Fan walk 1,500 mile to cup final without a ticket

Boca Juniors fan Leandro Fortunato told ESPN: I was at my uncles house in Santo Tomé, Santa Fe, and I told him Im going to Rio. And I started to walk.. Instagram leandrofortunato5

How far would you walk to see your team play in a cup final? Boca Juniors fan Leandro Fortunato has walked 1,500 miles (2,451 kilometres) from his native Argentina to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil ahead of Saturdays match against Fluminense in the final of the Copa Libertadores, South Americas version of the UEFA Champions League.

Fortunato walked for 24 days from Santa Fe to Rio, where the match will be staged at the citys iconic Maracanã stadium. Along the way, he shared his route and details of his travels on Instagram.

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“I went out in search of clarifying body, head, soul and heart,” Fortunato told ESPN Argentinas “Generacion F.” “I found that Boca reached the final of the Libertadores and I started to walk. I was at my uncles house in Santo Tomé, Santa Fe, and I told him Im going to Rio. And I started [to walk.] I went to Paraná and left from there.”

Fortunato had to hitchhike to cross to Uruguay because the border bridge between Paso de los Libres and Uruguayana was “too damaged” to walk on. He arrived in Rio on Monday, on what would have been Argentina legend Diego Maradonas 63rd birthday. Fortunato said: “It was like a sign. I felt like he told me come on lad, you will get there today.

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“When I arrived, I couldnt believe it. I went through heat, rain, leg pain. The pain in my knee is incredible … but Im excited. The first thing I saw was a Boca contingent who shouted at me: Youre here! It was the first photo I uploaded on Instagram. And they told me you are a source of pride for everyone, you are going to make history.”

Boca fans donated money for Fortunato to be able to complete his trip. “With the help of all the Boca people, they gave me money to be able to rent a room and be able to sleep,” he said.

Fortunatos efforts have been rewarded with Argentine streamer Martin “Coscu” Perez and “Generacion F” giving him a ticket to the final at the Maracana Stadium.

“Its the best news of the day,” Fortunato said. “Im very happy. Im dreaming, I cant believe everything I did. That the people of Boca greet me … Its a privilege to be here.”

Fortunato posted a photograph on a beach in Rio wearing a Boca jersey with his arms open on his Instagram story and he wrote: “How can I not feel this way?”

Buenos Aires-based Boca, who are looking to lift their seventh title on Saturday, have not won the Copa Libertadores since 2007. They have lost two finals in the intervening years, memorably being beaten by bitter city rivals River Plate in the 2018, the second leg of which was played at Real Madrids Bernabeu stadium.