Boca train and River touch down ahead of Libertadores Cup final

River Plate team arrives at the Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas Airport in Madrid on Thursday ahead of Copa Libertadores final. — Reuters

MADRID — Boca Juniors trained in Madrid for the first time on Thursday shortly after River Plate landed in Spain ahead of the clubs' postponed Libertadores Cup decider at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The second leg will be held at the home of Real Madrid on Sunday following the controversial decision of South America's football federation, CONMEBOL, to take the fixture out of Argentina.

After arriving on Wednesday, Boca's players looked in good spirits during a light session at Las Rozas, the Spanish national team's training base in the north west of the capital, on Thursday morning.

River, who had earlier flown in to Madrid's Barajas Airport, are scheduled to train at 1800 (1700 GMT) on Thursday at Real's Valdebebas training center.

The final's first leg ended 2-2 at Boca's Bombonera ground last month, with River set to host the return at their El Monumental stadium on Nov. 24.

The match had to be postponed, however, following an attack by River Plate fans on the Boca Juniors team bus, which saw windows smashed and some Boca players injured.

As punishment, CONMEBOL ruled River would lose their home advantage and the game was moved abroad amid fears over further fan violence. Both clubs initially opposed the proposal to play their decisive second leg in Spain.

Former Boca idol Juan Roman Riquelme voiced his disapproval earlier this week, saying it would make it "the most expensive friendly in history".

"It won't be the same. No matter how much I want Boca to win it, I think the final has to be played in our country," he said. "The way it is, makes it the most expensive friendly in history."

Argentine hooligan

denied entry to Spain

A member of Boca Juniors' football hooligan gang was deported from Spain ahead of Sunday's showdown against River Plate, police said on Thursday, amid a massive security operation for a game rescheduled due to violence.

Spanish police said "one of the most significant" hooligans, with a long criminal record, was spotted at Madrid's international airport on Wednesday night ahead of the South American club final showdown between the Argentine arch-rivals.

"This person has been returned to Argentina. There is no place for violence in football," they added via Twitter. Spanish police are calling the security operation for Sunday's match the biggest ever for a game in Madrid.

More than 2,500 officers are expected to be on duty for the match, known as the 'Superclasico' and regarded as one of the world's fiercest football rivalries. The first leg, played at Boca's Bombonera stadium, ended 2-2. — Reuters