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River Plate History – All about the Club

River Plate history takes us through a journey in time, telling us about the biggest and most decorated Argentine football club.

Club Atletico River Plate, commonly referred to as River Plate, is an Argentine professional sports organization situated in the Belgrano district of Buenos Aires.

Established in 1901, the club takes its name from the English term for the city’s estuary, Rio de la Plata.

While the club engages in various sports, it is most renowned for its football team, winning the Argentine Primera Division championship an impressive 38 times, one of the many River Plate honors, with the latest victory in 2023.

Domestic achievements encompass 14 national cups, including the 2021 Trofeo de Campeones, solidifying River Plate as the nation’s most successful team in domestic competitions with a total of 52 top-division titles.

More about the history of River Plate trophies: On the international stage, River Plate boasts 18 titles, with 12 organized by CONMEBOL and other international bodies.

In a 2016 survey by the Argentine Football Association, 6 out of 11 players in the all-time Argentina national team had played for River Plate.

The club ranked ninth in the FIFA Club of the Century poll in December 2000. It secured ninth place in the International Federation of Football History & Statistics list of the best teams in the world during the 1990s and 2000s, topping South American clubs.

Notably, River Plate leads the All-time Argentine Primera Division table and the Historical table of the Copa Libertadores.

The fierce rivalry with Boca Juniors, known as Superclasico, is among the sport’s most intense, fueled by local and global popularity.

River’s home stadium, Estadio Monumental, stands as the largest in South America.

Exploring River Plate History

Exploring River Plate History
credit: X (twitter)
  • Full Name: Club Atletico River Plate
  • Nicknames: Los Millonarios (The Millionaires), La Banda (The Stripe)
  • Year of Formation: 1901
  • Place of Origin: Belgrano, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Home Stadium: River Plate Stadium (the Monumental)
  • Chairman: Jorge Pablo Brito
  • Manager: Enzo Francescoli
  • Head Coach: Martin Demichelis
  • League: Primera Division
  • Market Value: €92.75m

The Humble Birth of the Future Argentine Giants

The Humble Birth of the Future Argentine Giants

River Plate was established on May 25, 1901, near the La Boca neighborhood, which would later become the home of their fierce rivals, Boca Juniors.

The club emerged through the merger of two clubs, “Santa Rosa” and “La Rosales,” with Leopoldo Bard elected as its inaugural president.

River Plate history tells us that the name “River Plate” was chosen due to an incident during the construction of the Buenos Aires Port, where workers from Dique 3 momentarily left their duties to play a football match.

The boxes they were using bore the inscription “The River Plate,” the English term for the Rio de la Plata, inspiring the new club’s name.

The club’s first field was initially situated on Darsena Sud of the Port of Buenos Aires, behind the “Wilson” coal stores.

Members and managers of Wilson contributed to the construction, including the goals and perimeter fences.

After completion, River Plate sought affiliation with the Argentine Football Association, which was granted, and the team debuted in the third division in 1905, facing Facultad de Medicina and losing 3–2.

Despite efforts by club members and collaborators to build the first stadium, the Minister of Agriculture ordered the eviction of the land in 1906.

Consequently, the club relocated to land near the small bridge of Sarandí in Greater Buenos Aires.

However, after just a year, in 1907, members Bernardo Messina and Enrique Zanni proposed returning to the original field in Darsena Sud, as the government had not replaced it.

River Plate then returned to its initial field, where, in subsequent years, a grandstand would be constructed to accommodate the growing number of supporters.

In 1906, River Plate entered a team in the second division, finishing 6th in section B.

Quickly Established as a Primera Division Club

River Plate history - Quickly Established as a Primera Division Club

The 1907 season proved more successful as the team secured the 1st position in section A.

However, they narrowly missed the title and promotion to the first division, losing 1–0 to Nacional (a club from Floresta) at Ferro Carril Oeste stadium.

Following a season in Sarandi, River returned to its Darsena Sur field in 1908, hosting all home games.

After the regular season, the top four teams competed for promotion to the Primera Division.

River Plate triumphed over Ferro Carril Oeste 5–1 in the semifinals, while Racing Club defeated Boca Juniors 2–1.

The final took place on December 13, 1908, at GEBA Stadium, where River initially won 2–1 in extra time.

However, the match was nullified because River supporters rushed onto the field to celebrate.

A rematch was scheduled, held on December 27, with River Plate securing promotion by defeating Racing 7–0.

