The stands of La Bombonera, the Boca Juniors stadium, tremble when the fans of the most popular club in Argentina roar. “Well, the Bombonera doesn’t tremble, it beats,” explains Jorge, a 61-year-old Argentine who has been in Spain for 37 years. It beats because it is in the heart of the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, because it pumps the fans into the blood of thousands of people. And his heartbeat reaches more than 10,000 kilometers away from the Argentine capital, to the Rock Peter Rock Bar Club in Valencia, for example, where the documentary was screened on Monday night Bombonera, the movie, by Leandro Baquela, whose premiere was broadcast in numerous cities around the world.
Jorge is one of the organizers. He has seen several generations of Argentines arrive in Spain, after the corralito of 2001, after the economic crisis of a few years ago… Now he welcomes compatriots like Gastón (49 years 20 in Spain), who has come from Alicante to see the film, or the Valencianists “twinned” with the bosteros in their bar named Ripalda and last name Boludo, located in the old neighborhood of Carmen. “When I go to Argentina, the first thing I do is go to the stadium. Well, first I’m going to see my old lady and then to the stadium”, corrects Gastón smiling. “Look there is Emilio, who is the consul and an encyclopedia,” says Jorge.
“You are not fond of Boca, you are born from Boca,” says Emilio, today head of the Argentine team’s consulate in Valencia, which used to be a supporters club. There are many Boca consulates around the world, especially in Latin American countries and in Spain. The proceeds from the raffles organized in Valencia and from the sale of the t-shirts that the majority of the fifty spectators who came to the gambling den wore on Monday goes to a soup kitchen for children in Buenos Aires, the promoters point out.
The claim to be the people’s team, to have a social conscience, not to be the team of the Argentine dictatorship are mixed with data such as the fact that Real Madrid’s last defeat in the Intercontinental Cup (Tokyo, 2000) was against Boca, among other comments from some bosteros. This is the name given to the fans of the team by the factory installed in the neighborhood that used horse manure to produce brick and when it was heated it gave off a strong smell, explains Emilio (48 years old, 19 in Spain). “Before we were called pejoratively, but we incorporate it as one more part of our identity and there is no problem,” he adds.
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Tequila’s music stops playing, the movie starts, the beer is dispensed and cheers follow for the historic goals that parade across the screen by Maradona, Riquelme or Palermo. It seems that the former Villareal and Barça player is more loved than one of the best footballers in history, who died in 2000. “No, no, that depends on who you talk to, but it is true that with Maradona we only won one championship [El metropolitano en 1981, su único título en Argentina]”, points out Emilio.
The bustle of the bar is only silenced when Norma recounts on the screen how her terminal illness ended the family tradition of going to the Bombonera after the barbecue and with it one of her greatest satisfactions. The filming of the film allowed her to walk with her two grandchildren around the empty stadium and recover a wide smile remembering old times.
So did Darío Félman on Monday, the Argentine from Boca who triumphed at Valencia in the late seventies and early eighties in the lead led by his compatriot Mario Kempes. The Valencian consulate of the Argentine team honored him by giving him a plaque. “Look, Boca transferred him to Valencia with the clause that the Spanish club had to let him play the Intercontinental Cup with Boca in Germany and that’s how it was. He came, he left, he won and he came back”, recalled Jorge. Elegant, solicitous, Félman, 70, seemed to be moved: “My six grandchildren are all Valencians. They didn’t have the opportunity, of course, to see their grandfather play the football that gave me everything”.
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