The 2008 Torneo Apertura kicks off on Friday evening, so I think it’s about time for the annual season preview, don’t you? Long-time readers may notice that this is largely an updated version of last year’s potted histories, but I’ve added a few things – you can now find out how much I really know about football by seeing how I think each club will do in the next twelve months. So, to meet the twenty sides who’ll be making up this season’s Primera A, read on…
Asociación Atlética Argentinos Juniors Founded: 1904 in La Paternal (west of Capital Federal). Last season: 5th (Apertura), 7th (Clausura). Nicknamed Bicho colorado (red bug) or Tifón (Typhoon). Barra brava: La Banda de La Paternal. Manager: Néstor Gorosito. Stadium: Diego Armando Maradona.
Argentinos have a reputation for nurturing some of the country’s best talents, including Juan Román Riquelme, Juan Pablo Sorín, Fernando Redondo and some chap called Maradona, their all-time leading goalscorer, after whom their stadium is now named. Their most successful period was in the mid-80s, when they won the now defunct Metropolitana title in 1984, and followed it up with the national championship the following year, combining the ’85 championship with a Copa Libertadores win. At present, they’re improving and have qualified for this year’s Copa Sudamericana. Their main rivals are Platense (currently in Primera B Nacional), but for now they have to make do with Vélez as their regular derby. I’m going to predict another couple of high midtable finishes this season.
Arsenal Fútbol Club Founded: 1957 in Sarandí, in the south of Avellaneda in Gran Buenos Aires, by current AFA head Julio Grondona and his brother Héctor. Last season: 12th (A), 10th (C). Nicknamed El Arse (no sniggering at the back) and El Viaducto. Barra brava: La Banda del Arse. Manager: Daniel Garnero. Stadium: Julio Humberto Grondona (El Viaducto).
Better known as Arsenal de Sarandí, they took their colours by combining those of Avellaneda’s two existing clubs when they were founded, Racing (sky blue) and Independiente (red). Never having won a major trophy a year ago, they took last year’s Copa Sudamericana despite not winning a single home match (some would say they still haven’t won a major trophy), and this will be their seventh season in the top flight. The two Avellaneda clubs are their main rivals and their most famous ex-player is Jorge Burruchaga, who scored the winning goal in the 1986 World Cup Final. They’ll have a hard job defending their title in the Sudamericana, and should be mid-table again in the league.
Club Atlético Banfield Founded: 1896 and started playing football in the following year, in the partido of the same name (then a village) in south-western Gran Buenos Aires. Last season: 3rd (A), 12th (C). Nicknamed El Taladro (‘The drill’). Barra brava: Villa Bénquez. Manager: Jorge Burruchaga. Stadium: Florencio Solá (El Sur ).
One of the original British athletic clubs, Banfield have spent 39 seasons in the top flight – they were invited, in 1931, to join the new professional league, but refused, seeing no future in ‘commercial’ football – but have only been runners-up in Primera A on two ocassions, in 1951 and 2005, and have the distinction of being the only club still remaining in Argentina who won a championship in the 19th century (1899). They’ve been impressive for a few years now, although Copa Libertadores participation in 2007 stretched their resources a bit thin. Javier Sanguinetti, a key player in their defence, continues to add to his own club appearances record at the age of 37 – it’s now well past 400. Their clásico is against Lanús. Predicting how well they’ll do is always risky, but they’ll be mid-table at worst.
Club Atlético Boca Juniors Founded: 1905 in La Boca (southern Capital Federal). Last season: 4th (A), 2nd (C). Nicknamed Xeneizes (‘Genoese’, a reference to the Italian dockworkers who populated the area at the time), Boquenses (‘From La Boca’) and – by River fans and as an ironic badge of pride by themselves – Bosteros (‘Covered in shit’). Barra brava: La Doce. Manager: Carlos Ischia. Stadium: Alberto J. Armando (La Bombonera).
One of the giants of Argentine and world football, with more wins in international tournaments than any other club (seventeen, including six Copas Libertadores, most recently in 2007), and the largest fanbase of any in Argentina, just ahead of River. Boca’s badge contains one star for each international triumph (above the club initials) and one for each Argentine championship (below), and is updated after each new title – 2007-2008 was the first time in a while the embroiders didn’t have to bother. Famous products of their youth system include Clemente Rodríguez, Fabricio Coloccini and Fernando Gago. Historically, though, Boca have tended to bring players in from ‘smaller’ clubs, and you’d be amazed by the number of really famous players who everyone thinks of as Boca through-and-through, and yet who actually made their professional debuts elsewhere. Their main rivals – you all know this – are River Plate, with Independiente, San Lorenzo and Racing close behind. If they don’t challenge for both league titles and the Copa Libertadores, their fans will consider it a disastrous season.
