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Boca Juniors stadium: Everything you need to know about La Bombonera

La Bombonera is a dream stadium for all groundhoppers and football lovers across the globe.

The home of Boca Juniors, this stadium is arguably South America's most famous and is also one of the most well-recognised grounds in the world.

The history of La Bombonera

This famous old stadium opened 83 years ago and has been the home of Boca Juniors ever since. The stadium often tops lists for the best stadium, best atmosphere, and it is not hard to see why.

This 57,200-capacity stadium sits in the heart of Buenos Aires and is located a stone's throw from the Rio de la Plata, which separates Argentina and Uruguay.

In 1921, following several years of financial difficulties and lack of funds, Boca Juniors put out a fundraising drive to raise money for their next stadium.

The fundraising was successful, with the club raising enough money to rent, and then buy, a new stadium initially. The land they chose, which would become La Bombonera, was owned by Ferro Carril del Sud.

The stadium finally opened on the 25th of May, 1940, with a friendly match between Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo, which the home side won 2–0 with both goals scored by Ricardo Alarcón.

It's hard to imagine now but this match only lasted seventy minutes, because the stadium did not have any floodlights. The first official game at the new stadium was on the 2nd of June, 1940, when Boca Juniors beat Newell's Old Boys 2-0. Ricardo Alarcón was on hand once again, this time to score the first official goal at the stadium.

The famous atmosphere

 

The atmosphere at La Bombonera is one of the best in the world with Boca Juniors fans being an historically large and vocal fan base. La Bombonera translates into English as the Chocolate Box, but the official name is Alberto Jose Armando Stadium.

The iconic shape of the stadium is due to the residential buildings behind one stand. This stand is home to VIP boxes only but there are plans to redevelop the stadium to be filled out with four stands. This would greatly expand the capacity and allow more fans to attend games. That said, it would deprive supporters and stadium lovers of one of the world's most iconic and memorable designs.

Boca Juniors has as many as 315,000 registered members which furthers the need for a larger capacity, yet many Boca fans are against the plans to either relocate or redevelop their famous old ground.

Potential new stadium

There were also plans for an entirely new stadium, however some of the discussions have been ambitious to say the least.

One of those came in 2023 during the presidential elections when candidate Jorge Reale – who failed to win enough votes – announced that he wanted to build an entirely new stadium on Demarchi Island, around one kilometre from the current La Bombonera site.

In 2023, Reale visited the potential site with architect Enrique Lombardi, to discuss plans. It was suggested that a stadium built here could have an eye-watering capacity of 112,000. To put this into persepctive, the current La Bombonera capacity is 57,200. Reale's proposed stadium would include a roof, 444 VIP seats, 78 TV booths and 4,000 parking spaces.

A more realistic option for the stadium would be to expand the current site. Former President Jorge Amor Ameal was a fan of expanding La Bombonera. This plan would involve buying the land behind the fourth stand and building the stadium out. This could increase the capacity to 78,000 – around 6,000 less than the capacity at El Monumental, the home of fierce rivals River Plate.

Bucket list stadium

In 2012, Zack Pumerantz wrote an article for Bleacher Report titled “50 Sports Venues to Visit Before You Die”, in this article, stadiums such as Wimbledon Centre Court in England, Nou Camp in Spain, The Rungrado May Day Stadium in North Korea, Maracana in Brazil and The Float at Marina Bay in Singapore were all mentioned alongside La Bombonera. In actual fact, Boca Juniors stadium appears on every list of football grounds to visit, but this is no real surprise.

If there ever was a stadium that is a must-visit, it is this one. The Argentine culture, Buenos Aires itself, the design, the atmosphere – just one of these is enough reason to make the trip, but this ground offers every possible reason to go and see a game in the iconic La Bombonera.


Callum Jones-Bowman

Callum is fairly new to writing having been a football scout since 2019 but since having a baby with his wife in late 2022, he has chosen this new career path to ensure he can be a hands on father while still being involved in his biggest passion - football.

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