La Bombonera

The Estadio Alberto J. Armando is an association football stadium located in La Boca district of Buenos Aires. Widely known as La Bombonera (Spanish pronunciation: [la βomboˈneɾa]; English: The chocolate box[3]) due to its shape, with a "flat" stand on one side of the pitch and three steep stands round the rest of the stadium.[4][5][6] It has a capacity of 49,000.[1]

Estadio Alberto J. Armando
La Bombonera
Full nameEstadio Alberto J. Armando
Former namesEstadio Boca Juniors (1940–86)
Estadio Camilo Cichero (1986–2000)
LocationBrandsen 805 CP 1161
La Boca, Buenos Aires
OwnerBoca Juniors
Record attendance57,395 (Boca JuniorsSan Lorenzo, 25 May 1940)[2]
Field size105 x 68 m
Broke ground18 February 1938
Opened25 May 1940 (1940-05-25)
ArchitectJosé Luis Delpini, Viktor Sulčič, Raúl Bes

The stadium is owned by Boca Juniors, one of Argentina's top football clubs, The unusual shape of the stadium has led to it having excellent acoustics and the Boca support being nicknamed "La Doce (The 12th man").[4] The pitch at La Bombonera is the minimum size required under FIFA regulations - 105m x 68m.

The stadium is widely regarded as one of the most emblematic stadiums of the world,[7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] and has been declared of public interest by the Government of Buenos Aires autonomous city.[17]

The stadium, as well as being the home of Boca Juniors, who have over 16 million fans (the highest in Argentina),[18] is also used as a concert venue. Past performers at La Bombonera have included Lenny Kravitz, Elton John, James Blunt, the Bee Gees, and the Backstreet Boys.



Previous to La Bombonera, Boca Juniors had used several locations before settling on their current ground on Brandsen. Club's first ground had been located in Dársena Sur[19] of the old Buenos Aires port (currently Puerto Madero) and Isla Demarchi[20][21] before moving to Brandsen and Del Crucero (currently Del Valle Iberlucea) streets in 1924. The club built a stadium there.[22] This would be used as home venue until the construction of La Bombonera on the same location.

In 1931, the Boca Juniors' steering committee (led by president Ruperto Molfino) acquired the lands to the Municipality of Buenos Aires for A$ 2,200,000. Three years later the club published a call for tenders to built its new stadium.[23] The project was finally granted to the Delpini-Sulcic-Bes architectural office.[24] which would be also design the Abasto Shopping in the 1990s.

The old stadium (still with wooden grandstands) was used for the last time on April 10, 1938, then being demolished to build the new stadium on the same location. While La Bombonera was under construction, Boca Juniors played their home games at Ferro Carril Oeste stadium.

Opening and later refurbishments

The stadium finally opened on May 25, 1940, with a friendly match between Boca and San Lorenzo, which the home side won 2-0 with both goals scored by Ricardo Alarcón. Due to the fact that the stadium did not have a lighting system, the game only lasted 70' (two halves of 35' each).

The first official game at the new stadium was on June 2, 1940, when Boca Juniors beat Newell's Old Boys by 2–0. Ricardo Alarcón (who had scored in the opening game v. San Lorenzo) scored the first official goal in the new venue.[25]

After the stadium was inaugurated, the club continued to introduce refurbishments to expand its capacity. As a result, on November 16, 1941, a second tier was opened on the north side of the stadium, near Casa Amarilla train station. The grandstand was named "Natalio Pescia" in honour of one of the key players in Boca Juniors' history.[26] In 1949 the club decided to add a third tier, adding also a lighting system. All of those works were completed in 1953;[27] this third tier gave the stadium its enduring nickname: La Bombonera.[4] Boca Juniors celebrated with a friendly match v. Yugoslav club NK Hajduk Split, which ended 1–1.[28]

The stadium was named on April 20, 1986, by team President Antonio Alegre in honor of Camilo Cichero, a former team president under whose tenure work on La Bombonera began. It was renamed on December 27, 2000, by team President Mauricio Macri in honor of Alberto Armando, team president during its resurgence during the 1960s as well as a former business partner of his father Francisco Macri. The stadium was expanded and modernized during Macri's tenure, notably with the addition in 1996 of a fourth tier; and a wing housing a press area, VIP boxes, a museum, and offices. The stadium's exterior was later decorated with works by painters Rómulo Macció and Pérez Celis.[29]

Since then, La Bombonera was not remodeled until 1996 when the presidency of Mauricio Macri decided to expand its capacity to 57,500 spectators. Works included the demolition of the lateral boxes on Del Valle Iberlucea street, replacing them by a small stand and new and modern boxes (with metallic structure) placed over there. The "new" Bombonera was reinaugurated with a friendly match v. Club Universidad de Chile won by Boca Juniors by 3–1.[30]

An electronic screen was installed in 2008,[31] therefore Boca Juniors stadium became the third venue with this technology after Vélez Sársfield and River Plate. At the beginning of 2012, more than 500 seats were replaced and other 500 were added, apart of building four additional boxes.

Origin of the name

The stadium is popularly known as La Bombonera. It is said that the nickname came along the project of Viktor Sulčič during the process of development. On occasion of Sulčič's birthday, a friend gave him a box of chocolates as a gift. After that, Sulčič used to go with the box at meetings with engineer Delpine and other persons that collaborated with the project to show them that the box shape was very like the one of the stadium they were designing.

Since then, the stadium would be known as La Bombonera ("box of chocolates" in Spanish) and that name has remained to present days. In fact, the opening day (May 25, 1940) the stadium was named that way even by the club executives.[32]

Nevertheless, there are other stories or myths about the origin of the nickname. One of them tells that Delpini projected the stands with a highly vertical grade of inclination to host 100,000 persons (which was the first project). The shape of the stands looked like the carts used to collect horses dung in the streets of Buenos Aires. Other version credits journalist Hugo Marini or broadcaster Joaquín Carballo Serantes (aka) "Fioravanti" for the Bombonera nickname.[33]

Despite its distinguished nickname, the first official denomination came on April 20, 1986, when it was named "Camilo Cichero" in commemoration of the president under whose tenure the stadium was projected and built.[34] That same day Boca Juniors defeated Talleres de Córdoba by 4–2. Nevertheless, president Mauricio Macri decided to change the stadium's name to "Alberto J. Armando", honoring long-time president of the club during two periods (1954–55, 1960–80).[35]


Panoramic view of Estadio Alberto J. Armando, mostly known as La Bombonera, taken in 2012.

La Bombonera currently has a capacity of around 48,000 and the club's popularity make tickets hard to find, especially for the Superclásico derby against River Plate.[5]

Out of its capacity of 49,000, there are 37,538 seats, 2,780 in boxes, and 8,682 standing. Both its interior and exterior are lined with a number of murals painted by the artist Pérez Celis depicting many of the club's legendary players and aspects of the district's culture, such as the life of Italian immigrants.[36]

In 1996 a small stand was built on the 4th side, which had been largely open until then, except for some VIP boxes.[37]

Diego Maradona, who played for and supports Boca Juniors, has his own executive box at the stadium.[5]

There are three parking lots at the stadium for members.[38]

Argentina national team on La Bombonera

The national team has played several games in La Bombonera, including qualifying matches to the FIFA World Cup. The squad played the most games since the 1920s to the mid-1970s. Since the Estadio Monumental of River Plate was completely refurbished for the 1978 WC, the Argentine Football Association fixtured the majority of Argentina's home games at that venue. That decision was based on the Monumental higher capacity and modern facilities in comparison with La Bombonera.

