The Herald’s Guide to choosing your Argentine football side

From Copa Libertadores record-holders to Primera División debutants, here’s the info you need to pick your favorite team this season

The Argentine football season is in full swing — but with 28 teams, how do you know which to support? You’ve probably heard of the Big Five — Boca, River, Independiente, Racing, and San Lorenzo — but the top league of Argentine football features obscure underdogs, close-knit community clubs, and the proving ground for top-class World Cup and Premier League talent.

Many Argentines are die-hard football fans. Some people’s parents choose their team before they’re even born. When mom and dad support rival teams, the question of which team their child will go for can provoke bitter feuds. But if you’re visiting, the plethora of colors, chants, and team folklore probably has you wondering how to choose. 

To help you pick, the Herald spoke to fans from all Primera División clubs to make the case for their side.

Argentinos Juniors

  • Hometown: Buenos Aires City
  • Fans dream of: First top-tier title since 2010

Fans at the La Paternal neighborhood take pride in their reputation as the “World’s Hotbed.” The academy has produced three World Cup-winners, icons like Fernando Redondo and Juan Román Riquelme, and international superstar, Diego Armando Maradona. Football fans from all over the world make pilgrimages to their stadium, where Messi first wore the Argentina jersey.

Argentinos Juniors is a historic club within Argentine football
Photo: Télam

It’s not surprising, then, that the 1985 Copa Libertadores winners are famed for their beautiful style of play.

Atlético Tucumán

  • Hometown: Tucumán
  • Fans dream of: First top-tier national title

One of the oldest clubs in north-western Argentina, Atlético Tucumán made its name as a regional giant — but since they established themselves in the first division in 2016, fans have got used to cheering for the underdog.

Fans love their flairs of brilliance: in 2017, they went to Quito, Ecuador to play El Nacional in their Copa Libertadores debut. When their kits didn’t show up, they donned the national team’s colors. Despite losing the home leg and fighting the altitude at 2,850 meters above sea level, they secured a 1-0 win. 


  • Hometown: Banfield, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: Security in the first division

Banfield is all about the family connection. Prepare to meet your cousins in the stands as parents pass their sporting passion on to their kids at the Florencio Sola stadium, a sparkling facility that offers some of the best views in Argentine football.

El Taladro (The Drill), a nickname dating to the 1940s and linked to their strikers “drilling” opponents’ nets, had to wait until 2009 for their sole First Division title led by would-be-superstar Colombian James Rodriguez. In 2024, fans hope to avoid last year’s relegation fears.

Barracas Central

  • Hometown: Buenos Aires City
  • Fans dream of: Security in the first division

Barracas languished in Argentina’s lower leagues until they gained a top tier spot in 2021 with AFA under former club president Claudio Tapia, which earned them a reputation for too many questionable calls going their way. Still, for its low-income fans who followed the team at the depths of the Argentine fifth tier, going up against Boca or River is a dream come true.

Belgrano (CBA)

  • Hometown: Córdoba
  • Fans dream of: A strong Copa Sudamericana campaign

Coming from the traditional immigrant neighborhood of Barrio Alberdi, Belgrano fans are a humble and resilient bunch. In 2001, they clubbed together under fan-turned-administrator Norberto Castaños to save the club from bankruptcy and restore it to the first division. 

Today, with plans to expand their always-packed stadium, a strong team and a Copa Sudamericana spot, the future looks hopeful.

Boca Juniors

  • Hometown: Buenos Aires City
  • Fans dream of: Seventh Copa Libertadores title

Even those who know nothing about Argentine football have heard of Boca. Displays like the 100,000 fans who visited Rio de Janeiro for the 2023 Copa Libertadores final — most of whom didn’t even have a ticket — show why Xeneize fans proudly claim to be the most popular club in Argentina.

