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Your Guide to Clásicos De Fútbol: Club Bolívar vs. Club The Strongest

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 delves into the rivalry of a different set of teams. This month, we head to Bolivia to take a look at the rivalry between Club Bolívar (La Academia del Fútbol Boliviano) and Club The Strongest (Tigre de Achumani).

THE HISTORY

Like many other teams featured in this column, the origins of both teams began rather humbly. Club The Strongest was born from the frustration of seeing various teams pop up in La Paz beginning in 1899 only to dissolve years later – most notably Bolivian Rangers FC and their rivals The Thunders FC. A group of kids from La Paz convened on April 8, 1908 to form their own football club, which (they hoped) would be the strongest of all teams in La Paz and actually survive for more than two weeks (spoiler alert: they did).

Club Bolivar’s humble beginnings date back to April 12th, 1925 when, again, a group of kids in La Paz decided to take their hobby more seriously by forming a football club that also reflected their other ambitions and interests. Thus Atlético Bolívar Literario Musical was born. They eventually realized how hella nerdy that name sounded and changed it to Club Atlético Bolívar.

THE RIVALRY

Like all great rivalries, this one stems from two teams in the same city who continually try to outdo each other.

Let’s begin with Club The Strongest. The team is the oldest team in Bolivia’s history and has never been relegated to second division in its 105-year existence. The team, thanks to its age but also thanks to its being pretty badass, has an extensive list of “firsts” – including first to win the championship in the Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano, first to win a match abroad, first multiple champion and is the only hexacampeon in the league (six consecutive league title wins).

Their rivals in Club Bolívar have their set of records and trophies as well, because any team that names itself after the Great Liberator better step up. The team is the most successful in the league with 26 appearances in the league final with 18 titles, is one of three Bolivian teams to reach the semifinals of Copa Libertadores and has nearly 30 appearances in said tournament.

The atmosphere at games isn’t as, uhm, deadly as in other rivalry matches but it does get pretty heated. I’m going to have to borrow the “sin llorar” chant from the video below: