One might call the rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate a… heated one (I'm so sorry), but this is a step too far. On Sunday, an argument sparked up (oh god) between two fans in the city of Apóstoles just outside of Buenos Aires and resulted in a man allegedly burning down his friend's house. The game is just that serious, people.
Boca Juniors and River Plate are set to play the first of their home-and-away matches in the Copa Libertadores on Saturday, and it will be the first time that the premier South American club tournament will feature Argentina's top two clubs.
The rivalry dates back to 1913 when the two teams were in close proximity, but things intensified when River Plate moved out to the suburbs in 1938. Boca retained a bit of its grittier, working-class character, whereas River Plate picked up the nickname "Los Millionarios." Games often start out with fireworks, flares and confetti, and sometimes end in riots. You can imagine how that dynamic plays out at family dinners. Which is almost exactly how this feud started.
According to the Argentine newspaper El Territorio, a man identified only as Arturo V. was hosting his former brother-in-law Oscar B. for a couple of weeks. Over the weekend, the two (former?) friends were hanging out at another friend's house when they got into an argument over who would win the Superclásico. Oscar left and went back to Arturo's house apparently to get his things and leave. Not long after that, neighbors would track down Arturo at the local soccer field to tell him his house was on fire. Here's a photo of the house itself:
Authorities are still investigating the incident, but a police spokesperson confirmed that the triggering event was the argument about the rivalry. Arturo lost virtually all of his belongings in the fire and Oscar remains at large.
Typically, away fans are banned in Argentina's SuperLiga fixtures, but club presidents have said that there's a possibility they will allow up to 4,000 away fans for each of their matches. Let's just hope Arturo and Oscar don't run into each other in the stands.