The lineup for that game included Luraschi, Chiappe, Politano, Messina, Morroni, Chagneaud, Anempodisto Garcia, Griffero, Abaca Gomez, Elias Fernandez, and Priano.

River Plate history shows that it made its first-division debut on May 2, 1909, against Argentino de Quilmes.

Notable moments from that season included a 1–0 victory over the legendary Alumni and a challenging 1–10 defeat against Belgrano Athletic.

With the ascent to the top division, River Plate adopted a new jersey with red, white, and black vertical stripes, departing from the previous white with a red sash band.

In its inaugural year in the top-tier division, River concluded in 2nd place, trailing Alumni, with a record of 11 wins, 2 draws, and 5 losses.

This period coincided with the dominance of teams like Alumni (until its dissolution in 1911) and Racing Club, who claimed all the championships during that era.

Their First Primera Division Championship

Their First Primera Division Championship

In 1914, River clinched its first domestic title, the Copa de Competencia Jockey Club, by defeating Newell’s Old Boys 4–0 in the final, maintaining an undefeated record.

Additionally, River secured its first international honor, the Tie Cup, prevailing over Uruguayan team Bristol F.C.

The lineup for the final included Isola, Chiappe, Lanata, Peruzzi, Candido Garcia, Alfredo Elli, Fraga Patrao, Martin, Penney, Gianetto, and Sevesi.

We see in River Plate history that River’s initial Primera Division title in 1920 arrived after Racing Club’s remarkable streak of seven consecutive championships.

Despite this, Racing Club finished in 2nd place, acknowledging River’s commendable campaign.

In 1923, River relocated to a new stadium in Buenos Aires’ Recoleta district, situated on Alvear Avenue and Tagle.

The club had entered into a contract with the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway, the landowners, for a 5-year term with a monthly rent of $500.

River continued leasing the land through successive contracts until 1935, when the last two-year agreement was signed, with the rent increased to $3,500.

Architects Bernardo Messina and Juan Vaggo oversaw the stadium’s construction, and River played its home games at Alvear y Tagle until 1938.

With the advent of professionalism in 1931, River Plate secured the services of right-wing Carlos Peucelle for $10,000 in the same year. It acquired Bernabe Ferreyra for $35,000 in 1932, a substantial sums during that era.

This led to the nickname “Los Millonarios” (“The Millionaires”), a moniker that endures to this day.

Ferreyra, the top scorer with 43 goals, played a pivotal role in River’s success.

In 1932, both River and Independiente finished in the top position, necessitating a playoff match to determine the champion.

River emerged victorious, defeating Independiente 3–0 and clinching its second top-division title in Argentine football.

Constant Victories Followed by a Move to Their New Home, Estadio Monumental

Constant Victories Followed by a Move to Their New Home, Estadio Monumental
credit: pinterest

Not only did River secure its second league title in 1932, but it also triumphed in the Copa de Competencia, a national cup organized by the dissident “Liga Argentina de Football,” overcoming Estudiantes de La Plata 3–1.

This marked the year when the team reverted to the historic red sash uniform, prompted by club president Antonio Liberti.

In the 1936 season, River achieved dual championships, claiming the “Copa Campeonato” (regular season) and the “Copa de Oro” after defeating San Lorenzo in the final.

Additionally, River won its first Copa Aldao (played between the Argentine and Uruguay champions) in 1936 by dominating Penarol 5–1 in Montevideo.

The following year, River secured the league title again, accumulating 58 points in 34 matches, with an impressive record of 106 goals scored and only 43 conceded.

Jose Manuel Moreno emerged as the top scorer with 37 goals, complemented by notable players Adolfo Pedernera, Renato Cesarini, and Jose Maria Minella.

The team not only clinched the league but also the Copa Aldao, defeating Penarol once more by 5–2 at Estadio Gasometro in Buenos Aires.

In 1937, the club also triumphed in the Copa Ibarguren with a convincing 5–0 victory over Rosario Central at Estadio Gasometro.

On May 25, 1938, the Estadio Monumental was officially inaugurated with a match between River and Penarol, culminating in a 3–1 victory for River.

The 1940s is widely regarded as one of the most successful periods in River Plate history.

River Plate secured league titles in 1941 (44 points, 19 wins, 6 draws, 5 losses; 75 goals scored) and 1942 (46 points, 79 goals), along with national cups Carlos Ibarguren (1941–42) and Adrian Escobar (1941), and international Copa Aldao victories in 1941, 1945, and 1947.