Playing at Boca Juniors stadium, Argentina was only defeated in two games, having played a total of 27 matches, winning 18 and losing 2 with 7 ties. The squad scored 67 goals and only conceded 27.[39] Some of the official and friendly games played by Argentina at the stadium (as of 29 May 2018) are listed below:

Game status Date Rival Score
Copa Lipton14 Nov 1956 Uruguay1–1
1958 FIFA WCQ20 Oct 1957 Chile4–0
1970 FIFA WCQ24 Aug 1969 Bolivia1–0
1970 FIFA WCQ31 Aug 1969 Peru2–2
Friendly8 Jan 1971 France3–4
Copa R. Castilla27 Jul 1973 Peru3–1
1974 FIFA WCQ9 Sep 1973 Bolivia4–0
1974 FIFA WCQ7 Oct 1973 Paraguay3–1
Friendly27 Feb 1977 Hungary5–1
Friendly29 May 1977 Poland3–1
Friendly5 Jun 1977 Germany1–3
Friendly12 June 1977 England1–1
Friendly18 Jun 1977 Scotland1–1
Friendly26 Jun 1977 France0–0
Copa F. Bogado24 Aug 1977 Paraguay2–1
Copa R. Castilla19 Mar 1978 Peru2–1
Friendly29 Mar 1978 Bulgaria3–1
Friendly5 Apr 1978 Romania2–0
Friendly19 Apr 1978 Republic of Ireland3–1
Friendly3 May 1978 Uruguay3–0
Friendly26 Nov 1992 Poland2–0
1998 FIFA WCQ16 Nov 1997 Colombia1–1
2012 SA21 Nov 2012 Brazil2–1
2018 FIFA WCQ5 Oct 2017 Peru0–0
Friendly29 May 2018 Haiti4–0

Boca Museum

The Passion of Boca Juniors Museum (Spanish: Museo de la Pasión Boquense) was opened in 2001 during the Mauricio Macri's administration.[40][41] It is located within the stadium, just below the grandstands. The Museum was built on two floors and chronicles the club's rise from 1905 (the year the club was established) to the present day.

One of the exhibits in the museum is a giant football with 360-degree footage of the club's fans and players at a match. The museum also includes a Hall of fame and a large mural of Diego Maradona. Also included are non-football items such as the specially commissioned blue and gold guitar played by Lenny Kravitz when he performed at La Bombonera in 2005.[42][43]

A giant statue of Boca Juniors' all-time topscorer, Martín Palermo, was unveiled in 2011. Other former players who have their statues honoring them are Diego Maradona and Román Riquelme[44] A total of seven Boca Juniors idols have been honored by the club with their respective monuments, they are Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Angel Clemente Rojas, Silvio Marzolini and Antonio Rattín, apart from Maradona, Palermo and Riquelme.

Carlos Bianchi was the first Boca Juniors manager to be honored with a statue, when a monument of his figure was unveiled in October 2016. Bianchi won 9 titles during his two tenures on the club (1998–2003), becoming the most winning manager in Boca Juniors' history. Under Bianchi's coaching, the team also set a record of 40 matches unbeaten, the biggest since Argentine football became professional in 1931.[45]


There are planned improvements for the stadium, including measures to ease crowd congestion, use of new technology in the stadium and improved corporate facilities. These include:[46]

  • Main gate, museum and megastore: Work is planned to be done on the main access to the stadium at 805 Brandsen which will include the construction of a megastore, and to then connect the main access with the store and the club's museum.
  • Third tier:Remodelling work to install further seating and improve spectator comfort.
  • Stadium gates: Building work to improve access and prevent crowd congestion is underway. The first phase focuses on improving access to the executive boxes and premium seats. In addition, new software and hardware will improve access control with regard to safety and quickness to prevent crowd congestion.
  • Creation of a corporate area: Businesses will have an area in the stadium with VIP service. One section in the second tier, is being re-designed with two executive boxes and more comfortable seating. The service will also provide businesses with season tickets to allow them to invite clients. It also includes transportation, museum visits and catering services.

In film

  • Some scenes of the 1969 film Invasión were shot in the deserted stadium.
  • The Danish film SuperClásico, has a part filmed in the stadium.

