The forbidden fruit | sports

The forbidden fruit | sports

Boca fans go before Maradona graffiti. In video: declarations of Armani, goalkeeper of River and of Barros, technician of Mouth. EITAN ABRAMOVICH

A clash between Boca and River It is always something extraordinary. This Boca-River (and the River-Boca in two weeks), the final two-party by the scepter of the continent, is absolutely exceptional. And, for a European, it has the taste of the forbidden fruit. It is the old authentic absinthe, the unfiltered tobacco, the sex without precautions, the drug without restraint: that is what we renounce, the excess against which, responsibly, we continue to struggle. It is what does not suit us. And, however.

The Europeans have achieved, with some rare exception, that families can go quietly to the stadiums. We have achieved that in matches of maximum rivalry both hobbies coexist with relative harmony. We have achieved that the great endings do not turn into urban guerrilla sprouts. We have achieved a rich football, technically lavish, socially festive, peaceful. And, however.

Who wants to go to a small and old stadium like La Bombonera, whose vibration is measurable as a seismic movement? Who wants to squeeze into a standing crowd and take the risk of an avalanche? Who wants to share a few hours with a horde that burns their lungs with screams, that clings to fences, that goes into an ecstasy of wild fury? No, it is not convenient. It is not civilized. And, however.

Argentine soccer is one of the best in the continent, as this Buenos Aires final shows. But it lacks big figures because they fly in the arms of European and Asian money. Seldom reaches the video game aesthetic to which we are already accustomed. It is a football, by comparison, coarse and sweaty, feverish, fanatic, elementary. It's a football practiced by people, not cartoons. And, however.

The Boca-River smells of something that in Europe we have not smelled for many years. Exhale the sour smell of sweat and beer from hooligans English, the sweet perfume left behind by tifosi Italians when they were destroying a railway station, it leaves in the throat the tear gas tear of when a classic seventies did not really end until they loaded the riot police. It smells like delirium, risk, adrenaline. And, however.

Who wants to share a few hours with a horde that clings to the fences, which enters into an ecstasy of wild fury? No, it is not convenient. And yet

This is a football in which the wild bars continue to parasitize and extort money from the clubs, in which the leading mafias have not yet moved to the elegant offices of high finance, in which television rights have not pushed the masses that fills the stadiums. This is a football that does not travel in jet private. And, however.

The great final of the Copa Libertadores faces two twin brothers born in the port vortex and separated by history; to two institutions that we can call xeneizes (Genoese in Italian dialect) in the case of Boca or millionaires, because in another century they made an expensive signing, in the case of River, but they assume without prejudice the derogatory nickname that the brother-enemy awarded them: bosteros, for the excrement of cattle, those of Boca; chickens, for a gallinaceous episode half a century ago, those of River. They are so sure of their faith. So fanatical is all this. So irrational. And, however.

Buenos Aires will be paralyzed. Sensible people will avoid the vicinity of the battlefield, because no contrary hobby is admitted but, sometimes, you already know. The country will hold its breath. The police will be deployed as if to contain an invasion. These excesses, of course, are not socially hygienic. The players will jump to the field gasping for responsibility and may not offer their best game, because what is at stake is not the great victory, but the final defeat. And, as you know, defeats last longer than victories. The final will be Argentina in its purest form: excess, for good and for bad.

How can we not enjoy madly, absurdly, blindly this insane pleasure, from which Europeans deprived us for a long time?

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