A Clásico is a match between two rival teams in the world of football and there are plenty of them in el mundo hispano-hablante. Clásicos De Futbol is a monthly series that will delve into the rivalry of a different set of teams. This month, we take a look at the rivalry between Argentina’s Club Atlético Independiente and Racing Club de Avellaneda known as el Derbi Avellaneda or el Clásico de Avellaneda.
This past Sunday, February 24th was an exciting one for fanatics of Argentine football as Club Atletico Independiente beat their rivals Racing Club de Avellaneda in their home stadium.
The win not only kept the team alive in Argentina’s first division league, Primera A, but also gave Independiente bragging rights over their much higher-ranked neighbors at Racing in a rivalry that has existed since the first decade of the 20th century.
The rivalry begins at the beginning of the 20th century in Avellaneda, a port town in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fútbol was already popular thanks to the efforts of English immigrants who brought the game with them in the 1800s as well as the formation of the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino in 1893.
A group of students from the Colegio Nacional Central got together in May 1901 and created Football Club Barracas al Sud, the first soccer team in Argentina to be founded by criollos. While disagreements led to the formation of Colorados Unidos Del Sol featuring former members of Barracas the following year, in March 1903, the two teams reunited under the name Racing Club de Football, a name inspired by a French automobile magazine.
In the following year, a group of young, disgruntled members of local club Maipú Banfield, founded by employees of the store “A la ciudad de Londres,” had had enough. They were fed up with being members of a team that refused to play them, so, after much deliberation, they separated themselves from Banfield and went independent. Thus, Independiente Football Club was born in 1904.
The first official match between Los Diablos Rojos (Independiente) and La Academia (Racing) took place on June 9th 1907 in Argentina’s third division. It wasn’t until 1931 when both teams would face off in the first division with Racing defeating Independiente 7 – 4, which remains the clásico with the most goals scored in Argentinian football history.
Why the Rivalry?
The rivalry between Independiente and Racing is one of proximity. Both teams are located in Avellaneda. To make matters more interesting (re: chaotic), the team’s home stadiums are literally three blocks away from each other
That’s Independiente’s Estadio Libertadores de América, a.k.a. La Doble Visera, on the left and Racing’s Estadio Presidente Perón, a.k.a. El Cilindro, on the right.
It’s also not uncommon for both stadiums to fill up during a clásico. The “home” team fills up with its supporters while the “away” team sets up camp in its own team’s stadium after being rigged with giant screens on the field. Unlike other rivalries of this type, say Lakers/Clippers, Yankees/Mets, or Galaxy/ ChivasUSA, both teams have a long history of success, cup runs, etc. so much so that both teams are part of “los cinco grandes de fútbol Argentino.” Independiente and Racing are two of the country’s five most popular and successful football teams in Argentina alongside Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro, Club Atlético Boca Juniors, and Club Atlético River Plate.
Independiente is the most successful of the two clubs, not only with the most wins in the clásico, but also in Argentina in general. La Academia is also known as the Rey De Copas (King Of Cups) as it holds the most titles in various competitions worldwide. To date, the team holds seven Copa Libertadores titles, two Intercontinental Cups, three consecutive titles in the Copa Interamericana, two Supercopa titles, and more. Racing holds a number of records such as being the first team from Argentina to win the Intercontinental Cup and also the first to win the Triple Corona (Triple Crown) in 1967 having won the league title, Copa Libertadores and the Copa Intercontinental. Both teams have seen a fall from grace over the past few years as both have clawed their way back up to avoid relegation. Their popularity, however, have not faltered with their standings.
So what happens when you get two of the largest teams together in one area? Take a look at the video below to see what El Cilindro transforms into during a clásico:
Meanwhile, this what the interior of La Doble Visera looks like during a clásico: