Copa Libertadores de América: Wikis


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Copa Libertadores
Copa Libertadores 1991.jpg
Founded 1960
Region South America (CONMEBOL)
Number of teams 38
Current champions Argentina Estudiantes (4th title)
Most successful club Argentina Independiente (7 titles)
Television broadcasters List of broadcasters
Website Official website
2010 Copa Libertadores

The Copa Libertadores de América, officially known as the Copa Santander Libertadores de América for sponsorship reasons, is an annual international club football competition organized by CONMEBOL since 1960. It is the most prestigious club competition in South American football. Despite being a South American competition, Mexican teams have been invited since 1998. The name of the tournament is an homage to the Libertadores (Portuguese and Spanish for Liberators), the main leaders of the independence wars of South America.

The competition has had several different formats since its inception. Initially, only the champions of South America participated. In 1966, the runner-ups of the South American leagues began to join and today at least three clubs per country compete in the tournament, while Argentina and Brazil each have five clubs participating. Traditionally, a group stage has always been used but the amount of teams per group has varied several times.

The tournament consists of six stages. In the present format, it begins in early February with one knockout qualifying round known as the first stage. The six surviving teams join 26 teams in the second stage, in which there are eight groups consisting of four teams each. The eight group winners and eight runners-up enter the final four stages, better known as the knockout stages, which ends with the finals in June or July. The winner of the Copa Libertadores becomes eligible to play in two extra tournaments: the first being the FIFA Club World Cup (which replaced the Intercontinental Cup since 2005) and the second being the Recopa Sudamericana.

The current champion is Argentine club Estudiantes de La Plata, while Argentine club Independiente is the most successful club in the cup history, having won the tournament seven times. The cup has been won by 22 different clubs and won consecutively by six clubs, the last to have been Boca Juniors in 2001.



The clashes for the Copa Río de la Plata between the champions of Argentina and Uruguay kindled the idea of a continental competition back in the 1930s. In 1948, the Copa de Campeones, the most direct precursor to the Copa Libertadores, was played and organized by Chilean club Colo-Colo. It was held in Santiago and brought together the champions of each nation's top national leagues. The tournament was won by Vasco da Gama of Brazil. However, it wasn't until 1958 when the base and format of the competition was created (no least thanks to the efforts of Peñarol's board leaders), and in 1960, it was named in honor of the heroes of South American history, such as Bernardo O'Higgins, José de San Martín, Pedro I, and Simón Bolívar, among others.

Over the years, the competition has kept alive a healthy sporting rivalry between the competing countries, especially between Brazil and Argentina, Argentina and Uruguay, Uruguay and Brazil, Colombia and Argentina, and Peru and Chile. Episodes of violence are not rare and the pressure on the players on the field is tremendous.

From 1998 to 2007, the Copa Libertadores was sponsored by Toyota, which is why the name during this period was Copa Toyota Libertadores.


The beginnings: 1960–1969

In the first edition of Copa Libertadores, which took place in 1960, seven teams participated: Bahia of Brazil, Jorge Wilstermann of Bolivia, Millonarios of Colombia, Olimpia of Paraguay, Peñarol of Uruguay, San Lorenzo of Argentina and Universidad de Chile of Chile. The Uruguayans won the first ever edition defeating Olimpia in the finals and successfully defended the title a year later. It proved to be historic justice for many (even today) due to Peñarol's great contributions to the creation of the tournament. But the Copa Libertadores didn't receive international proyection until its third edition, which was swept through the sublime football of a Santos team led by the legendary Pelé. The ballet blanco or white ballet, which dazzled the world during that time, won the title of 1962 defeating the defending champions Peñarol in the finals. A year later, O Rei and his compatriot Coutinho demonstrated their magic again in the form of tricks, dribbles, backheels, and goals including two in the second leg of the final at La Bombonera, to subdue Boca Juniors 2–1 and keep the trophy again.

Argentine football finally inscribed their name on the winner's list in 1964 when Independiente became champions after disposing of the powerful title holders Santos and Uruguayan side Nacional in the finals. Independiente would go on to successfully defend the title a year later. Peñarol and Racing Club would go on to claim the spoils in 1966 and 1967 respectively. But the next biggest highlight of the competition, after Pele's Santos, didn't happen until 1968 with the introduction of Estudiantes de La Plata.

A formation of the Estudiantes de La Plata team that won the title in 1968, 1969 and 1970

Estudiantes de La Plata, a modest neighborhood club and a denominated "small one" in Argentina, had a style that prioritized athletic preparation and achieving results at all costs. The conjunto de laboratorio or laboratory group, led by the great coach Osvaldo Zubeldía and a team built around outstanding figures such as Carlos Bilardo, Oscar Malbernat and Juan Ramón Verón, went on to become the first ever tricampeon of the competition. The pincharratas won their first ever final in 1968 overcoming Palmeiras and defended the title in 1969 and 1970 against Nacional and Peñarol respectively. Although Peñarol was the first club to achieve three titles, Estudiantes had done this feat in consecutive fashion (Peñarol did it in two different periods after winning the 1960 and 1961 editions and then again in 1966).

The Argentine decade: 1970–1979

The 1970's was clearly dominated by Argentinian clubs with the exception being in three editions. In a rematch of the 1969 final, Nacional emerged as the champions of the 1971 tournament after overcoming an Estudiantes squad depleted of key players that helped lift it to its recent glory.

With two titles already in its showcase, Independiente created a winning mystique which was prolongated by Francisco Sa, José Omar Pastoriza, Ricardo Bochini and Daniel Bertoni, pillars of the titles of 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1975. Their tetracampeonato has been a feat only achieved this once. Independiente's home stadium, La Doble Visera, became one of the most dreaded venues for visiting teams to play at. The reign of Los Diablos Rojos finally ended in 1976 when they were defeated by fellow Argentine club River Plate in the second phase in a dramatic playoff for a place in the finals. However, in the finals River Plate themselves would be beaten by Cruzeiro of Brazil as the title returned to a Brazilian club after 13 years.

The Boca Juniors team that would win the bicampeonato of 1977 and 1978.

After having the trophy elude them in 1963 at the hands of Pelé's Santos, Boca Juniors finally managed to appear on the continental football map. Towards the end of the decade, the Xeneizes managed to reach the finals on three consecutive years. The first was in 1977 in which Boca Juniors managed their first victory against defending champions Cruzeiro. After both teams won their home legs 1–0 a neutral venue was chosen to break the tie. The playoff match finished in a tense 0–0 tie and was defined in a vibrant penalty shootout, with a highly remembered tackle by Hugo Gatti on Vanderley in the last penalty. Boca Juniors managed to keep the trophy again after thumping Deportivo Cali of Colombia 4–0 on aggregate. In the following year, it looked as if Boca Juniors would also achieve a triple championship only to have Olimpia end that dream after a highly volatile, second leg match in Buenos Aires. Just like in 1963, Boca Juniors had to watch as the visiting team lifted the Copa Libertadores in their home ground and Olimpia became the first (and so far only) team from Paraguay to achieve such honor.

The 1970s were also notable for the appearances of Universitario of Peru, Colo-Colo and Unión Española of Chile, and Deportivo Cali in the finals. Universitario became the first ever "Pacific" team to reach the final of the Copa Libertadores paving a road for others to somewhat disbalance the dominance practiced by clubs from Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.

Rise of the Pacific and Uruguayan dominance: 1980–1989

Nine years after their first triumph, Nacional won their second Cup in 1980. Despite Brazil's strong status as a football power in South America, 1981 marked only the fourth title for Brazilian clubs. Flamengo, led by stars such as Zico, Júnior, Carpegiani, Adílio, Cláudio Adão and Tita, sparkled as the Mengão's golden generation reached the pinnacle of their careers beating an impressive Cobreloa of Chile. After 16 years in obscurity, Peñarol would go on to win the Cup, for their fourth time, in 1982 after beating the 1981 finalists in consecutive series; first, the Manyas disposed of defending champions Flamengo 1–0 in the last match of the second phase at Flamengo's home ground, the famed Maracanã. Then, in the final they repeated the dosis on Cobreloa winning a decisive second leg match 1–0 in Santiago. Peñarol would reach another final the following year only to have the title be taken from them by Grêmio. In 1984, Independiente won their seventh cup, a record that stands today, after defeating title holders Grêmio which included an incredible 1–0 win in the first leg highlighting Jorge Burruchaga and a veteran Ricardo Bochini.