The Golden 40s

River Plate history - The Golden 40s
credit: wikipedia

The pinnacle of success in 1941 saw River Plate clinch four titles: the local championship, a third Copa Aldao by decisively defeating Nacional in two matches (including a 6–1 triumph in the first game), the Copa Ibarguren with a 3–0 win over Newell’s Old Boys, and the Copa Adrian C. Escobar by overcoming Huracan.

Four years later, in 1945, River secured two more titles—the league championship and another Copa Aldao by defeating Penarol for the third consecutive time in both Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

The following year in River Plate history, they achieved its third Copa Ibarguren, dominating a Cordoba Province representative team 7–0 in the final.

Despite being runner-up in 1943 and 1944, the team’s formidable attack, known as “La Maquina” (“The Machine”), featured legends such as Juan Carlos Munoz, Jose Manuel Moreno, Adolfo Pedernera, Angel Labruna, and Felix Loustau, leaving an indelible mark despite playing only 18 matches together.

In 1945, River claimed another title, with Labruna as the top scorer with 25 goals.

Although Moreno had departed, new arrivals like center-midfielder Nestor Rossi bolstered the squad.

The 1947 season brought another league championship, with 48 points, 90 goals scored, and only 30 conceded.

Emerging talents included goalkeeper Amadeo Carrizo and center-forward Alfredo Di Stefano from the youth categories.

Di Stefano led the team in scoring with 27 goals, and the squad secured its 5th Copa Aldao after defeating Nacional in the finals.

Following a footballers’ strike in 1948, several players, including “Pipo” Rossi and Di Stefano, moved to Colombia.

River finished in 2nd position in the 1948 and 1949 tournaments.

In 1951, River embarked on a European tour, and the team clinched the championship in the subsequent year with 40 points, 17 wins, 6 draws, and 7 losses.

No More Titles For a Long Time

No More Titles For a Long Time

In 1953, River secured another title, scoring 60 goals and conceding only 36.

The addition of “Pipo” Rossi (returning from Millonarios of Colombia), Federico Vairo (acquired from Rosario Central), and the emergence of Enrique Omar Sivori from the youth categories propelled River to consecutive titles in 1955, 1956, and 1957—a historic achievement for the club.

River Plate also secured its sixth Copa Aldao in 1955 against Nacional, marking a record for the tournament, as it was the last year it was held.

After the 1957 South American Championship in Lima, Peru, Sivori was acquired by Juventus F.C. for $10 million, a sum that River used to complete the grandstands of the Estadio Monumental.

Following the 1958 World Cup, where Labruna played wearing the #10 jersey in place of Sivori, the club experienced a prolonged period without securing any titles.

On October 12, 1959, Angel Labruna retired from football at the age of 41.

Labruna remains the all-time top scorer in Argentine football, sharing this distinction with independence forward Arsenio Erico, who scored 293 goals in 514 matches played.

Additionally, Labruna is revered as one of the greatest idols in River Plate history.

Throughout the 1960s, River Plate faced a title drought, enduring a challenging period that stretched until 1975—a span of 18 years without any championships.

The team struggled to secure silverware despite fielding talented players like Ermindo Onega, Jose Ramos Delgado, prolific scorer Luis Artime, Vladislao Cap, and Oscar Mas.

The club’s best performance during this era was a 2nd place finish.

Notable missed opportunities included losing the title to arch-rival Boca Juniors in 1962, highlighted by the famous penalty shot saved by Antonio Roma against Delem.

Angel Labruna Coming to the Rescue

Angel Labruna Coming to the Rescue
credit: facebook

Another chance slipped away in 1968 when Velez Sarsfield claimed the championship in a mini-tournament organized to determine the winner, as River, Velez, and Racing finished the season tied for first place.

Additionally, the 1969 final against Chacarita Juniors resulted in a 4–1 defeat for River after they had advanced past Boca Juniors in the semifinals through goal average following a 0–0 draw.

In the 1966 Copa Libertadores final against Uruguayan team Penarol, River held a 2–0 lead at halftime. Penarol mounted a comeback, forcing extra time and eventually winning 4–2, securing the South American championship.

The team’s performance in that match led to the pejorative nickname “Gallinas” (“Chicken”), used by rivals to taunt River’s players and supporters, a nickname that persists to this day.