Boca Juniors (blue and yellow) and derby rivals River Plate (white and red) are the two biggest teams in Argentine football
Photo: Télam

The roar of the iconic La Bombonera, the golden-striped blue shirts and the potential of several youngsters provide plenty of reasons to join. But, with Boca missing the 2024 Copa Libertadores, you won’t be betting on the winning side.

Central Córdoba (SdE)

  • Hometown: Santiago del Estero
  • Fans dream of: First top-tier national title

Central Córdoba made history in 1967 when it became the first indirect AFA affiliate to beat Boca Juniors at La Bombonera. Don’t let the name fool you: the club is actually in Santiago del Estero. Lower-league regulars, in 2019 it celebrated its centenary with a Primera División return after 48 years and a Copa Argentina final. After struggling to keep its gains, the fans dream of making waves again in 2024.

Defensa y Justicia

  • Hometown: Florencio Varela, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: International cups qualification

Hailing from humble Florencio Varela, Defensa y Justicia has been hitting above its weight. Primera División debutants in 2014, its offensive and entertaining style of play made them a crowd favorite. 

Spotting talent that others miss, four 2022 World Cup winners — Lisandro Martinez, Guido Rodriguez, Nahuel Molina and Enzo Fernández — got their break there after struggling with big clubs. With the 2020 Copa Sudamericana title the pride of the fans, it’s all about remaining competitive and stylish in 2024.

Deportivo Riestra

  • Hometown: Buenos Aires City
  • Fans dream of: First division safety

Riestra’s rise in recent years has been meteoric. It’s debuting in the Primera División in 2024 after a match the team won wearing generic black shirts because they didn’t have a jersey provider. However, the team’s reputation has been tarnished by its ties to lawyer Víctor Stinfale, who directs many of their operations, and was accused of involuntary manslaughter in 2016. 

Their dream in 2024 is to stay in the top division.

Estudiantes de La Plata

  • Hometown: La Plata, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: First international title since 2009

Branded “anti-football” in the 1960s for its defensive style of play, Estudiantes broke the Big Five’s monopoly on professional titles in 1967, then won three Copa Libertadores and the 1968 Intercontinental Cup. 

One of two clubs in the provincial capital of La Plata, Pincharrata fans enjoy a contrarian pride in their win-at-all-costs club identity. Copa Argentina winners in 2023, fans dream of returning to continental glory in 2024.

Gimnasia y Esgrima (white and blue) and Estudiantes de La Plata (red and white) take pride in diametrically opposed philosophies on football
Photo: Télam

Gimnasia y Esgrima (LP)

  • Hometown: La Plata, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: First division safety

Gimnasia’s perpetual struggle is the other side of the La Plata coin. A big, caring community club, its success comes not from their trophy cabinets but their social action, spearheading initiatives such as blood donation campaigns. The Triperos hold no professional titles and fans aren’t optimistic. They narrowly avoided relegation in 2023, and avoiding another in 2024 could be enough to keep fans smiling.

Godoy Cruz

  • Hometown: Godoy Cruz, Mendoza
  • Fans dream of: First top-tier national title

Godoy Cruz has progressed steadily since it first arrived in the top tier. In 1994, the “mud heroes” secured the club’s second-tier status, 2008’s team established it as a Primera División team, and 2011’s side made its first Copa Libertadores appearance. With the Feliciano Gambarte stadium remodeling nearly complete and a fifth Libertadores appearance, fans now dream of a top-tier title in 2024. 


  • Hometown: Buenos Aires City
  • Fans dream of: First division safety

Since AFA settled Argentine football’s Big Five in 1937, clubs have quarreled over who’s sixth. Historically, it’s been Huracán. Inextricably linked with the Parque Patricios neighborhood, it’s one of Argentine football’s flair teams, with the 1928 Primera Division winners branded “the white ballet” for their elegant brand of football. 

Since then, it has lost ground to rivals, but after the 2023 season ended with a relegation scrap, fans at the iconic Art Decó-style Tomás A. Ducó stadium hope for a quieter 2024.


