The Argentina first division makes its long-awaited return Friday with Matchday 1 rolling through Monday. Rosario Central and Argentinos Juniors kick things off at 5:15 p.m. ET on Friday as the 28-team league begins what is another highly-anticipated season with so much on the line, including qualification to the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Before the competition officially kicks off, here is everything you need to know:
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How to watch on TV, live stream
You can watch every Primera Division match live on Paramount+. Here's a look at the Matchday 1 slate:
Rosario Central vs. Angentinos Juniors, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Defensa y Justicia vs. Huracán, 7:30 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
San Lorenzo vs. Arsenal Sarandi, 3 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Talleres Córdoba vs.Independiente, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Estudiantes vs. Tigre, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Central Córdoba vs. River Plate, 7:30 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Platemse vs. Newell's Old Boys, 3 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Colón vs. Lanús, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Instituto ACC vs. Sarmiento, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Racing Club vs. Belgrano, 5:15 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Boca Juniors vs. Atlético Tucumán, 7:30 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Barracas Central vs. Godoy Cruz, 3 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Banfield vs. Unión, 6 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Vélez Sarsfield vs. Gimnasia, 6 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
The best GOLAZO'S come from Argentina. 🇦🇷— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) January 26, 2023
More bangers incoming from @LigaAFA_Eng as the 2023 season kicks off this Friday, January 27. 🔥
Catch every game live on @paramountplus. 📺 pic.twitter.com/qhxPfvHl2S
Boca Juniors, one of the most storied clubs in the world, are the reigning champions of the first division after beating out Racing Club in a wild end to the final day of the 2022 season. Both Boca and Racing Club entered the final day of the season with a chance to win, with Boca facing Racing's rival Independiente, and Racing facing Boca's rival, River Plate.
Boca entered the day with 51 points, a one-point lead over Racing. Boca held on to a 2-2 draw with Independiente to move to 52 points, meaning a win for Racing over River would have been enough to sneak away with the title.
At 1-1 and in the dying minutes, Racing received a penalty kick that they would take in the 90th minute, and finishing it surely would have won them the crown. Jonathan Galvan took the kick, had it blocked by Franco Armani and then proceeded to hit the rebound over the bar. River Plate would then put the nail in the coffin in the final minutes through Miguel Borja, allowing rival Boca Juniors to celebrate winning the league.
Here are the highlights of the Boca vs. Independiente match:
Our Nico Cantor takes you through the crazy finish here:
A new era for River Plate
Another golden era at River Plate, this time under Marcelo Gallardo, is over after the legendary manager stepped down after last season. With numerous trophies to his name, including two Copa Libertadores crowns, the team is now being led by former River, Bayern Munich and Argentina national team man Martin Demichelis.
The club is expected to compete for the league crown with Boca Juniors and other contenders with the team boasting some serious potential.
He's got a great foundation of players to work with, even with River having sold some top talent over the last year such as World Cup stars Enzo Fernandez (Benfica) and Julian Alvarez (Manchester City).
Nacho Fernandez returns to the club from Atletico Mineiro while Matias Kranevitter has also come back to Buenos Aires after a stint with Monterrey.
Two budding stars to watch
1. Facundo Farias, Colon: This kid is something special. A top talent who has dealt with unimaginable tragedy, serving as the latest inspiration for young Argentines aspiring to become professional soccer players. When he was a young child, he lost his mother. In 2020, he lost his 36-year-old father due to coronavirus, and then a year later his grandmother died after contracting the virus, according to TyC Sports.
After overcoming so much personally, he's turned into a prolific star who is so skillful and can destroy you with his creativity and finishing ability. He's got European star written all over him, and it shouldn't be long until he crosses the Atlantic.
2. Alan Varela, Boca Juniors: The next great defensive midfielder to come out of Argentina, already receiving comparisons to former Real Madrid and Boca Juniors man Fernando Gago, who coaches Racing Club. He's another guy who should be in Europe soon and has already been linked with Barcelona. He's superb defensively and does a great job of using his frame to shield off defenders, knowing exactly when to get the ball off of his feet into space.
Three familiar faces to keep an eye on
1. Ezequiel Barco, River Plate: Remember him, MLS fans? The former Atlanta United man never really took off in MLS and finds himself back in Argentina rather than in Europe, which was expected. On loan at the Buenos Aires giants, Barco came to prominence by leading Independiente to Copa Sudamericana glory back in 2017 and is looking to revive his career to make that move overseas.
2. Sergio Romero, Boca Juniors: The goalkeeper who led Argentina to the final of the 2014 World Cup is back home in Argentina and is all of a sudden expected to be thrown into the starting job at Boca. With star goalkeeper Agustin Rossi off to Al-Nassr to play with Cristiano Ronaldo, Romero now gets the chance for serious minutes, something he hasn't had in a long time. He gets to start for the reigning champions as they look to repeat, but Romero will have to come up big. Rossi had gone from a backup to a star, and with a sometimes suspect defense, he was relied on all too often to save his team. Romero may be just as busy.
But he usually isn't all that busy due to just rarely playing. Just look as he's played 185 league games since 2006.
Racing Club (ARG)
Monaco (FRA; on loan)
3. Diego Godin, Velez Sarsfield: Yes, he still plays. The Uruguay national team legend, a long-time star in Europe with Atletico Madrid, is still playing in South America. After going to Inter Milan and Cagliari following his nearly a decade at Atleti, he left for Atletico Mineiro in 2022 and joined Velez the same year. A veteran presence with still a bit of juice left in the tank, he'll be tasked with leading a team that finished 26th out of 28 teams last season. The defense wasn't that much of a problem and improved after his arrival, but the 30 goals scored in 27 games is what prevented the club from really making any noise. They can grind out results, and if they can just get a bit better in attack, with Godin leading the back, they can push for international qualification.
When is the Superclasico?
The match between River Plate and Boca Juniors is set for May 7, 2023. The match time has not been confirmed.