In 1975, Angel Labruna assumed the role of the team’s coach, overseeing River’s triumphant return to championship glory after an 18-year title drought.

River secured two titles, the 1975 Metropolitano and Nacional tournaments, under Labruna’s guidance.

Key players in this successful squad included goalkeeper Ubaldo Fillol, defenders Roberto Perfumo and Daniel Passarella, midfielders Juan Jose Lopez, Reinaldo “Mostaza” Merlo, and Norberto Alonso, as well as strikers Carlos Morete and Oscar Mas.

In 1976, River reached the Copa Libertadores finals against Brazilian team Cruzeiro.

After each team secured a victory, a decisive third match in Santiago, Chile, saw Cruzeiro emerge victorious with a 3–2 scoreline.

The success continued in 1977 as River clinched the Metropolitano championship, featuring the same core players alongside additions like striker Leopoldo Luque and left-wing Oscar Ortiz.

River Plate history depicts that for the 1978 World Cup hosted in Argentina, River contributed five players to the national team that went on to win the championship: Fillol, Luque, Passarella, Ortiz, and Alonso.

Almost Relegated to Primera B

River Plate history - Almost Relegated to Primera B
credit: facebook

In 1979, River achieved a remarkable treble, winning the 1979 Metropolitano and Nacional, along with the 1980 Metropolitano tournaments. Standout players during these seasons included Fillol, Alberto Tarantini, Luque, and Emilio Commisso.

Angel Labruna, the club’s all-time top scorer, not only left an indelible mark as a player but also secured six titles as the coach of the first-division team.

In 1981, Alfredo Di Stefano succeeded Labruna as the coach.

The same year, Boca Juniors acquired Diego Maradona, causing a significant impact in Argentine football.

To counter this, River Plate signed national team top scorer Mario Kempes, along with other players like defender Julio Olarticoechea and Americo Gallego.

With these additions and a solid defensive line, River became the 1981 Torneo Nacional champion, defeating Ferro Carril Oeste in the finals with identical 1–0 scores.

Norberto Alonso, a revered figure in River Plate history, did not participate in the first team due to differences with Di Stefano.

In 1982, several players instrumental in River’s recent success, including Alonso, Kempes, Ramon Diaz, and Daniel Passarella, departed from the club.

River Plate faced eliminations from the Copa Libertadores at the hands of Flamengo and Penarol, with the latter becoming the champion.

In 1983, Fillol left the club due to financial disputes with the institution.

To fill the void left by Alonso’s departure, River Plate signed Uruguayan midfielder Enzo Francescoli in 1983.

This year proved to be one of the worst in the club’s history, finishing 18th out of 19 teams.

However, a restructuring of the Argentine football league system at the season’s start spared River from relegation to Primera B.

In 1984, Hector Veira took over as the coach, leading River to a runner-up position in the 1984 Torneo Nacional, losing the final to Ferro Carril Oeste.

Trying to Recapture Their Former Glory

Trying to Recapture Their Former Glory

The following year, a restructured league system introduced a new tournament, and River triumphed in the inaugural 1985–86 tournament, securing the championship with six games to spare.

The team won 23 matches, drew 10, and suffered only 3 losses, with Enzo Francescoli emerging as the top scorer.

In 1986, River achieved a historic milestone by winning its first Copa Libertadores, defeating America de Cali in the finals (2–1 in Cali and 1–0 in Buenos Aires).

The team continued its success by capturing the Intercontinental Cup against Steaua Bucuresti with a 1–0 victory in Tokyo.

The pinnacle of this era was marked by winning the 1986 Copa Interamericana (played in 1987) against Costa Rica’s L.D. Alajuelense.

Following Veira’s departure, Carlos Griguol took charge for the 1987–88 season, and Cesar Menotti assumed coaching duties for the 1988–89 season.

Despite acquiring renowned players such as Angel Comizzo, Omar Palma, Claudio Borghi, Abel Balbo, Jorge da Silva, and Daniel Passarella’s return from Italy, the team did not deliver a strong performance.

In 1990, Daniel Passarella took on the role of coach, securing victory in the 1989–90 tournament and guiding River Plate to the Copa Libertadores semi-finals, where Barcelona de Guayaquil eliminated them.

River Plate history lets us know that the year 1991 marked the start of River’s longest period without victories against Boca Juniors, spanning 13 matches.

Despite this, Ramon Diaz’s return to the club in 1991 coincided with River clinching the 1991 Apertura, with Diaz as the top scorer, netting 14 goals.

Ramon Diaz left again in 1993 (this time for Yokohama Marinos). Still, River Plate claimed the 1993 Apertura with a squad featuring promising youth talents such as Ariel Ortega, Marcelo Gallardo, and Hernan Crespo.

Ramon Diaz as Manager and the 96/97 Legendary Squad

Ramon Diaz as Manager and the 96/97 Legendary Squad

In 1994, Enzo Francescoli returned, contributing to another title – the 1994 Apertura – with River Plate.

This season marked the club’s first unbeaten run in its history.

After a brief stint with coach Carlos Babington, Ramon Diaz returned in 1995, a fact regarding River Plate managers history.

River secured its second Copa Libertadores the following year, triumphing over America de Cali in the finals.

Hernan Crespo’s two goals in the decisive match secured the Cup by goal average.

River went on to achieve its third treble, winning the 1996 Apertura, 1997 Clausura, and 1997 Apertura.

Internationally, River secured the 1997 Supercopa Sudamericana – a first in River Plate history – by defeating Sao Paulo in the finals, featuring standout performances from Marcelo Salas and Marcelo Gallardo.

Following these triumphs, Enzo Francescoli retired, and River overcame his absence two years later.

The 1996/1997 River Plate team is widely regarded as one of the best in South American football history, boasting stars like Francescoli, Salas, Julio Cruz, Ariel Ortega, Marcelo Gallardo, Juan Pablo Sorin, German Burgos, Celso Ayala, Matias Almeyda, Sergio Berti, or Santiago Solari.

In 1999, River claimed its last title under the coaching of Ramon Diaz, securing the Apertura tournament with Javier Saviola as the top scorer (15 goals).

Saviola also holds the distinction of being the youngest player to debut for River Plate, making his first appearance at the age of 16.

Pablo Aimar was another key player and vital playmaker during this period.

That same year, Argentine sports magazine El Grafico #4172 bestowed the title of “Champions of the Century” (“Campeon Del Siglo”) upon River Plate, recognizing the club’s achievements, particularly its 30 Primera Division titles compared to Boca Juniors’ 24 and Independiente’s 15.

100 Years of Play

River Plate history - 100 Years of Play

On May 25, 2001, River Plate celebrated its centenary with a march named “Monumental Caravan” and a friendly match against Penarol of Uruguay.

However, 2001 marked a year without a title for River, as they were eliminated in the Libertadores quarter-finals against Cruz Azul.

That year saw the transfers of Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola to Valencia and Barcelona, respectively.

In 2002, Ramon Diaz returned as coach, leading River to victory in the Clausura tournament and securing his seventh title.

This triumph included a memorable 3-0 victory against Boca at the Bombonera.

Ramon Diaz departed at the end of the year due to disagreements with President Jose Maria Aguilar.

In 2003, River won the Clausura tournament under the management of Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini, featuring players like Leonardo Astrada (who retired at the end of the tournament), D’Alessandro, Fernando Cavenaghi, Javier Mascherano, and Martin Demichelis.

Under the management of Leonardo Astrada in 2004, River achieved the Clausura tournament, marking its thirty-second domestic championship.

The team returned to the Copa Libertadores semi-finals against Boca Juniors, experiencing a heated encounter with incidents between players from both clubs.

Boca won 1–0 in the first leg, and River won 2–1 in the Monumental, but they were ultimately eliminated in the penalty shootout.

Post the Copa America and Olympic Games (where the Argentina national team won its first gold medal with Mascherano and Lucho Gonzalez as part of the team), River sold most of its star players, with Cavenaghi, Lucho Gonzalez, Javier Mascherano, Marcelo Salas, and Maximiliano Lopez departing.

River Plate history states that in 2008, Diego Simeone assumed the managerial role, leading the club to its first league title in four years by winning the Clausura championship.

However, the following season witnessed a decline in form, prompting Simeone’s mid-season resignation.

Jose Maria Resigning and Their First-ever Relegation

Jose Maria Resigning and Their First-ever Relegation

River finished last in the Apertura 2008, marking the first time in 107 years that they had finished at the bottom of a league.

In 2011, River Plate confronted both institutional and sporting crises.

Jose Maria Aguilar exited the club presidency, leaving behind a debt exceeding 75 million dollars, and was succeeded by Daniel Passarella.

