Monumental Rivalry

“Summer is a hellish time to be in Buenos Aires. First, because the temperatures are enough to wilt even the strongest constitution – I type this whilst sitting in the living room in my pants, with the air conditioning on, and thanks to the 40 degrees Celsius outside, I’m still sweating. But for the football fan, there’s a more prosaic reason: from mid-December until early February, the Argentine league shuts down, and with clubs relocating to coastal resorts or holiday towns far from the capital to undergo ‘pre-season’ (I use inverted commas because technically, we’re actually halfway through the season), there’s no competitive football to enjoy. Still, this is Argentina. And so it is that, amongst the phalanx of meaningless kickabouts involving the likes of Argentinos Juniors against a Uruguayan second division side playing two halves of 35 minutes each way in front of a crowd of ten people, we also have some equally meaningless – but far more famous – fixtures. Saturday night will bring the first of three (three!) pre-season friendlies between River Plate and Boca Juniors.” In Bed With Maradona

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