Saturday , October 23 2021

Is the Copa Libertadores more attractive than the Champions League?


Every football fan will vibrate this Saturday with the Copa Libertadores final.

But even people who don't follow the most popular sport on the planet will look suspicious of what will happen at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.

This goes beyond games, games, stories.

The decisive duel between River Plate and Boca Juniors In the South American tournament the maximum continent has produced so much hope that the time of the ball will stop in the Argentine capital to mark before and after football.

These are emotions, tension, competition, passion that is so great that some say that the dispute between River and Boca is the final of all finals on planet Earth.

That the show seen in the first leg of La Bombonera shows that the Copa Libertadores is "real football", unlike the Play Station game offered by the Champions League in Europe.

This comment from the president of the South American Football Confederation, Alejandro Dominguez, echoed the views of a large number of soccer fans in South America.

"There is nothing like the Libertadores", "In Europe they do not live football like here", "They feel what is played more than 3,000 meters above sea level".

These words are repeated again and again when the Copa Libertadores matches football with the Champions League, a tournament that brings together the richest clubs and the most prestigious players in the world.

More interesting?

Maybe South American football has been established for Europe in the past with an extinct Intercontinental Cup, winning in its glory more titles and more prestige.

But, with the passage of time, it was an old continent that openly dominated the duel between the two.

Until 1994, the South American team won 20 of the 33 duels played. Since then, clubs in Europe have won in eight of the 10 finals played.

This trend is increasing with the creation of the FIFA world cup where European teams won 10 titles against four South Americans, six years ago.

However, despite the statistics, in South America there is still a belief that the Libertadores are better than Champions, and, if not, at least is more interesting

The example, they argue, is all that happened in the first leg of the final between Boca and River.

The fact that there is an Argentine superclásico, heavy rain that prevents football and a lofty spectacle of life in Bombonera, with a second tie included, gives the Libertadores a level not seen since the 80s.

"I basically believe that it's about returning to the country amateur and pure glory", Theo Posso, an Ecuadorian journalist for Directv Sports and Ecuavisa, told BBC News.

"I saved the spirit when a player was not only interested in monetary problems but in achieving sporting glory."


Mario Martinez from Fox Sports in Uruguay, and Mario Fernandez from the El Comercio newspaper in Peru, agree that there is something beyond football to understand the charm of the tournament in the South American continent.

"This is the theme of mysticism," Martinez said. "Maybe a giant in the economy or in a historical fall in front of a weak team that emerges and is driven by what glory means."

"Here there are economic limits and distance for the team, you have to travel a lot, by stopping, to spend a lot of trouble continuing to advance in the tournament," Posso said.

"All this magic, mystical around the Cup, That makes it special. "

And that also adds a higher element of uncertainty.

Since 2000, the Copa Libertadores already exists up to 14 different champions and six of them won titles for the first time in its history.

In addition there are only two teams, Boca Juniors and Internacional de Porto Alegre, who managed to add more than one cup.

In the same period, the Champions League was won by nine clubs and only one won it for the first time.

Two worlds

But there are those who believe that the romance produced by the duel between two big rivals of Argentine football is a mask that temporarily hides differences from what is experienced on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Compare the Copa Libertadores with Champions from the point of view of organizations, structures, stadiums, community frameworks … that's impossible," Martinez acknowledged.

"We are very far away," he said.

"It doesn't reach his ankle", Posso added, while Fernandez considered that it was two separate chapters.

The difference is in "systematic that European football is compared to magic or paddock football," said the Uruguayan reporter.

"It's not better or worse, but adds a special element ".

"This is a fundamental factor during the match and what is used by South American fans, the Copa Libertadores is very special for this part of the planet," he said.


In supporting Champions we talk about organization, a collection of extraordinary players and prestige achieved by lifting the famous trophy from "Orejona".

There is also a prize level and that "after the group, there is parity in competition" does not exist in South America.

"It's impressive to see the global nature of Champions," Posso said. "The way they celebrate in Egypt is a false goal and has a more global impact because they are the best players."

For Posso, the constant departure of the most talented players to Europe, Mexico or the Middle East reduces the capacity of clubs with competitive teams.

"There are details that explain it perfectly and that is the fact that Alberto Spencer, from the 60s and 70s, is still a Cup scorer with 54 goals," he said.

"The record is almost impossible to overcome because there is no one left in South America two or three years."


But it is also true that the Libertadores are undergoing a process of transformation in which the European model is followed in several aspects and the prize for the team increases.

An example is designation unique place for the end of 2019 or that both finals have been played over the weekend.

Some sectors show resistance, because they consider it contrary to the privilege of South American fans.

But seeing the impact that Libertadores had in recent weeks, it seemsthat change evidently in the right direction.

Starting from the basis that the Copa Libertadores is not a Champions League and will be difficult to compete economically, there are elements that make the South American championship "a tournament to see" for soccer fans.

"Today football has progressed rapidly and the same scientific advances have made the match win from the dressing room," said Mario Fernandez.

"On that side, South American techniques will continue to be a diamond ring for future conquests. And it will never lose South American soccer players, "he added.

It's about improvisation, pretending, dribbling, overflowing and seeing spaces that no one can see.

Boca revives that: dream, the mystique the Liberators had a few decades ago.

Miracles that can occur in football, "go beyond what happens once every hundred years," as Posso said.

And that time will be this Saturday at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires, precisely in the match, with the Copa Libertadores final.

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