The team concluded the 2008 Apertura tournament at the bottom of the table, and their poor performance persisted through the 2011 Clausura tournament.

Consequently, River engaged in the Promocion, a two-legged play-off against Belgrano de Cordoba, the fourth-placed team of the 2010–11 Primera B Nacional.

Belgrano secured a 2–0 victory in the first leg in Cordoba and maintained a 1–1 draw at El Monumental.

With this defeat, they experienced relegation to Nacional B for the first time in River Plate history.

The second match was marred by rioting in the stadium and its surroundings during injury time, continuing after the match despite a substantial police presence.

Shortly after River’s relegation, Juan Jose Lopez resigned as manager.

Matías Almeyda retired as a player when River faced relegation and assumed the role of the team’s coach.

Additionally, Fernando Cavenaghi and Alejandro Dominguez returned to the club to play in the second division.

In January 2012, David Trezeguet and Leonardo Ponzio joined the club for the second half of Nacional.

In June 2012, River secured the title after defeating Almirante Brown 2–0 in the last fixture, thereby returning to Primera Division for the 2012–13 season.

Just a week later, River’s reserve team, coached by Cesar Laraignee, won the U-20 Copa Libertadores in Lima, Peru, defeating Defensor Sporting of Uruguay 1–0 in the final.

Marcelo Gallardo Leading the Team

Marcelo Gallardo Leading the Team

Following conflicts with the President, the club dismissed manager Matias Almeyda on November 28, 2012, only two rounds before the end of the Torneo Inicial.

The next day, it was announced that Ramon Diaz would become River’s coach for the third time in history.

River Plate’s first squad secured the 2014 Copa Sudamericana after 17 years without Conmebol titles.

On May 18, 2014, River claimed their 36th national league title by clinching the 2014 Torneo Final with a resounding 5–0 victory over Quilmes.

A week later, they won the 2013–14 Superfinal against 2013 Torneo Inicial champion San Lorenzo de Almagro.

Following these victories, Ramon Diaz immediately resigned amidst the celebrations for both championships.

River Plate history informs us that Marcelo Gallardo was confirmed as the new coach for River several days later.

His team received high praise for their playing style at the beginning of the season, but the demands of competing in three different tournaments took a toll.

Despite challenges, the first team secured its first CONMEBOL tournament in 17 years on December 10, winning the 2014 Copa Sudamericana.

River Plate defeated Colombian team Atletico Nacional in the finals with a 3–1 aggregate score (1–1 in the first leg away and 2–0 in the second leg at home).

Prior to this, River Plate had overcome Godoy Cruz, Club Libertad, Estudiantes (LP), and arch-rival Boca Juniors.

As 2014 Copa Sudamericana champions, River contested the 2015 Recopa Sudamericana against 2014 Copa Libertadores champions San Lorenzo, winning both legs 1–0 to secure their first Recopa Sudamericana.

River embarked on an unbeaten streak in the 2015 Argentine Primera Division’s first 10 matches, which concluded with a 2–0 loss to Boca Juniors at La Bombonera.

Gallardo, Hailed as One of River Plate’s Best Coaches

Gallardo, Hailed as One of River Plate’s Best Coaches

They also participated in the 2014-15 Copa Argentina, exiting with a 0–2 loss to Rosario Central in the round of 32.

In the 2015 Copa Libertadores campaign, River faced challenges, including a 2–0 away defeat to Bolivian side San Jose.

After overcoming difficulties in the group stage, they advanced to the knockout stage, notably beating Boca Juniors 1–0 in the first leg at El Monumental.

The second leg at La Bombonera was suspended after River players were attacked with pepper spray while returning to the field at halftime, resulting in Boca’s disqualification from the tournament.

River continued their journey, winning the 2015 Copa Libertadores after defeating Tigres UANL 3–0 in the final.

Despite this success, River’s domestic form declined, finishing in ninth place with 3 draws and 6 losses in their last 12 matches.

On November 11, 2018, River drew 2–2 with Boca Juniors in the first leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final, followed by a 3–1 victory in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid’s home ground, securing their fourth Copa Libertadores title.

Despite Gallardo’s suspension, his coaching played a crucial role in the historic victory, earning him acclaim as one of River Plate’s finest managers.

Recent Years

Recent Years

Following their triumph in the 2019 Recopa Sudamericana, Gallardo became River Plate’s most successful coach, amassing ten titles.

