Having been out of the football news loop for a few days I was extremely surprised to read today that River Plate have been relegated. River Plate are arguably the most successful team in Argentina. Having won the National championship 33 times, the Copa Libertadores twice and the old Intercontinental cup once. This has been a huge shock in Argentina with fans rioting and clashing with police. River were playing in a relegation play-off match with 2nd division side Belgrano when the match had to be abandoned in the final few minutes as the crowd started to become too violent. Police were forced to fire water cannon’s into the crowd as supporters started to invade the pitch. The players needed to be escorted off the field with a large police escort. River lost the play off match 3-1 on aggregate.
It is the first time in the clubs 110 year history that it has been relegated to the 2nd division of Argentinean football. The club’s financial well being has reflected the clubs poor form with reports of huge debt surround the club. Several players will now be expected to move on. It is a huge shame for a club that has been the starting point and launch pad for so many great players. Some of them include: Hernan Crespo, Roberto Ayala, Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Mascherano, Javier Saviola, Pablo Aimar, Gonzalo Higuain, Ariel Ortega and many many more.
To put the situation into some sort of relateable comparison. It would be like if Manchester United were relegated from the Premier League, or Real Madrid being relegated. The demise of the club will also mean the football world will be deprived of one of the biggest footballing rivalry’s. River Plates matches with Boca Juniors, the Superclásico, arguably the fiercest derby match in the world.