Argentinian side Boca Juniors is one of the most iconic clubs in South American, and probably world football. They’ve produced a long line of world class players who have found themselves playing in Europe and have won so many cups, that they should be considered a massive club on a global scale. They play in the Argentine Primera División and have developed a wonderfully colourful history which is perhaps defined by the eternal rivalry between city counterparts River Plate.
This article focusses on the clubs European tour of 1925 where they played nineteen matches in total. The Argentines had an unbelievable tour with a record of fifteen wins, three losses, and drawing only once, while scoring forty goals and conceding just sixteen.
With the Uruguay national team lifting the 1924 Olympics Gold with ease in Paris, the Argentinian Football Association wanted to send the national team to Europe. Boca Juniors executives petitioned the Association to send the club instead with the FA accepting their offer. In doing so Boca Juniors were given the chance to follow Uruguayan club Nacional, who had toured Europe a few months before. Nacional played a total of forty-two matches on tour with a record of 26 wins, seven draws and only five losses. The Uruguayans plundered 130 goals, only giving up 30 in the process.
The club sent a large contingent to Europe, including several players from other clubs in Argentina: Manuel Seoane (El Porvenir) who went on to become an Independiente legend, Cesáreo Onzari (Huracán), Luis Vaccaro (Argentinos Juniors), Octavio Díaz (Rosario Central), and Roberto Cochrane (Tito Federal). Part of the delegation also included a two executives – Vice President Adelio Cariboni and Secretary Vicente Decap.
The majority of the contingent were made up of Boca Juniors players – Américo Tesoriere, Ludovico Bidoglio, Ramón Muttis, Segundo Médici, Alfredo Elli, Mario Busso, Domingo Tarasconi, Antonio Cerrotti, Dante Pertini, Carmelo Pozzo, Carlos Antraygues and Alfredo Garasini. The managers were Tarasconi and Elli.
The top scorer for the tour was Manuel Seoane who scored twelve goals in sixteen matches.
Like with a lot of football at that time, the tour and the club was run by immigrants, but unlike what happened in most instances it wasn’t the British. Three Spanish immigrants Zapater, Isasmendi and Ibáñez who became the first entreprenuers in Argentine football organised the tour. If reports are led to be believed the original idea of the European adventure came from Natalio Botana, the director of the main newspaper Crítica, one of the countries main newspapers.
The club left Buenos Aries on 4th February, 1925 for the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, where they left on a steamboat called Formosa. Twenty-two days later, their voyage ended in the city of Vigo on the Atlantic coast of north-west Spain. The tour began in the city with two matches against Celta Vigo with Antonio Cerrotti scoring the first ever goal by an Argentine footballer in Europe in the second minute of the first game.
During the match, the roof of a nearby factory collapsed while the workers perched on top watching the proceedings. The match was put on hold for sixteen minutes with Boca Juniors eventually winning 3-1. Just three days later Celta Vigo won the return match by the same score line.
Next Boca travelled to the Galician city of La Coruña for another two matches, this time against Deportivo La Coruña on March 12th and 15th. The Argentines won both matches 3-0 and 1-0 respectively. In that first match Tesoriere saved a penalty, making him the first Argentine goalie to save a one in Europe.
The next stop on the Spanish tour was to Madrid were they defeated Atlético Madrid 2-1 and then Real Madrid 1-0. King Alfonso XIII and his son the Prince of Asturias were at the match with the referee stopping the play in the 10th minute to allow the players on the pitch to salute them. The next leg of the tour was in Bilbao in northern Spain where the club lost both matches – 4-0 to Real Unión and 4-2 to Athletic Bilbao.
The Spanish tour then moved to Pamplona where Boca defeated Osasuna 1-0 before heading to Barcelona to beat Espanyol 1-0 and 3-0 in two matches. There last game in Spain took place on 3rd May in a game where they were 2-0 winners against a Catalonia XI side.
From Spain the team travelled to Germany for five games and France for one before returning to Buenos Aires on July 12, 1925, after a month long trip across the Atlantic Ocean. A massive crowd of supporters received them as heroes.
Each member was given the honorary title “Champions of Honor” with the club being crowned “Champion of Honor” by the Argentine FA. Boca Juniors took the season off in 1925, which was won by Huracán in Boca’s absence. The club then returned to the Primera División championship in 1926, which they won with ease going unbeaten throughout the whole season.