Heading into the early 2020s, Brazilian teams outshone their Argentine counterparts in CONMEBOL tournaments, benefiting from greater competitiveness in their domestic leagues and economic advantages.

Despite Gallardo’s consistent efforts in team-building, River Plate faced challenges against Brazilian teams, notably experiencing a setback in the 2021 Copa Libertadores quarter-finals.

However, River Plate history says that the team bounced back to secure the Argentine league title, and Gallardo equaled Angel Labruna’s record of 22 titles.

As his contract neared expiration amidst speculation, Gallardo chose to extend for at least one more year before announcing on November 16, 2022, that he would not be renewing, opting for a brief coaching break.

Martin Demichelis assumed the role of River Plate’s head coach, with a contract extending until December 2025.

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River Plate Stadiums

River Plate Stadiums

Since its establishment in 1901, River Plate has undergone a series of stadium relocations.

The journey began with Darsena Sur.

The team briefly moved to Sarandi in Greater Buenos Aires in 1906 before returning to Darsena Sur in 1907.

Subsequently, River Plate constructed a stadium in La Boca at the intersection of Pinzon and Gaboto streets in 1915.

A move to Alvear y Tagle in the Recoleta district followed in 1923, utilizing lands that once belonged to Juan Manuel de Rosas.

Finally, River Plate history tells us that since 1938, the club has called the Antonio V. Liberti Stadium, commonly known as the Monumental, its home.

This stadium was built on the grounds of the former Bajo Belgrano Horse racing track, providing a stable and enduring venue for River Plate’s games.

The Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, officially known as Estadio Mas Monumental for sponsorship reasons and commonly referred to as the “River Plate Stadium,” “Monumental de Nunez,” or simply “El Monumental,” is located in Belgrano, Buenos Aires.

Serving as the home venue for Club Atletico River Plate, the stadium was inaugurated on May 26, 1938, and bears the name of former club president Antonio Vespucio Liberti (1900–1978).

As the largest stadium in both Argentina and all of South America, it boasts a seating capacity of 86,049 and is the official home of the Argentina national football team.

Notably, the Estadio Monumental was a key venue for the 1951 Pan American Games and hosted the 1978 FIFA World Cup Final between Argentina and the Netherlands.

Over the years, it has also been selected for four Copa America finals, with the most recent one taking place in 2011.

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River Plate Kit History

River Plate Kit History

The River Plate uniform stands as an iconic and easily recognizable symbol, a tribute to the club’s profound history and traditions.

Characterized by the classic white and red stripes, the design maintains a timeless aesthetic with its traditional horizontal stripe pattern, a fact regarding River Plate jersey history.

In the 2020/21 season, the home jersey retained the iconic white background and red stripe while incorporating innovative details that modernized the construction of the shoulders and neck.

At the forefront of the new jersey was “La Banda Eterna,” the club’s enduring red stripe running across the shoulders, intersecting the brand’s iconic 3 Stripes in gray.

The 2022-23 home shirt, crafted by Adidas, introduced a retro-inspired theme featuring a dual-toned red sash on a white base, complemented by a nostalgic 90s-style collar.

The ensemble is now completed with black shorts and white socks with red stripes.

Adidas, River Plate’s uniform supplier since 1982, entered into a substantial partnership with the club, securing one of the largest sponsorship deals globally, second only to German club Bayern Munich.

The landmark US$60 million agreement signed in 2015, extending the deal until 2021, marked the most expensive kit agreement in the history of Argentine football.

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River Plate Badge History

River Plate Badge History

Initially, when the River Plate jersey was introduced, it did not include a badge, and its presence varied throughout history, adapting to the designs of different eras.

In its current form, the badge is embroidered on the jersey, showcasing three colors—red, white, and black.

The design mirrors that of the jersey, incorporating a red stripe that crosses it.

The acronym of the club (CARP) is displayed in black, set against a white background in a stylized design.

In 1984, when Hugo Santilli assumed the chairmanship, he initiated a competition to select a new emblem with the primary goal of eliminating the derogatory nickname “Gallinas” (Chicken) used by River’s rivals, particularly Boca Juniors fans.

River Plate logo history shows that various artists from Argentina participated in the competition, and the club ultimately opted for a logo designed by the artist Caloi.

This emblem featured the depiction of a lion, adorned in a River jersey, emerging from the Monumental stadium.

The lion logo was swiftly incorporated into the uniforms, both on the field and in training attire, coinciding with River Plate’s victories in the Copa Libertadores de America and European/South American Cup under this emblem.

