Take, for example, any classic of universal letters. Or the music. Or paint. It’s work. The work that becomes a classic because its quality stands the test of time. But equally, although it may seem contradictory, because the caudillo reflects in an extraordinary way this time that he should have been. In sports, the classic has another feature. To be a classic, you need a rival. And, on top of that, all the chapters of the classic are always different. Classic, but little unpredictable. From the Moorish classic to the Superclassic. From River-Boca to Real Madrid-Barcelona. A duel that is also renewed because there is a new gestation that is making a hole for itself: there is Formula 1 that restarts this weekend with Max Verstappen seeking to supplant King Lewis Hamilton once again.
However, the sports classic will always need the opponent. Direct competition is what makes the sport so different and exciting. And sometimes too extraordinary. Not only because sometimes it prevents the rival from taking the field (a classic of Argentine soccer, stadiums without visiting fans). Not even being able to wear the rival shirt in a Moorish. Sport is often a propitious setting for these times of veteran hatred. But violence separately, the tension generated by the classic duel in sport is almost unique. Because it is usually a climate within the climate. It doesn’t usually matter if A arrives at a moment of absolute superiority over B. It doesn’t matter because perhaps B feels that there is nothing better than coming out of a bad moment by beating A. Classic rivals feed off each other.
What would have happened to Leo Messi if he hadn’t had direct competition from Cristiano Ronaldo? Of Roger Federer without Nadal? Of Muhammad Ali without Joe Frazier? In football, the slogan “you don’t exist” with which we intend to disqualify the classic rival is paradoxical. We can sing it, of course. But, without him, we would not have a classic. “Sadder than losing a classic is not having a classic,” a fellow broadcaster said last Friday. Thus he described some forced duels that Argentine soccer has scheduled for its classic era. Invented classics. We are in a new tournament. Although the novelty is not said as a virtue, but as a lack. Because our football celebrates innovative tournaments year after year. The disorganization of our football is another classic.
Soccer is a classic in itself. In its beginnings, it was a classic to go ashore on Sunday (Saturday if it was the English founders). Games began to be played every day, especially on television, which began to pay millions. Every day and at any time because we still had to satisfy the eastern market. And the worlds have also changed. From the 16 traditional teams it will go to 48 in 2026, a Cup that will be played not in one but in three different countries (United States, Mexico and Canada). And with an upcoming World Cup that should be from June-July to November-December to avoid the heat in Qatar. And the possibility that these same World Cups change and are played every two springs. Tradition and craft. Football is a classic subject to the laws of the market.
The football classic is traumatized with symbols. But this Sunday Boca will change the colors of his shirt for the first time in history for an official duel. We could have thought of a marketing that would impose new names on traditional stadiums and add colors to the “sacred mantle”. But no. This is not marketing, it is “witchcraft”. Or however you want to hit the shaman that he recommended repeating the yellow jersey that he debuted last Sunday with a rout against Estudiantes. Perhaps the main novelty of Boca, which was very irregular, was the presence of Pol Fernández as a midfielder. He gave the team a different circulation since Pol has more means than the Colombian Jorman Campuzano. This is perhaps also the main novelty for the Superclásico that is played this Sunday in Núñez. because River, who generally attacks more convinced than the others, has been playing better than Boca for several springs. But each classic is a separate story. And in this, more than a yellow shirt, Boca warns that he wants to romp better.