Another team rose from the Pacific as Cobreloa did; América de Cali reached three consecutive finals in 1985, 1986 and 1987 but like Cobreloa, they couldn't manage to win a single one. In 1985, Argentinos Juniors astonished South America as they eliminated title holders Independiente in La Doble Visera 1-2, during the last decisive match of the second round, for a place in the final. Argentinos Juniors went on to win an unprecedented title by beating America de Cali in the finals via a penalty shootut. After the failures of 1966 and 1976, River Plate would reach a third final in 1986 against America de Cali and win the Cup for the first time ever after winning both legs of the final series. Peñarol won the Cup again in 1987 after beating America de Cali 2-1 in the decisive playoff; it proved to be their last hurrah in the international scene as Uruguayan football in general suffered a great decadence at the end of the 1980's. The Manyas fierce rivals, Nacional, also managed one last Cup in 1988 before falling from the continental limelight

Replica of the Copa Libertadores, won by Atlético Nacional in 1989.

It was during 1989 when a Pacific team finally broke the dominance of the established, Atlantic powers. Atletico Nacional of Medellín won an emotional final series becoming the first team from Colombia to do so. In a tournament filled with polemic refereeing and highly controversial circumstances, Atletico Nacional faced off against Olimpia, losing the first leg in Asunción 2–0. Because their home stadium did not have the minimum capacity CONMEBOL required to host a final, the second leg was played in Bogota's El Campin with the match ending 2–0 in favor of Atletico Nacional. Having tied the series, Atletico Nacional managed to become that year's champion after a dramatic penalty shootout which needed to go into four rounds of sudden death. Goalkeeper René Higuita cemented his legendary status with an outstanding performance as he stopped four of the nine Paraguayan kicks and scoring one himself. The 1989 edition also had another significant first: it was the first ever time that no club from Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil managed to reach the final. This trend will continue on until 1992.

The Brazilian decade: 1990–1999

The edition of 1990, again led by Uruguayan coach Luis Cubilla, as in 1979, Olympia reached the top of America. Had an excellent staff, which clearly stood the figure of Raul Vicente Amarilla, center-elegant, extraordinary goalscorer and air. Within a compact, one can say that he drove to Olympia for the title. In the end, all must face Guarani an unexpected and very strong rival: Barcelona SC of Ecuador. In the final match, held in their stadium in Guayaquil, Barcelona played an exceptional performance, but even so he could break the resistance granite Olympia. That end should be remembered as a truly popular celebration, attended by crowds, the atmosphere of joy and correct copy of the Ecuadorian bias.

In 1991, Colo-Colo put the glass on Chilean soil. Led by Yugoslavian coach Mirko Jozić, Marcelo Barticciotto, Jaime Pizarro, Gabriel Mendoza, Lizardo Garrido, and company made despite local status, which won seven matches, and last, decisive, beat the defending champion of the Libertadores, Olimpia of Paraguay 3–0, sparking an unforgettable party in the country that celebrated the conquest in the streets.

The following year, São Paulo old club Leonidas and Zizinho, among other great, finally had his international recognition of the hand of a monumental coach Telé Santana. The veteran coach turned to youth and instilled his style of football cheerful, quick and decisive. The result of three years was excellent: won two Libertadores Cups and was a finalist in another. In 1992 to beat Newell's Old Boys of Argentina, in 1993 defeated Universidad Catolica de Chile, and a year later was runner-up. Its main figures were Müller, Rai, Cafu and Palhinha.

