Medellín has about 3 million people living in and around the city, that provides enough supporters for two and a halfsoccer teams, Atlético Nacional, Independiente Medellín and the small, but sympathetic Envigado FC.
Technically Envigado is a different city and it has its own little stadium, but since both Medellín and Pablo Escobar’s former hometown are tied like siamese twins, you may equally consider Envigado FC as a team you may want to support.
Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellín, sharing the Atanasio Girardot stadium, are the real big rivals. A city derby between the reds and the greens generally means a general blackout of the city, since the majority of the Paisas, like all Colombians, are fanatic about soccer.
You may consider it more logical the people of Medellín hate the Bogotá teams more than they hate their local rivals, but not all things in life are logical. A Nacional fan would prefer Millonarios to win over Medellín, than a victory for the local enemy.
The hatred between the supporters goes so deep that yearly several supporters of both teams are killed on the streets by hooligans of the competing team.
No need to get scared though. Inside the stadium there’s the places for the real soccer fanatics and those who want to bring their women and children.
When you buy your tickets, keep in mind that the north and south parts of the stadium are for the real fanatics. The east and west sides are more expensive and provide a much better view of the game are for those with women and children or gringos who may be intimidated by the fanatic soccer supporters. Obviously these tickets are more expensive.
After deciding what team you choose to support and have bought the obligatory t-shirt make sure to buy the right ticket and not end up inthe same area as your enemies. Remember: Sur (south) is Nacional and Norte (north) is Medellín.
Here’s how you pick your team: