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 take a look at the rivalry between two of Mexican soccer’s most famous institutions: Club Deportivo Guadalajara and Club de Fútbol América.
This Sunday marks another installment of El Súper Clásico a.k.a. Clásico del fútbol mexicano a.k.a. el Clásico de Clásicos, which features the popular Liga MX rivalry between Club Deportivo Guadalajara (las Chivas, el Rebaño Sagrado) and Club de Fútbol América (las Águilas, los Azulcremas). It will air on Telemundo (info here), but first a little background on this rivalry.
Our Mexican readers already know all about this so just skip to the very bottom and tell us your favorite Clásico-related moments in the comments. Everyone else, prepare to get educated!
The story begins on Sept. 15th, 1904 when Edgar Everaert began a friendship with Calixto Gas over their mutual love of football. Together, they formed Unión Football Club in 1906 and renamed it C.D. Guadalajara two years later.
Years later, on Oct. 12th, 1916, a group of students from Colegio Mascarones and La Perpetua met at La Condesa in Mexico City to discuss the name of their new team composed of the best soccer players from both schools. Pedro “El Cheto” Quintanilla suggested the name América as the date coincided with that of Columbus’ arrival in the New World.
Both teams are founding members of Liga MX, which was created when the amateur leagues Primera Fuerza (home to América), Liga Occidental De Jalisco (home to las Chivas), and Liga Amateur De Veracruz united in the early 1940s to form the country’s first division league.
Chivas and Águilas met a few times during those early years but the spark that lit the fires of the rivalry didn’t go off until November 12th, 1959 in Mexico City. América fought three teams from Guadalajara prior to that match (Oro, Atlas, and Chivas) and defeated all three with a score of 2 – 0. América’s head coach Fernando Marcos would then utter a few famous words after the match against Guadalajara that birthed the rivalry: “América no viene a Guadalajara a ganar, eso es rutina. Nosotros venimos para cambiarle el número de su teléfono de larga distancia. Así es que ya lo saben mis amigos: cada que quieran llamar a Guadalajara marquen dos cero, dos cero, dos cero o el 20-20-20. Cortesía del América.” [ Translation: América didn’t come to Guadalajara to win. That’s expected. We came to change its long distance phone number. My friends, I’m sure you already know it: anyone who wishes to call Guadalajara should dial two zero, two zero, two zero or 20-20-20. Courtesy of América.]
Needless to say, that irked more than a handful of Tapatios, and Chivas – led by then-coach Árpád Fekete – got their revenge on that fateful day in November with a 2 – 0 win over the Águilas.
The rivalry is on a similar level as Spain’s Clásico between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid (minus all the political history) for a number of reasons. For starters, it pits two of the oldest teams in the league against each other who, as mentioned above, were present during the founding of Liga MX. Second is geography. Las Aguilas represent Mexico City, the country’s capital and most important political, cultural, educational, and financial center, thanks to areas such as the Plaza de la Constitución, Tlatelolco, and Xochimilco. On the other hand, las Chivas represent Guadalajara, the country’s second largest city and 2005’s American Capital of Culture thanks to its share of historic sites and cultural importance (you can’t spell Mexico without mariachi and tortas ahogadas).
Like their Spanish counterparts, both teams are also the most successful clubs in league history with numerous awards between them. Both also have been and continue to be home to some of the country’s most skilled players. Manchester United and Mexican national team striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, easily Mexico’s most popular player today, began his career with his hometown squad of Guadalajara. Marco Fabian, whose two assists in last year’s Olympic final led to Mexico’s first gold medal win in soccer, currently plays for Guadalajara. Not to be outdone, Las Aguilas has been home to stars such as Cuahtémoc Blanco, Pável Pardo, Enrique Borja, and current national team goalie Guillermo “El Memo” Ochoa, to name a few.
Finally, what’s a rivalry without a bit of pride involved? For many years, the rivalry was described as fought between the team with the best homegrown players (Chivas) and the team with the best foreign talent (América). Guadalajara prides itself on being the only club in the country that signs only players of Mexican descent. Meanwhile, América regularly seeks out the best foreign players to round out its squad. The rivalry had two explosive moments in the 1980s where both teams took a page from the National Hockey League and went at it with punches and kicks. Even the trainers and physical therapists got a few chingasos in!
EL SÚPER CLÁSICO’S PLACE IN SOCIETY
El Súper Clásico holds a special place in Mexican society considering its stature and popularity. It’s the type of rivalry that creates and ends friendships and marriages. The rivalry even served as the centerpoint of a telenovela plot! In the episode “Un Mundo Mejor” (“A Better World“) on telenovela series La Rosa De Guadalupe, Marcos Martínez falls in love with his neighbor Ruth González. Unfortunately, their families are polar opposites and Marcos’ family are ardent Chivistas while Ruth’s family are hardcore Américanistas. The story then takes a Romeo and Juliet-esque turn (minus the poisoning!) and they attempt to reconcile their two families in order to let their love bloom. But wait! There’s more! There have been a few instances of young fans celebrating their quinceañera in style:
Not to be outdone is this girl’s very Chivas quince: