The Big Five of Argentine Soccer

28 June, 2020
Since the 1930s, the five biggest Argentinian soccer teams have been River Plate, Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing, and San Lorenzo.
 

In Argentina, you can find soccer everywhere. Each weekend, when the teams come out on the pitch, everything else stops. In this article, we’ll look at the so-called ‘big five’ of Argentine soccer.

Who are the ‘big five’ of Argentine soccer?

The team ‘the big five of Argentine soccer’ came about shortly after the sport became professional in 1934. The AFA (Argentine Football Association) had just been created, and the most popular teams lobbied for more influence in decisions.

At a board meeting in 1937, the board ruled that clubs with more than 15,000 members, 20 years of consecutive participation, and at least two championship titles would have three votes.

The only teams that met all these criteria came to be known as ‘the big five of Argentine soccer’. In alphabetical order, they are Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing Club, River Plate, and San Lorenzo de Almagro. Let’s find out more about them!

1. River Plate

Club Atlético River Plate is the oldest member of the big five of Argentine soccer, being founded on May 25, 1901, in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Its name is an incorrect English translation for the Río de la Plata. At the end of the thirties, they moved to the Núñez neighborhood of the city. Their stadium is El Monumental and also hosts matches for the Argentine national team.

The stadium of River Plate.
 

The River is one of the most successful teams in the country and in the world. They have won 66 official trophies, 36 of which are first division championships and 18 are international cups. Their record goalscorer is Angel Labruna, and their most successful coach is Marcelo Gallardo.

2. Racing Club: big five of Argentine soccer

This team was founded on March 25, 1903, and is based in the city of Avellaneda in Greater Buenos Aires. Their stadium opened in 1950 and is the second-largest in the country, with capacity for 60,000 spectators. Racing’s distinctive colors are light blue and white stripes like the Argentine flag.

They have the third-highest number of titles with 37 trophies, 18 of which are first division championships.

Diego Milito after scoring a goal.
Image: Telam.

Racing was the first Argentine team to consist solely of Argentine players and is one of only four clubs in the world to win seven consecutive league championships. They share this record with Olympique de Lyon, Bayern Munich, and Juventus.

3. Independent

Club Atlético Independiente is based in Avellaneda, and the club was founded on January 1, 1905, by a break-away group of young players from Maipú FC. This is where their name, “Independent”, comes from. Their stadium is the Libertadores de América and has capacity for more than 52,000 spectators.

 
Sergio Agüero playing for Indipendiente.
Kun Agüero playing for Independiente. Image: Goal.

Independiente is also known as, The Reds because of the color of their shirts. They also have another nickname which is El Rey de Copas (The King of Cups) because they have won seven Copa Libertadores trophies. In total, they have 25 titles, including 16 first division championships.

4. Boca Juniors

Club Atlético Boca Juniors come from the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires on April 3, 1905. It was founded by a group of young children of Italian immigrants, specifically from Genoa. As a result, they’re nicknamed the Xeneizes, which means, ‘Genoese’.

According to legend, after needing to change their strip in 1906, the team decided to assume the colors of the flag of the first ship to sail into the port at La Boca. The ship proved to be Swedish, and since then, the team has played in a blue and yellow strip.

Riqulme playing for Boca Juniors.
Image: Twitter @sitioriquelme.
 

Boca Juniors have 33 First Division championships, 13 national cups, and 22 international titles (the second highest after Real Madrid). Their stadium is La Bombonera and the team has played there since 1940.

5. San Lorenzo de Almagro: big five of Argentine soccer

This is the youngest of the ‘big five’ of Argentine soccer, even though it was founded in April 1908. Their team colors are red and blue.

San Lorenzo has a total of 24 titles, 15 of which are first division championships. Their arch-rivals are Huracán from the Parque Patricios neighborhood. These two teams take part in the so-called ‘Buenos Aires Súperclasico’.

The San Lorenzo team, one of the big five of Argentine soccer.
Image: Marca Argentina.

The San Lorenzo stadium is known as El Nuevo Gasómetro and was built in 1993. Some of the team’s most famous players are José Sanfilippo, Hector Scotta, and Alberto Acosta, and the team recently became famous for being Pope Francis’ favorite team.

As for the rivalries between these teams, the most important is between Boca and River, the ‘súperclasico’. Then, the second most important is between Independiente and Racing. Lastly, the oldest derby is between River and Racing.

 

For many years, other teams have tried to join this group to make it into the ‘big five’. These clubs include Estudiantes de La Plata, Huracán, Newell’s Old Boys, Rosario Central, and Vélez Sarsfield.

  • Ambito – Russo: “Los cinco grandes manejan la Superliga” – Enero 2020 – https://www.ambito.com/deportes/superliga/russo-los-cinco-grandes-manejan-la-superliga-n5075059
  • Popular – Cuándo comenzarán la pretemporada los cinco grandes – Enero 2020 – https://www.diariopopular.com.ar/futbol/cuando-comenzaran-la-pretemporada-los-cinco-grandes-n448218