemetry for it’s fans. They are buried like military heroes with coffins draped and painted in the team colors. There is also the option of having their ashes buried in a club urn.

Say what you like about loyalty in the game – this takes the whole “…’til I die” motto to a new level.

Football's greatest rivalries: Boca Juniors v River Plate

Hello one and all and welcome to a new feature to the blog which, as the title will tell you, will focus on the greatest rivalries in world football. Today we’ll have a look at Argentina’s big one – Boca Juniors vs. River Plate.

The game, known locally as ‘el superclásico’, was described by Diego Maradona as “unequalled”. This is quite the statement coming from a man who played for some great clubs with huge rivalries in their respective leagues. He has a strong argument however as on matchday in either clubs’ stadia, all that can be seen amongst the hugely passionate supporters is a sea of flags, chants, fireworks, tickertape, dancing and jumping – so much jumping that in fact it has been known to occasionally make the stands of Boca’s steep-sided La Bonbonera stadium dangerously vibrate.

The Boca fans refer to their River counterparts as los gallinas (the chickens) which questions the courage of both players and fans. River fans in retaliation get a bit more personal and refer to their rivals as los chanchitos (the little pigs) due to the working-class neighbourhood Boca Juniors is situated in. Despite occasional fan violence and the tragedy of the puerta 12 incident (in 1968, 71 fans were crushed to death due to overcrowding and stampeding at this fixture at River’s el Monumental stadium), many fans and experts will still point to Buenos Aires when asked what is the greatest footballing rivalry or derby. And they would certainly have a point when you see the video below.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/dzbzZNzV5oo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
One thing is for sure – before I die, I must attend at least one superclásico.

The Return of Riquelme

Riquelme has an eye for creating brilliance

Argentine midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme will make his long awaited return from injury this weekend as his side Boca Juniors take on Argentinos Juniors in the intimidating La Bonbonera stadium in the colourful La Boca neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. No doubt one Diego Maradona will keep his eye on this fixture as he famously played for both sides in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Riquelme’s return is absolutely good news for Boca coach Claudio Borghi, as the 32-year old is easily one of the most influential playmakers in the Argentine Primera División – possibly of all time. West Ham United fans must have thought they were dreaming when Riquelme was linked with a move to the East London club. It would have been an addition that could have been the envy of every other club in the Premier League.

Riquelme had previously spent five years playing in Spain’s La Liga. One luckless year at Catalan giants Barcelona, and four years at Villareal. His love for Boca Juniors ensured his return in 2007. The former Argentine international has all the leadership, flair, creativity and skills that could put him in the same barrel as Steven Gerrard, yet is rarely praised as such in Europe. Trust me, if you find yourself with the facilities to be able to watch Boca tomorrow night, prepare to watch brilliance  – a little taster of which I give you here with a suitably smooth soundtrack.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/3s8qNWrLirA" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

It’s clearly that fancy footwork and ‘spatial awareness’ that wooed Yesica Toscanini !!!