In 1994, Velez Sarsfield of Argentina, covered sports achievements what he had achieved as an institution, considered one of the strongest in Argentina. And it was a former football club, Carlos Bianchi, the manager of leading a squad that fought on an equal footing on any terrain. On August 31, was champion of America against São Paulo in the penalty shootout in Brazil, after first overcome 1–0 (Omar Asad) in the Estadio Jose Amalfitani and losing by the same score in the Morumbi. Earlier in the group phase ends first before Boca Juniors, Palmeiras and Cruzeiro of Brazil, than in duels to Defensor Sporting of Uruguay, Minerven of Venezuela and Junior de Barranquilla before reaching the final instance to the square of São Paulo.

With a compact in its three lines and the goals of the formidable duo who made up the young striker Jardel and Paulo Nunes, Gremio of Porto Alegre to win back the coveted Copa Libertadores. Jardel, precisely, was the leading scorer in this edition with the high mark of 12 goals. The team coached by Luiz Felipe Scolari had some fundamental pillars as captain and defender Adilson, the skilful midfielder Arilson and these forwards. 28 years that the Cup is not conceded four goals as on this occasion. Gremio beat in the final instance to the excellent team Atletico Nacional, a finalist for the second time.

In the edition of 1996 excelled emerging figures such as Argentine Hernan Crespo, the Chilean Marcelo Salas, Esteban Valencia, the Uruguayan Sebastian Abreu and other consecrated as the Brazilian Edmundo, Uruguayan Enzo Francescoli and Argentine Leonardo Rodriguez. The title was River Plate against America de Cali of Colombia the same opponents in securing his first title ten years earlier.

The Cup of 1997 clashed Cruzeiro of Brazil and the Peruvian team Sporting Cristal times champion of football in his country, under the leadership of Uruguayan Sergio Markarián. Both teams have been rivals in the group stage. The tie was defined in the second leg of the final table by winning 1-0 to Brazil just under 5 minutes to finish the match with a goal from Elivelton, before a record attendance for a Cup final attended by 102,000 spectators Mineirão.

In subsequent years, Vasco da Gama with Palmeiras enter the gallery of champions. Since 1998 he added the name of title sponsor for what was known as Copa Toyota Libertadores, for 10 years. That same year, teams raided Mexico, although this country is affiliated to CONCACAF. Initially part thanks to quotas obtained from the Pre Libertadores Cup, which pitted Mexican and Venezuelan clubs. This system remained until 2004, when Venezuela and Mexico receive two spots each to direct the tournament expanded to 36 equipos. En 1998, is the first time in the Copa Libertadores economic incentives are introduced by the agreement between CONMEBOL and Toyota Motor Corporation. In that sense, all the teams that advance to the second stage of the tournament received 25 thousand dollars for their participation. For the first time, two Mexican teams were invited to participate in the Copa Libertadores. The champion was Vasco da Gama facing the Barcelona of Ecuador won the two finals.

The following year codifies the American champion Palmeiras, who defeated in a dramatic penalty shootout to Deportivo Cali of Colombia 4-3 in a game of legend in Sao Paulo. The title is the sixth of a Brazilian in the decade.

A decade of resurgences: 2000-2009

After 22 years, Boca Juniors Copa Libertadores raised again in the year 2000 with a dream team, masterfully directed by Carlos Bianchi, the "Viceroy", and with players like Mauricio Serna, Jorge Bermudez, Oscar Cordoba and Martín Palermo, between others. In issue 2001, the xeneizes defended the title by far the hand of an inspired Juan Roman Riquelme, the safety of Oscar Cordoba and goals from Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Marcelo Delgado, and for the second time in its history, was enshrined Boca champion of the tournament.

The following year, in 2002, Olimpia of Paraguay return to the glory of the hand of Nery Pumpido for its third Copa Libertadores de America, this year Olimpia again depriving the defending champion Boca Juniors of deleting triple championship in the quarter-finals then eliminated brazilian side Grêmio in the semifinal to reach the final against São Caetano, who lost 1-0 in Asuncion, but who defeated 2-1 at Pacaembu stadium, forcing to the penalty shootout. In 2003 Boca Juniors rose again with the title led by the figure of Carlos Tevez, the Argentinian team had swept the Saints Diego, Robinho, Elano, among others, but in 2004, Once Caldas of Colombia won the title by surprisingly defeating Boca in penalty shootouts.