However, when Santilli departed from the club in 1989, the lion emblem went with him and has not been reintroduced since.

In February 2022, River Plate unveiled its new corporate image, which involved an updated logo and a typography exclusively designed for the club.

This corporate image was conceived and developed by “Grupo Berro,” a branding and design studio that had been diligently working on the project for over two years.

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River Plate Rivalries History

River Plate Rivalries History

The Superclasico is the highly anticipated football match in Argentina featuring the Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate.

The term “Superclasico” is derived from the Spanish use of “clasico,” meaning derby, with the prefix “super” emphasizing the significance of the match, given that both clubs are the most popular and successful in Argentine football.

River Plate history reveals that the term ‘Clasico’ itself originated in Argentina, particularly associated with this matchup, and later spread to other countries such as Spain and Mexico.

According to statistics, these two teams collectively capture more than 70% of all Argentine football fans.

The Superclasico is renowned globally as one of the fiercest and most crucial derbies.

In April 2004, The Observer, an English newspaper, ranked the Superclasico at the top of their list of “50 sporting things you must do before you die,” emphasizing that “Derby day in Buenos Aires makes the Old Firm game look like a primary school kick-about.”

In 2016, the British football magazine FourFourTwo hailed it as the “biggest derby in the world.”

During the same year, The Daily Telegraph labeled this match as the “biggest club rivalry in world football,” and the Daily Mirror ranked it as the number one football derby globally in 2017, placing it above El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

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Names & Nicknames

Names & Nicknames

The selection of the name “River Plate” took place in 1901 when the team was situated in the La Boca neighborhood, adjacent to the Rio de la Plata (“River Plate” in certain English sources).

Several proposed names, including “Club Atletico Forward,” “Juventud Boquense,” and “La Rosales,” were turned down.

River Plate history says that the inspiration for the chosen name came from Pedro Martinez, who noticed the name “The River Plate” on shipping containers.

This suggestion was ultimately accepted as the official name.

River Plate supporters and the media affectionately refer to the team as Los Millonarios (The Millionaires).

This moniker originated in the 1930s following high-profile player transfers from other clubs, notably Carlos Peucelle from Sportivo Buenos Aires in 1931 and Bernabe Ferreyra from Tigre in 1932.

Additionally, owing to the red band on their shirt, River is commonly known as El Equipo de la Banda (the team with the band) or simply La Banda (meaning “the stripe” but also signifying “the band” in both the “gang” and “musical group” senses).

The forwards of River Plate from 1941 to 1946 earned the nickname La Maquina (The Machine) due to their remarkable synchronization and movements on the field.

During the 1950s, there was another River Plate team known as La Maquinita (The Little Machine), paying homage to its predecessor.

Managed by Jose Maria Minella, this team earned the nickname by securing five championships in six years (1952–57).

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Fan Base

Fan Base

In 2016, a study conducted by a European sports marketing agency on football teams with the highest number of members globally placed River Plate in the sixth position with 123,665 members, the highest count in the Americas.

Barcelona of Spain and Benfica of Portugal led this ranking.

In a separate 2018 ranking by the Bundesliga on football clubs with the most members, River Plate secured the sixth position with 146,000 members, surpassing prominent clubs like FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF, and Manchester United F.C., among others.

In a recent 2023 ranking, River Plate holds the fourth position globally with 281,217 members, ranking second in Argentina and South America.

On October 8, 2012, a caravan unveiled “The world’s longest football flag,” with approximately 15,000 supporters participating.

The 7,830-meter flag was created entirely by fans and carried through the streets of Buenos Aires.

In 2015, during the FIFA Club World Cup, River Plate faced Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Nagai Stadium in Osaka on December 16 and played the final against FC Barcelona on December 20 at the International Stadium Yokohama.

An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 River Plate supporters traveled to Japan during that period, setting a record for the competition.

River Plate has official subsidiaries in provinces like Santa Fe, Tucuman, Cordoba, Entre Rios, Mendoza, Tierra del Fuego, and Catamarca, among others.

Unofficial fan clubs exist in all Latin American countries, as well as in Spain, Italy, England, Israel, Australia, Germany, the United States, and New Zealand.

About River Plate mascot history, the club has never featured an official mascot.

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Damian Cade
Damian Cade
He is an enthusiastic senior writer for Footbalium who leans towards writing and researching the history of football clubs and players' life stories.


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