Buenos Aires is a city host to two of the world’s biggest clubs; Boca Juniors and River Plate, with both dominating the Argentine scene over the years. Both clubs have seen a number of stupendous players pull on their famous jerseys with Diego Maradona, Juan Riquelme and Gabriel Batistuta all wearing the iconic blue and yellow of Boca, whilst Hernan Crespo, Alfredo Di Stefano and David Trezeguet have all featured for Los Millonarios.
Whilst the club’s rivalries and players are famous throughout the world, their kits hold a special place in the heart of many football hipsters worldwide.
Throughout the years, both have donned some beautiful kits. An in-depth look at the kits worn by Argentina’s two biggest clubs lays bare some truly special moments and special players.
In the 2000/2001 season, Boca Juniors wore this wonderful kit manufactured by Nike. During the season, Boca clinched the Apertura title alongside South America’s answer to the UEFA Champions League, the Copa Libertadores. Not only did they claim two of the biggest titles in South America, they also beat Spanish giants Real Madrid to the Intercontinental Cup making it a treble winning season. Meaning business whilst looking the business.
Boca and River have been intense rivals since both clubs were founded in the La Boca area of the city.
To this day, Boca represents the working class people of the city, whereas River Plate represents the upper class, hence the name ‘Los Millonarios’ meaning ‘The Millionaires’. Despite being founded in a working class area, River moved to the affluent district of Núñez in the north of the city in 1925. Ever since then, the club’s fans and cultures have clashed.
The rivalry - the derby matched dubbed as the ‘Superclasico’ - has become one of the biggest derbies in world football due to the nature of it. From the fans to the pitch, this derby is intense and hostile.
With it being one of the most heated derbies, Boca Juniors’ fans would have been ecstatic when they clinched their first league title since 1981 in 1992/93 season, beating River Plate by four points. Not only did they enjoy success, they wore a phenomenal home kit whilst doing so. A sublime Adidas number with a v-neck, finished off by a suave collar; this kit was worn by a team that has a special place in the clubs history for ending their drought and beating arch rivals River to the title. This ended up being the last Adidas kit Boca ever had and proved to be a wonderful way to end the relationship with the German brand before moving on to Olan (now known as Topper), who they remained with for just one season. The kit features the Adidas Originals logo and a classic Boca crest creating a truly great feel about the kit.
Winning the same trophy two years in a row can always be difficult, but when it’s the biggest trophy on the continent, it’s a different kettle of fish. Boca managed to retain the Copa Libertadores following their win in 2000 after beating Cruz Azul on penalties. Not only did they retain their title, they went close to securing a second Intercontinental Cup on the bounce but narrowly missed out at the hands of Bayern Munich. Another fantastic Nike kit, a manufacturer who never seems to disappoint when it comes to Boca’s kits. A lovely two-tone blue, with the torso being a lighter shade of blue and the sides darker. The typical yellow stripe along the middle completing an iconic Boca look. The final year they had with sponsor Quilmes before they moved to Pepsi. Sponsors are a massive aspect of the kit and Quilmes looked superb in the middle of the shirt. The centred crest and Nike logo offer a stupendous aesthetic, one that any avid football shirt lover can appreciate. Alongside this, Juan Roman Riquelme wore this as he graced the La Bombonera pitch in his twilight years.
On the other side of the rivalry, River Plate have donned some delightful shirts throughout the years. In 2002/03, we saw River wear a red and white striped kit as their third shit. Looking past the home and away shirts, this third kit, even though it may not have seen as much of the spotlight as it should have, was a marvelous alternative during a successful season - one in which River beat Boca to the Clausura. River gained bragging rights. A wonderful striped kit without a sponsor that was worn by Andres Aimar, brother of Pablo, Andres D’Alessandro, who won back-to-back Primera Division titles with the club and a young Maxi Lopez. Managed by Manuel Pellegrini, this was a successful season in terms of both trophies and kits for River Plate.
Another Adidas based kit the 1992/94 offering saw River win the Apertura, sporting this take on the iconic sash. An Adidas Original kit with the classic Sanyo sponsor, Daniel Passarella’s side claimed the opening title of the Primera Division, looking suave in the process. The shirt had sponsors printed on the front and the back of it, whilst a young Hernan Crespo played a brief spell in this kit and he couldn’t have wished for a better kit to play his opening games as a professional footballer in. The youngster scored 15 goals in 25 games for River during the 1993/94 season before moving to rivals Boca.
River Plate, sadly, were relegated in 2010 which seen them play in the second division of Argentina the following year. This would be the club's first year out of the top division since 1908. Despite this, the club boasted the re-signing of club legend Fernando Cavenaghi. The Argentine scored 55 goals in 88 games during his first stint at the club, writing him into the history book. He returned following relegation to help the club back and he did that in style bagging 19 goals for the season. Alongside Cavenaghi’s return, River Plate secured the signing of World Cup winner and France legend, David Trezeguet. No surprise that they bounced straight back to the Primera in their first attempt and they did it looking magnificent in this away shirt. A striped number providing an alternative to the classic sash. Black trims run alongside each stripe matching the club’s crest colourway. The striped third shirt must have been so popular in 2002/03, they decided to promote it to the away kit in 2011.
A selection of kits highlighting how iconic both clubs are. From the stands to what the players wear week in and week out, the two clubs of Buenos Aires are two of the biggest in the world and are recognised for this by football lovers worldwide.
By Luke Taylor, IBWM Gear Editor.