Darío Benedetto – the man they call ‘Pipa’ who could still make it to Europe

By Andrew Misra

If you’re anything like me, you were watching the second leg of the Copa Libertadores Final on Sunday evening only recognising a handful of players.

Few on the European side of the Atlantic take more than a passing interest in South American football, largely because we’re used to seeing the best players from the continent come to ply their trade on our shores.

Fitting then, that this fixture ended up being played in Madrid as a result of the deplorable violence in Buenos Aires on Saturday 25th November, when the tie was originally scheduled for.

Reminiscent of the joy the World Cup can bring, it was refreshing to watch a match with unfamiliar protagonists.

Amongst the familiar perhaps was Continue reading “Darío Benedetto – the man they call ‘Pipa’ who could still make it to Europe”

Advent Day 10 – Juan Román Riquelme, the player who pauses

By Joe Davies

Number 10. Football’s most iconic shirt number has been synonymous with teams’ creative attackers all over the world. Brazil have had Pelé, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo. Italy had Roberto Baggio, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero. Even England have had Geoff Hurst, Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney. However, nowhere is the number more crucial to a team’s identity than in Argentina. Arguably the two greatest players to have ever played the game, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, have donned the number for La Albiceleste, but few have embodied the essence of the shirt and its implied role more than Juan Román Riquelme.

Continue reading “Advent Day 10 – Juan Román Riquelme, the player who pauses”

Buenos Aires: Mes qúe Boca y River

By Andrew Misra

A month of delirium rolls on in Argentina after the 2-2 draw in the first leg of Boca Juniors v River Plate in the Copa Libertadores Final. Unsurprisingly, all eyes in South America and beyond have been fixated on the biggest clash in the history of arguably the most intense footballing rivalry – the Superclásico. Bookies were quoting 1/250 for more than two yellow cards in the first leg. Off the pitch, these fixtures dodged security issues and the G20 Summit. While not expected to dazzle on the pitch, the first ninety minutes weren’t a damp squib in the end, despite rain postponing the match by a day. Boca can still win the trophy with a lap of honour in River’s El Monumental stadium on 24th November. It would be easy to focus on these two great superpowers from Buenos Aires (pronounced “Bwenos I-res”) who play out the battle of the continent. But to ignore the pedigree elsewhere in the capital would be to do an injustice to the city of “fair wind”. Greater Buenos Aires is home to 14 million people or one-third of the country’s population, and no fewer than 24 professional football teams. This includes the ‘Big Five’ teams in the country. This remarkable city has a profound influence on South American football.

Continue reading “Buenos Aires: Mes qúe Boca y River”