  • Hometown: Avellaneda, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: Qualifying for international cups 

Despite Diablos Rojos’ glittering history, Independiente fans seem to fear things could go south at any moment, something rival fans taunt them about. Still, those who have celebrated the club’s record seven Copa Libertadores titles have stuck around at the darkest times. 

Having staved off a second relegation in ten years last season and with some exciting signings in the books, there’s a feeling the only way is up. Qualifying for a continental tournament in 2024 would be a step in the right direction.

Independiente Rivadavia

  • Hometown: Mendoza
  • Fans dream of: First division safety

With its deep blue jersey a tribute to the Italian national team of the founders’ ancestry, Independiente Rivadavia’s record 25 titles in the Mendoza Football League make it a regional giant.  However, 2024 will be the first full Primera División season of their 110-year history. 

A dream come true for a generation of fans who missed the club’s previous dabs at the old National Championships, the hopes for 2024 are staying put for another.

Instituto (CBA)

  • Hometown: Córdoba
  • Fans dream of: Qualifying for international cups

A family-based, community club in Córdoba, La Gloria has a particular love of music. Massive bands have sometimes joined games, with a clip of fans singing Cuban singer Celia Cruz’s “La Vida es un Carnaval” with changed lyrics going viral in 2022. Home to World Cup winners Mario Kempes, Osvaldo Ardiles, Miguel Oviedo and Paulo Dybala, it has struggled to stay in the top tier, but good signings and improving club facilities are giving fans reason to hope for a great 2024.


  • Hometown: Lanús, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: Qualifying for international cups

After a devastating flood in the Buenos Aires suburb of Lanús, the neighbors founded this club as a base of operations to recover from the disaster, and it’s maintained that community spirit ever since. Relegation to the third tier and massive debts in 1978 was its lowest point, but also the beginning of its golden era.

The clash between Lanús (maroon) and Banfield (white and green) is known as the Clásico del Sur
Photo: Télam

Primera División returnees in 1992, title-winners in 2007, and Copa Libertadores finalists in 2017, the Granate look to remain competitive in 2024, developing young local players and maintaining strong community ties.


  • Hometown: Rosario, Santa Fe
  • Fans dream of: Qualifying for international cups

Before every Lepra game, thousands of fans cut traffic in central Rosario, giving the club a solid claim to the coveted status of biggest club outside Buenos Aires. Home to Lionel Messi and other Argentine football superstars such as World Cup-winning coach Lionel Scaloni — not to mention two Primera División titles — the 1992 Copa Libertadores final under coach Marcelo Bielsa was its golden era. But it’s been struggling to maintain those heights, and fans hope 2024 is the year Newell’s can return to the business end of the table.


  • Hometown: Vicente López, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: Qualifying for international cups

Platense’s story begins at the Palermo Racecourse, where founders won the money they used to start the club. One of the stands at this Recoleta club is named after tango singer Roberto Goyeneche. A first-division regular throughout its history, Platense returned in 2021 after a 22-year absence. After making the 2023 Copa de la Liga final, fans dream of playing at the top end of the table in 2024.


  • Hometown: Avellaneda, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: Their first international title since 1988

Racing has battled sporting, economic and even supernatural adversities. Fans are perpetual optimists who take the rough with the smooth. When La Academia won its first Primera División title in 35 years in 2001, fans packed both the stadium where the match was played and their home ground, where they watched on a screen.

With legend Gustavo Costas returning as head coach, fans dream of a return to continental glory in 2024 for the club that became the first Argentine world champions — they were the country’s first team to win the Intercontinental Cup in 1967.

River Plate

  • Hometown: Buenos Aires City
  • Fans dream of: Fifth Copa Libertadores title

River doesn’t just win. It wins in style, with a tradition of offensive, entertaining football dating back to the 1940s. After its first-ever relegation in 2011, River returned to dominance under Marcelo Gallardo, who cemented his legacy with a victory over Superclásico rivals Boca in the 2018 Copa Libertadores final.

