If you ask any football fan which stadium they want to visit in order to watch a game, they probably respond ‘La Bombonera’. Boca Juniors’ home is part of our football collective imaginary as The Venue for football. Colours, thunderous fans, flags, pyro and passion. Real passion. This is what you will find at the Estadio Alberto J. Armando, also known as ‘The Chocolate Box’.
Here we are, heading to the Barrio de La Boca. Dropping off the bus, we can see the famous Caminito, the most folkloric street in Buenos Aires. This Is the place where you can take some photos with local heroes from past and present, such as Pope Francis, Diego Armando Maradona and Lionel Messi. You can try some steak, choripanes and asados in the restaurants around these streets. The structures of the houses are still authentic, remembering those humble homes where people used to live at the beginning of the 20th century. Port workers, immigrants, craftsmen, commercials and students made the history of La Boca. Especially from Genoa, the Italian city that is representative in La Boca and giving a unique nickname to the club. This is why they are called ‘xeneizes’, it’s ‘Genoavians’ in Genoa’s dialect. A proper pure historical content for Club Atlético Boca Juniors.
And this takes us back to the origin of Boca’s colours, the famous gold and blue kit. This is one of the most famous frames of world football history, the legend says that the club’s board were in the port and decided to get the colours of the flag from the first boat coming to Buenos Aires. This is the reason why Boca wears the colours of Sweden. At this stage, you probably know some of the most notorious stories behind this magical team, supported by the ‘half plus one’ of the Argentinian population. Because this is the idiosyncrasy of Boca, they rule the country in terms of support, being ‘La 12’ the most famous supporters in the world, and one of the most feared too.
La Bombonera, the temple. Almost every football fan in the world has dreamed to visit La Bombonera and take part in that craziness and passion for football. I’ve been there, with La 12, by myself. And believe me, it is like an earthquake. You think that the floor is going to fell down, but the crowd pushes you to your correct place. There is a kind of magic in it, you sing and jump during the whole game. You see the people, how they live a game. There you can realize that football is not just a game. I would like to place someone who declares that football is just 22 people behind a ball in La Bombonera. You have a look on that weird tribune on the lateral, just breaking with the uniform structure of the stadium, that kind of blocks. Well, this is where the VIP’s watch the game. Yes, Diego Armando Maradona personal box is there.
By just naming some of the most important players in the recent history of the club you can understand what kind of institution we are talking about. God, Gabriel Batistuta, Martín Palermo, Carlos Bianchi, Schelotto, Carlos Tévez, Fernando Gago and Claudio Caniggia are some of the legends who had worn the gold and blue jersey. And yes, we are missing Juan Román Riquelme because he deserves an own chapter. My friend ‘Flaco’ Amarelo affirms that “Román is the biggest star in Boca’s history, there is no one bigger than him, but doesn’t exist anyone bigger than Boca”. Furthermore, six titles of Copa Libertadores and four times World Champions draw the starts on Boca’s crest, surrounding the golden initials CABJ.