• 09/12/2023

Introduction To Argentina Soccer

Introduction To Argentina Soccer

Ok, you know all about the passion for soccer in Brazil from Ronaldinho’s promo ads, but what about Argentina soccer? Why is it that a country that suffers and lives for soccer equally as the Brazilians don’t get their fair share of spotlight time?

Admittedly, one of the reasons is its smaller trophy room in comparison to Brazil’s (2 titles in 4 finals for Argentina, 5 titles in 7 finals for Brazil) but still…In order to do it justice, I decided to accustom you to football in Argentina.

Argentina soccer was organized in amateur or semi-professional local championships at the dawn of the 20th century and despite the fact that Argentina’s national soccer team played its first match in 1901, don’t think it was the same type of national team you would have today. Most of the players, spotted in the semi-professional championships formed up that 1930 World Cup finalist team, after which most of them returned to mediocrity.

In 1931, the first professional country-wide championship was instituted, although not all teams were affiliated to the national association. For example, only teams from Buenos Aires, Avellaneda and La Plata formed the championship structure in the first years, with teams from Santa Fe or Rosario joining later on.

This early championship called the Metropolitano did not allow other provincial teams to join and due to increasing demand, the Argentina soccer association finally created a fully nation-wide competition in 1967, called the Nacional.

For several years, the Nacional and Metropolitano championships were played separately. The Nacional was a 1-group championship, of which the six best teams would be eligible to take part in the Metropolitano next year. It would be until 1985 that Argentina soccer would hold this structure, after which the Nacional became the main championship.

In Argentina, football holds two “seasons” as of 1991, named the Clausura and Apertura (the closing and the opening), and played as two distinct single-round championships. Each year, relegation is calculated based on a three-year average and the 2 teams with the lowest average are relegated, with 2 teams with the highest three-year average from the lower division are promoted.

I have to admit, this system they adopted for football in Argentina was a bit weird at first and needed some getting used to. But I can also see the advantages of such a system.

There are 5 teams that have dominated Argentina soccer ever since the Metropolitano championship was created: River Plate, Independiente, Boca Juniors, San Lorenzo and Racing Club are fighting for the title of Champions each year, for the past 50 years or so.

Unfortunately, it’s a case of “rich get richer” and smaller teams have less and less of a chance to be crowned as Argentina soccer champions, with these 5 (especially the first 3) dominating and monopolizing the competitions.

It’s these 5 clubs that launched many of the greatest Argentina soccer players on the world stage, although most of them transferred to powerful European clubs after only a few years at their home clubs. A few noteworthy examples include Alfredo Di Stefano (River Plate), Diego Maradona (Boca Juniors), Juan Roman Riquelme (Boca Juniors), Daniel Passarela (River Plate), Esteban Cambiasso (Independiente) or Guillermo Franco (San Lorenzo).