News & Events
Medellín Football – The Tourist Guide
- September 4, 2023
- Posted by: Tim Samuels
- Category: Culture
History of Medellín Football
Football is very important in Colombia and Latin-America in general. It is the dominant sport of all the countries that make up this continent. Most South-American football federations, including the clubs in Medellín are part of CONMEBOL (the South American Football Confederation, equivalent to the UEFA in Europe).
For the history of Medellín Football we must go back to the end of the nineteenth century. Then, in cities like Barranquilla and Santa Martha people started playing this new sport. Because of trade and its corresponding transport, football rapidly spread itself throughout the country. It was a popular sport for lower-class people since it takes very little to play the game. Regional sentiments grew where people looked at their main city instead of the country’s capital, Bogotá.
One of the city’s most prominent clubs: Deportivo Independiente Medellín (DIM) was founded on the 14th of november in 1913. The nickname of the club is El Poderoso de la Montaña, the mighty of the mountain. DIM has won the Categoria Primera A six times, and its best international result was achieved in 2003 when they reached the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores. The South-American equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.
Its rival Atlético Nacional (nickname: El Verde [the green]) did not come along until the 7th of March 1947. This club has won the Categoria Primera A a stunning 17 times and has won the aforementioned Copa Libertadores twice, in 19869 and 2016. The rivalry between the two clubs has always been very intense.
Colombia and Medellin in particular have had a very turbulent history, full of violence and crime. Something that virtually all Colombians agree upon is that football is the only thing that unites them. In anticipation of the 2014 World Cup, the Colombian Interior Ministry conducted a survey named “The Power of Football.” The survey findings revealed a compelling statistic: an impressive 94% of the nation regarded football as either important or highly significant to Colombia. When the National Team plays. Everyone dresses up in yellow, hatred will be forgotten and from the Caribbean coast to the Amazonian jungles, everyone will be clustered around televions and radios.
Current situation of Medellín Football
The streets of Medellín truly come alive with vibrant colors when one of the clubs is playing. Fans are proudly displaying their allegiance to either Atlético Nacional or Independiente Medellín (DIM). This fierce rivalry fuels the passion that runs deep within the veins of every Medellín resident, making football an integral part of the city’s culture.
The current football landscape in Medellín showcases a dynamic and evolving scene. The city’s two major teams, Atlético Nacional and DIM, consistently capture the attention of locals and visitors alike. The matches of these teams are not just games; they are epic battles that draw thousands of spectators to the stadiums. If you are reading this, you are probably a tourist in Medellín and you definitely need to experience this at least once.
In recent years, Atlético Nacional has enjoyed a successful run, clinching multiple national championships and even achieving victory on the international stage. Their triumphs have further solidified their status as a symbol of pride for Medellín. CONMEBOL Atlético Nacional is the club with the highest number of fans in all of Colombia. DIM, equally passionate and determined, strives to reclaim its glory and ignite the competitive fire that has defined their history.
When the two teams meet it is called El Clásico Paisa. This has happened over 300 already. Just like in the national competition and internationally, Atlético Nacional sets the stage with 120+ wins and 80+ wins for DIM. The rest ending in a draw.
Beyond the intense rivalry, the two clubs serve as a unifying force as described in the history of Medellín Football. It bridges social divides and transcends economic disparities. Families, friends, and strangers come together in the name of the sport, sharing in the joy of victory and the disappointment of defeat.
Tourist Guide to Medellín Football
Obtaining a ticket & going with a tour
Seats and Stadium
Where to get a ticket
The easiest way is to go with a group. They will arrange tickets for you and you dont have to worry about finding the stadium and your seat. Usually, before the match starts you get a quick briefing on how to deal with police, fans and other tips. If you are new to this, it can be especially beneficial to go with a group. At Blink, we offer cheap tours to every Medellín Football match.
If you don’t want to go with a group. Check out which team you want to attend.
When Nacional, represented by their distinctive green colors, is scheduled to play, the ticket purchasing process becomes slightly more intricate. While online ticket sales are available, the requirement is to register with a valid Colombian ID. This means you’ll need the assistance of a Colombian citizen or an expatriate friend possessing an ID to proceed. You can access the registration link here.
If DIM (Red) is playing, install their DIM plus app on your phone and buy a ticket from there.
You can also buy tickets at the stadiums, however you need to be there at least eight hours in advance. If you want to, go here https://goo.gl/maps/kZWQjtGCbLmDx8rL9
Your last option is to get tickets from folks selling them oustide the stadium. This option is less favourable since you can get scammed. The people selling, so called scalpers, may sell some tickets multiple times. Only allowing the first one to get in.
The stadium & Ultra-fans
Both team are using the same stadium which goes by the name of Estadio Atanasio Girardot. Locals call this El Estadio or El Atanasio. Getting here is very easy using the Medellín Metro. There is a Metro Station called ESTADIO.
There are seven sections in the stadium. All sections have different prices and different pro’s and cons. The list goes from expensive to cheap.
Numerada (Platinum) Around 95k+: Positioned just below the roof, this section offers a perfectly central view of the field, but it comes at a premium price. Your designated seat number is strictly adhered to, ensuring your seating isn’t disrupted. However, it’s worth noting that the ambiance here might not be the most electrifying.
Occidental alta (Upper West) Around 85-95k: Also beneath the roof, this area affords a splendid pitch view. Particularly during the rainy season, it’s a worthwhile choice. A word of caution: steer clear of seats too close to the SOUTH or NORTH sections. Not only will you be in the splash zone during rainfall, but you’ll also pay triple the price of neighboring sections.
Occidental baja (Lower West) Around 65-85k: While it offers a similar view to Oriental baja on the opposite side of the field, this section commands about 35% higher rates. Unfortunately, you might still experience raindrops if the weather takes a turn. Considering you’re essentially paying more for the same view, it might not be the best value.
Oriental alta (Upper East) Around 50-65k: Personally, this is my top pick. The view of the pitch and the Medellin mountains is breathtaking. The atmosphere is vibrant, and depending on the match, you can opt to sit closer or farther from the Ultras, granting you a flexible experience.
Oriental baja (Lower East) Around 35-50k: Slightly cheaper than Oriental alta, this section places you closer to the players, though not overly so. The ambiance is fantastic, and during rain, you might even have the option to seek shelter without straying too far from your seat.
Sur (South) Around 20-35k: Along with Norte, this is the budget-friendly choice. When Nacional is in action, the section is overtaken by the fervent ultras of Nacional (Los Del Sur). Expect an uproar of drums, horns, anthems, and enthusiastic singing and jumping. It could be a wildly exciting experience, but brace yourself for the energetic fervor of the ultras, which can be quite invigorating (in both positive and negative ways). If you’re considering this section, we recommend joining a tour for added guidance and camaraderie (details in the section below).
Norte (North) Around 20-35k: In terms of cost and ambiance, it’s akin to the Sur section. The sole distinction is that when Medellin plays, the ultras of Medellin (La Rexixtenxia Norte) occupy this side.
What to bring:
Metro Card if you are travelling by Metro
Cash, as card payments might not be accepted.
Valuable items like jewelry, expensive phones, and watches, as there are pickpockets in the stadium vicinity.
Umbrella’s Belts, Iphone chargers (not kidding), as some police officers may deem it “dangerous weapon” and confiscate it at the entrance.
A large bag. Generally, small bags or purses are acceptable, but there may be restrictions depending on the stadium section you’re visiting. West Tribune entrances are usually more permissive.
Food, drinks, and cigarettes. These items are prohibited.
Large cameras. Small ones are usually permitted, but larger cameras may require prior permission.
Don’t bring anymore than you need.
Come with public transit
Joining a tour is recommended
Don’t expect to get your seat in the cheaper parts of the stadium
Don’t wear the wrong colors