Argentina’s football league: A guide to the 2011/12 season

Friday, July 29, 2011 14:51

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Primera Divisi贸n 300x242 Argentinas football league: A guide to the 2011/12 season

La Nueva Temporada

August is almost upon us and with it f煤tbol, and the start of the Primera Divisi贸n in Argentina. The first round of fixtures kicks off on the 5th, a date eagerly anticipated by millions of Argentines. What鈥檚 more, the new season brings with it the perfect distraction from the less-than-brilliant Copa America performance of the national team (who were knocked out by eventual winners 鈥 and neighbours 鈥 Uruguay).

The Primera Divisi贸n, which will last until May 2012, apocalypse permitting, is split into two tournaments: the Apertura and the Clausura (the opening half and the closing half). It is therefore one of the only leagues in which two teams can be crowned champions within one season. The division consists of 20 teams, of which 3 teams are relegated each year.聽 The big news last season was the relegation of 33-time champions River Plate, for the first time in their history, to the second division. At this point I could venture into the system of 3 year averages that defines who is relegated, but I won鈥檛.


River鈥檚 relegation unfortunately means that there will be no Supercl谩sico this year, with Boca fans now at a loss: 鈥淵eah sure, I鈥檓 glad they went down, but now how am I meant to channel my aggression?鈥 very few Boca fans have been overheard grumbling. Furthermore, there will be fewer teams from Buenos Aires than there have been for years. In fact, with intense rivalries being few and far between this year, we鈥檒l have to rely on fixtures such as Racing Vs Independiente to provide some drama (I was recently told that Racing fans were the most 鈥chiflado鈥 of them all – they鈥檙e all nuts, basically – so this may come to fruition sooner rather than later).

racing club 300x200 Argentinas football league: A guide to the 2011/12 season

The Reigning Champions

V茅lez Campeones 150x150 Argentinas football league: A guide to the 2011/12 season

V猫lez S脿rsfield - Campeones de la Clausura 2011

Last year鈥檚 Clausura champions, V茅lez S谩rsfield, are all set to defend their crown this season, and with River Plate splashing about aimlessly downstream they might have a good chance of doing so. Mexican veteran Guillermo Franco signed for V茅lez last January, and the 34-year-old striker鈥檚 goals could aid Velez鈥 title challenge. Maximiliano Morales could prove even more influential. Whilst he is the smallest player in the league (a wee 160cm), the little guy is a favourite amongst fans for his short passing.

Estudiantes Copa de Campe贸n 2010 150x150 Argentinas football league: A guide to the 2011/12 season

Estudiantes - Campeones De la Apertura 2010

As for 2010鈥檚 Apertura champions, Estudiantes, the performances of key players such as Paraguay no.1 Justo Villar and the legendary 鈥 and forever balding 鈥 Juan Sebastian Ver贸n 鈥 will be vital to their success. One thing鈥檚 for sure though, if manager Miguel Ang茅l Russo and the 鈥students鈥 aim to end the season with a trophy, they鈥檇 better do their homework.


All this information is well and good, but here at Expanish we are inclined to support our local kids team Boca Juniors. Last year was disappointing in more ways than one. Firstly, Boca finished the two tournaments in 12th and 7th respectively. Secondly, and much more upsettingly, Boca lost the talents of Mart铆n Palermo to old age. 鈥淓l Tit谩n鈥, as he was respectfully known, is Boca鈥檚 all-time leading scorer with 236 goals, and his retirement at the end of last season was an emotional time for all concerned. He will be missed. However, all is not bad in La Boca. Argentine Forward Lucas Viatri is to be the attacking focal point of the team this year following Palermo鈥檚 departure, with many inside the team confident of his ability. New additions to the squad include Dar矛o Cvitanich, the Argentine-born Croatian striker hoping to fill the supporting role behind Viatri. Additionally, Juan Rom谩n Riquelme is still going strong, or at least can still move at a gentle jog. Even at 33, the playmaker still has the ability to be a match-winner. However he could probably do with a diet.

Palermo11 300x200 Argentinas football league: A guide to the 2011/12 season

Adios, Mart铆n...

gracias1 300x168 Argentinas football league: A guide to the 2011/12 season

...Y Gracias

Players to watch this year:

Leandro Romagnoli 150x150 Argentinas football league: A guide to the 2011/12 season

Leandro Romagnoli (MF) 鈥 San Lorenzo

Lucas Viatri (ST) 鈥 Boca Juniors

Dar铆o Cvitanich (ST) 鈥 Boca Juniors

Maximiliano Morales (MF) 鈥 V茅lez S谩rsfield

Ezequiel Carboni (MF) 鈥 Banfield

Mauro Cameronesi (MF) – Lan煤s

Title contenders:

V茅lez S谩rsfield, Racing, Boca Juniors, Independiente, Estudiantes

An outside chance:

San Lorenzo, Banfield, Lan煤s

Relegation scrappers:

Atl茅tico Rafaela, San Mart铆n San Juan, Col贸n, All Boys, Uni贸n Santa Fe

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