Madrid: Boca Juniors players have had enough of all the talk about the Copa Libertadores chaos and say it is time to start focusing on the match.
The squad have been training in Madrid ahead of Sunday’s rearranged final second leg against Argentine rivals River Plate at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
“It’s important to have a clear mind and to try to focus as quick as possible on what is the most important thing ahead of us right now, which is a Copa Libertadores final,” Boca forward Carlos Tevez said. “What we have to talk about is this match.”
Boca and River drew the first leg 2-2 at the former’s La Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires. The return match was due to be staged at River’s Monumental Stadium in the same city on November 24, but was postponed after fans attacked the bus taking Boca players to the game.
After back-and-forth discussions about what to do with the match, South American soccer’s ruling body Conmebol moved it to Madrid because of security concerns.
“That’s all in the past now,” Boca midfielder Wilmar Barrios said. “We will be playing an important match, at a great stadium, and hopefully it will be a nice spectacle.”
Tens of thousands of fans are expected to travel from Buenos Aires to watch the match.
“It’s important to have their support here. We know things are not easy in Argentina,” Tevez said. “I’m sorry for the fans, but this is not the players’ fault. It’s Conmebol that decided to play a Copa Libertadores match here without thinking about the fans or about the players.”
Heavy security is expected, with the authorities concerned about the violent fan groups that could be arriving. There have already been reports in the Spanish media of isolated altercations among supporters of both teams.