In the Game pp 95-115 | Cite as

Race and Silence in Argentine Football

  • Grant Farred


On the main highway leading from the airport into downtown Buenos Aires, a few miles before you reach the famous Avenida de Julio, the main street that goes through the heart of the city, there is a twenty-story apartment complex. Emblazoned on it in the winter of 2001 was a mural of Juan Sebastian Veron (in the colors of his then new club Manchester United, where he stayed for only two seasons), impeccably manicured goatee and all. Before the disastrous World Cup 2002 campaign, the stylish midfielder was an Argentine national hero. The image on that building is a salient one, both because of who Veron is and who he is not. That mural is a signal accomplishment for the unsettled midfielder; having struggled to put his stamp on Chelsea (the west London club that plays in the English Premier League) as he did at Lazio (of Italy’s Serie A), Veron now seems increasingly likely to head back to Italy to play his club football—Inter Milan is rumored to be his favored destination. Surprisingly, in a nation that loves forwards, especially wayward, inspirational ones, here the Argentine capital chose to honor a midfielder. Moreover, Veron hails from the hinterland city of La Plata, a flat, sprawling garrison town with a strong border ethos—even though it is less than an hour from Buenos Aires. Veron’s attachment to Buenos Aires, or “Baires” as it is more commonly known, is only secondary, a product of his brief stint with the city’s most popular and populist club, Boca Juniors.


Racial Identity Club Football National Team Postcolonial Theory Football Field 
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    Eduardo Galeano, Football In Sun And Shadow, trans. Mark Fried (London: The Fourth Estate, 2003) 152.Google Scholar
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    There is considerable ideological conflict between Menotti and Bilardo, the former accusing the latter of employing a more brutal style of play that dishonors Argentina’s footballing history. Menotti sees himself as the keeper of a purer style than the bruising tactics used by Bilardo in 1986. See Simon Kuper’s Football Against the Enemy (London: Trafalgar Square, 1994) for a discussion of this coaching, intranational animus.Google Scholar
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© Amy Bass 2005

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  • Grant Farred

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