by @GroundHopperBarcelona

Have you ever thought about how close your friends are from you? Then, have you ever imagined how close your rivals are? Well, this is what happens in Avellaneda, a quarter from Buenos Aires worldwide famous because of its football teams.

Yes, two of the biggest clubs in America share the neighborhood and local passion. Club Atlético Independiente and Racing Club. Red against the blue. Red devils against the Academy. Libertadores de América Stadium and El Cilindro stadium are separated for just 500 meters each other.  Think about these clan clashes in New York from the ’30 and then locate it in Argentine football. This is the Clásico de Avellaneda.

Avellaneda is a very popular neighborhood, out of Buenos Aires city centre and easy to get from 9 de Julio Avenue. Obviously, Avellaneda is better well known in the world for its two most important football clubs and both stadia. As we mentioned before, Independiente plays as local at the Estadio Libertadores de América.

The home of Racing Club is El Cilindro but Estadio Presidente Perón is its real name.  Independiente has won 7 times the Copa Libertadores, being the team most successful in this competition. Meanwhile, Racing was the first Argentinian team to become World Champions after winning the Libertadores in 1967, for that reason is called El Primer Grande (The First Big Team)

INDEPENDIENTE: Fran is an Independiente fan from Buenos Aires. Despite he doesn’t live in Avellaneda, he attends every single game and has an active role in the club, meeting other fans for ‘’asados’’ on Thursdays and playing football on the little pitches next to the stadium.

“My whole life goes around Independiente, even my girlfriend is a Rojo fan. Everything is red, my ‘mate’, underwear, caps and the car. My mum didn’t let me paint my room in red, she said that is not a relaxing colour for a bedroom. She is alright I think (laughs). I went to Brazil for the Recopa Sudamericana against Gremio, was an amazing experience despite losing the game. It was my first international trip with Independiente, those days for the away game were my vacations. The world knows that in Avellaneda there is only one team, and that team wears RED. We are the ‘Rey de Copas’  (Cup’s King, because Independiente has won Copa Libertadores seven times) in Argentina, South America and specially Avellaneda. I hope to see Kun Agüero back in the Libertadores de América, his home.”

RACING: Martín is a huge Racing fan. He smiles every time when he is thinking about Racing, so almost the whole day. I met this guy from Mar del Plata in Barcelona, wearing a La Guardia Imperial shirt, more or less like his ID to show where he comes from.

“My whole family supports Racing. It’s something incredible. We were the first World Champions when we beat Celtic in 1967. This is the reason why Argentina wears blue and white stripes, because of Racing’s international success, which we are so proud of.

Our stadium was built by German architects after WWII and totally covered. It’s completely full of important games and finals. You can’t imagine how that is. One of the best things is to be next to our rival’s home, we march proud and loud, singing songs against Independiente before the game, it’s electric. When Independiente had to build its new stadium, they played at El Cilindro as local but never couldn’t fill it, just only Racing fills El Cilindro.”