Current coach Martín Demichelis has largely pulled off the tricky act of succeeding Gallardo, but with a potential Copa Libertadores final to be played at the Monumental stadium, fans hope to win it for a fifth time.

Rosario Central

  • Hometown: Rosario, Santa Fe
  • Fans dream of: Their first international title since 1995

Like Central Córdoba, Talleres and others, Rosario Central was born as a railway workers’ club. Founded in 1889, it quickly rose to Rosario League prominence, where it found its biggest rival: Newell’s. Continental winners — unlike its old rival — at the 1995 Conmebol Cup, it also became the first team from outside Buenos Aires to win a top tier title, the 1971 National Championship. 

The derby between Rosario Central (blue and yellow) and Newell’s Old Boys (white) is one of the biggest in Argentina
Photo: Télam

Copa de la Liga winners in 2023, it’s making a Copa Libertadores return in 2024. Fans dream of the return of Ángel Di María, who vowed to retire with his home club.

San Lorenzo

  • Hometown: Buenos Aires City
  • Fans dream of: Their first top-tier title since 2015

San Lorenzo has been trying to return to its Boedo home since the military junta expropriated the land where its stadium stood in 1979 after the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo waved a flag in one of the stands, their first public act.

With a homecoming in the works since 2012, the Ciclón has been on good form recently under legendary coach Rubén Insúa, securing a return to the Copa Libertadores for 2024. Fans want their first title since 2015 to top it off.


  • Hometown: Junín, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: First division safety

Hailing from the Buenos Aires provincial town of Junín, the Verde was one of eight teams favored by 2014’s 30-team first division tournament, sealing a top-tier return after 32 years. Since 2021, Sarmiento has managed some big results — like a second win against Boca —  and stayed far from the relegation fight. More of that for 2024, say fans.


  • Hometown: Córdoba
  • Fans dream of: First top-tier national title

“Being a Talleres fan means you’ll never be alone again,” said Cordobese writer and poet Daniel Salzano. La T fans regularly fill the 57,000-capacity Mario Kempes Stadium, Argentina’s second-largest. It doesn’t even take Primera División football to entice them. 

Talleres earned Second Division status in 2013 in front of 60,000 fans, an attendance figure only beaten that day by top tier European games like Germany’s Der Klassiker. In 2024, Talleres fans only want a First Division title to crown one of its most competitive eras ever.


  • Hometown: San Fernando, Buenos Aires Province
  • Fans dream of: International cups qualification

Arguably the biggest club in the north of Greater Buenos Aires, Tigre fans pride themselves on being a neighborhood club, where friends and family meet on the stands and players can be found in the community. 2019 Copa de la Liga champions, that title crowned its progress since its 2007 Primera División return, following a long spell in the lower leagues. With a number of youth players coming up, fans hope to return to the Copa Libertadores in 2024.


  • Hometown: Santa Fe
  • Fans dream of: International cups qualification

While some clubs in Argentina celebrate victories or expect stylish wins, for Unión fans it’s all about the matchday experience and celebrating the occasion, regardless of the final score. One of the two biggest sides in Santa Fe’s capital city, the Tatengue will always hold its 1989 5-0 promotion playoff victory over rivals Colón. Reinvigorated under coach Cristian “Kily” González — who led a last-game miracle relegation save — fans dream of returning to international competitions in 2024.

Vélez Sarsfield

  • Hometown: Buenos Aires City
  • Fans dream of: First division safety

Vélez Sarsfield shocked the world when it beat giants AC Milan in the 1994 Intercontinental Cup, a success fans carry close to their hearts. Since then, the club has built on that sporting success while also developing close ties with Buenos Aires’ western neighborhoods, with a school where locals go to play sports. 

Vélez Sarsfield is a long way from the heights it reached in 1994
Photo: Télam

With a taste for hard-nosed football, Vélez fans want commitment from their players. After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, a quieter 2024 is the priority.


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