Further reading

  • Gaffney, Christopher Thomas. Temples of the Earthbound Gods: Stadiums in the Cultural Landscape of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-292-72165-4

See also


  1. "La Bombonera | El club". (in Spanish). CA Boca Juniors. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  2. "Ranking the Top 10 Most Iconic Stadiums in World Football". 12 April 2013.
  3. Ben Groundwater (20 September 2010). "Want to get to know a country? Head for the stadium". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  4. "10 Intimidating Stadiums (Worldwide)". Retrieved 2008-11-07.
  5. "Buenos Aires: In a liga of its own". The Independent. 27 January 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
  6. "Some of the world's scariest places to play or watch football". BBC News. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  7. 50 Sports Venues to Visit Before You Die, Bleacher Report, 26 Sep 2012
  8. Boca v. River, un espectáculo internacional, La Nación 15 Apr 2004
  9. «La Bombonera» inspira temor, Página/12
  10. Un día en el fútbol argentino, Diario Marca
  11. Marca y un día con la Doce
  12. La mítica Bombonera, como nunca antes la habías visto
  13. España, rendida a los pies de La Bombonera
  14. Así es La Bombonera, Liga BBVA
  15. Estadio copero, una fortaleza
  16. Vuelta por la Boca, Olé, 26 Mar 2015
  17. "La Bombonera" fue declarada de interés deportivo, turístico y cultural de la Ciudad,
  19. Cien años de multitud: El período amateur (1905–1930) by Horacio D. Rosatti – Ed. Galerna, 2008 ISBN 9789505565405
  20. "Breve historia de la isla Demarchi" on La Nación, 30 Ago 2012
  21. "La Pasion Boca-Boca and their stadiums" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  22. "La Bombonera" on Planeta Boca Juniors
  23. Memoria y balance de la AFA 1934 - Pág. 101
  24. El arquitecto olvidado, Página/12, 11 Apr 2010
  25. Juniors 2 - Newell's 0 on Historia de Boca
  26. El León de la defensa Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine on Museo Boquense
  27. "The Stadium". Club Atlético Boca Juniors. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
  28. Boca Juniors 1 - Hajduk Split (Yugoslavia) 1 on Historia de Boca
  29. "Boca Juniors y sus estadios". Club Atlético Boca Juniors. Archived from the original on 2013-03-18.
  30. Boca Juniors 3 –– Universidad (Chi) 1
  31. Lo miran por TV by Horacio García on Olé, 21 Jan 2008
  32. Una caja de bombones de regalo, Página/12, 26 Apr 2010
  33. La vida color de Boca, 100 años de una pasión argentina, vol. 1, published by La Nación, March 2005
  35. Los momentos de Mauricio Macri en Boca que marcaron su perfil político,, 23 Nov 2015
  36. "Fochada de la Bombonera". Bocacampeonweb. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  37. "La Bombonera". The Stadium Guide. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  38. "El Estadio: Alberto J. Armando" (in Spanish). Agrupación Nuevo Boca. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  40. Neumann, Jeannette (1 May 2008). "In Argentina, fans go wild for Boca Juniors". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
  41. "Buenos Aires Attractions - Boca Juniors Stadium and Museum". New York Times. Archived from the original on February 24, 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
  42. "Estadio Boca Juniors Review". Fodor's. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  43. "El Museo de la Pasión Bocquense" (in Spanish). Club Atlético Boca Juniors. Archived from the original on 2008-11-09. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
  44. "Palermo ya tiene su estatua gigante" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine Diario La Razón, Fecha: 20/08/2011
  45. El DT más ganador de la historia de Boca fue homenajeado con una pieza que se ubicará en el Museo del club; además, se llevó una réplica en miniatura by Patricio Insúa, La Nación, 7 Oct 2016
  46. "First in the World - Processes that have been certified with the maximum distinction". Club Atlético Boca Juniors. Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-11-07.

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