When better to return from long overdue Boludo duties than this weekend of clasico action. Of course, there is Saturday lunchtime’s Liverpool derby which acts as a prelude to the Avellaneda Clasico – indesputably the biggest game in Argentina following the descenso of River – and on Sunday, Arsenal take on Tottenham in the North London Superclasico.
There are actually a remarkable amount of parallels between the Avellaneda and Liverpool clashes, so bear with me while I amble through these tenuous links. In both instances, the Red half are the more successful – at home and abroad. Independiente boast 14 Primera titles to Racing’s 7, and 7 Copa Libertadores wins to the Acade’s 1. It earned them the nickname ‘rey de copas’ or ‘king of cups’. Liverpool’s record is well-known in both domestic and continental competitions, whilst Racing’s fans will sympathise with the perpetual heartbreak of supporting a team that promises so much but ends up trophyless.
Everton’s disdain for Liverpool is of course amplified by the events of the 1980s, when despite lording it over their rivals in the league standings, the actions of LFC meant that English sides were suspended from European competition.
The blue halves of these industrial cities also share a reputation for die-hard support in the face of this perennial underachievement, in the following video you can see the Racing welcome for Independiente.
God, I love a derby.