In 2005, the cup changed its format, by expanding to 38 teams and adopting the away goals rule in two-legged knockout ties. In the biennium 2005 - 2006, São Paulo reached the Finals, winning its third South American crown against Atlético Paranaense, but losing the next year to first-time winners Internacional, after two-goal scorer Rafael Sóbis gave them the first-leg win at Morumbi.

The other team from Porto Alegre, Grêmio, wanted to emulate what was done by arch-rivals, Internacional, in 2006, but were denied by the figure of Juan Roman Riquelme for Boca consecrate its sixth continental crown in the final of the most unequal history (5-0 overall) in 2007.

In 2008 another change of name, to be sponsored by Grupo Santander of Spain, being now identified as Copa Santander Libertadores. [1] In that season, Liga de Quito won the Copa Libertadores first-being also the first time for a Ecuadorian team, with the technical leadership of Edgardo Bauza. In the first leg in Quito, Liga took an important 4-2 lead, in the second leg, Fluminense won 3-1, a result that evened the aggregate score. Due to a change in rules that exempted the final from the away goals rule, this prolonged the game into overtime. Because neither team managed to score, had to go to penalty shootout, where the Ecuadorian goalkeeper Jose Francisco Cevallos saving three shots, being key to the 3-1 victory on penalties.

In 2009, in the 50th edition of the Copa Estudiantes de La Plata won tetracampeonato devoted champion of America after after 39 years. It ranked second in its initial group, which agreed after eliminating Sporting Cristal of Peru in the repechage matches, and from second round to beat successively Libertad of Paraguay, Defensor Sporting and Nacional, both from Uruguay. In the final he faced to Cruzeiro of Brazil, tying 0-0 at home and winning 2-1 on July 15 in their first rematch in Mineirão of Belo Horizonte.



The 1991 Copa Libertadores trophy.

As of 2009, most teams qualify to the Copa Libertadores by winning half-year tournaments called Apertura and Clausura tournaments or by finishing among the top teams in their championship. The countries that use this format are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela. Peru and Ecuador have developed new formats for qualification to the Copa Libertadores involving several stages. Brazil is the only South American league to use a European league format instead of the Apertura and Clausura format. However, one berth for the Copa Libertadores can be won by winning the Copa do Brasil. Uruguay and Mexico also employ a second tournament that qualifies for the Libertadores ("Liguilla Pre-Libertadores" since 1974 and InterLiga since 2004 respectively).

The 2009 edition has the competitors distributed as follows:


The Copa starts in the first stage in which a number of clubs, currently 12, are paired in a series of two-legged knockout ties. The six survivors join 26 clubs in the second stage, in which they are divided into groups of four. The groups play in a league system, with each team playing home and away games against each team in their group. The top two teams from each group are then drawn into the knockout stage, which consists of two-legged knockout ties. From that point, the competition proceeds with two-legged knockout ties to quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals. Between 1960 and 1987 the previous winners did not enter the competition until the semi-final stage (which was 2 groups of 3 teams each one), making it much easier to retain the cup.


Note that unlike European club competitions, the Copa Libertadores historically did not use extra time or away goals to decide a tie that was level on aggregate. From 1960 to 1987, two-legged ties were decided on points (teams would be awarded 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss), without taking goal difference into consideration. If both teams were level on points after two legs, a third match would be played at a neutral site. Goal difference would only come into play if the third match was drawn. If the third match did not produce an immediate winner a penalty shootout was used to determine a winner.

From 1988 through 2004, ties were decided on aggregate goals, with an immediate penalty shootout if the tie was level on aggregate after full time of the second leg. Starting with the 2005 event, CONMEBOL began to use the away goals rule. In 2008, the finals became an exception to the away goals rule and employed extra time.

Records and statistics

Media coverage


External links


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