Club Atlético Colón Better known as Colón de Santa Fe, founded: 1905. Last season: 15th (A), 11th (C). Nicknamed El sabalero (‘The fisherman’) or Raza (‘pedigree’ / ‘of pure race’). Barra brava: Los de Siempre. Manager: Antonio Mohamed. Stadium: Brigadier General Estanislao López (El Cementerio de los Elefantes ).
Colón (which is what Spanish speakers call Columbus, so stop tittering) play in the city of Santa Fe, capital of the province of the same name, and won the Santa Fe provincial championship 14 times before entering the national league in 1948. In 1965, they were promoted to Primera A for the first time. They’ve never won a national championship, but their stadium is known colloquially as ‘The Elephants’ Graveyard’ after they developed a habit of beating some of the world’s best club sides, including Pelé’s Santos and the double World Champion Peñarol team during the mid ’60s. Academy products include Hugo Ibarra (currently with Boca) and Olympiakos’ Cristián Ledesma. Their main derby is against Unión de Santa Fe, currently in Primera B Nacional. Mid-table isn’t beyond them, but they’re struggling in the relegation table so will be looking over their shoulders.
Club Estudiantes de La Plata Founded: 1905. Last season: 6th (A), 3rd (C). Nicknamed Pincha (‘Puncture’). Barra bravas: La Favela, Las Quintas and others. Manager: Roberto Sensini. Stadium: Share the Estadio Municipal de La Plata with Gimnasia.
Best known as the club who gave Argentine football its reputation for dirtiness and cheating. They won their first title in 1967, claiming the Metropolitana title and becoming the first club outside the ‘Big Five’ to win an official title in the professional era (which had started in 1931). They did this whilst playing a brand of football which has become known as anti-fútbol, and which was most clearly manifested to European eyes in their two Intercontinental Cup ties of 1968 and ’69, when they kicked, respectively, Manchester United and AC Milan black and blue over two legs, winning in ’68 and losing the following year. Recent seasons have seen them shake off that image, Diego Simeone leading them to the 2006 Apertura in a playoff win over Boca in the most amazing end to a championship ever seen in Argentina, and Roberto Sensini carrying on the good work on the pitch. In total they’ve won four first division titles and three Copas Libertadores. The La Plata derby is played against Gimnasia. Famous ex-players include Juan Ramón Verón and his son, Juan Sebastián, and 1986 World Cup winner José Luís Brown. This season, they’ll be there or thereabouts again.
Club Atlético Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy Founded: 1931 in San Salvador de Jujuy, capital of the Andean north-western province of Jujuy. Last season: 17th (A), 19th (C) Nicknamed El Lobo Jujeño (‘The wolf from Jujuy’, after the more famous Gimnasia La Plata, known as ‘The wolf’). Barra bravas: Lobo Sur and Lobo Norte. Manager: Omar Labruna. Stadium: 23 de Agosto.
A bit of a yo-yo team, albeit one who do their up- and downward bits rather slowly – taking twelve years to get re-promoted after relegation in 1982, then staying up for six years from 1994 before going back down in 2000, and bouncing slowly back in 2005. Initially they did well, but a disastrous 2007 Clausura followed by a poor 2007-2008 season means they’re now way down in the Promedio standings, and had to go to the playoffs to keep their Primera A place this year. They have produced precisely no players you’ll have heard of, and have no real derby match, with the city’s only other club, Deportivo 23 de Agosto, being virtually off the footballing map. This season, they’ll find it difficult to survive, especially if one of the newly promoted sides surprise everyone.
Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata Founded: 1887. Last season: 18th (A), 17th (C). Nicknamed El Lobo (‘The wolf’). Manager: Guillermo Sanguinetti Barra brava: La Veintidós. Stadium: Share the Estadio Municipal de La Plata with Estudiantes.
The oldest surviving club in Argentina, Gimnasia have been part of the country’s footballing furniture ever since it started, but have won only one amateur title, in 1929. They came agonisingly close to a first professional title in the 2005 Apertura, leading narrowly for much of the campaign, but were pipped on the last day by Boca. They do have a few things to be proud of, though: they scored the fastest goal in Argentine league history, Carlos Dantón Seppaquercia converting after just five seconds against Huracán in 1979. And they were the first Argentine side to bear Real Madrid in their own stadium, back in 1931. Youth products include Boca legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Their clásico is, of course, against Estudiantes. This season isn’t going to be pretty for them; that 2nd place in 2005 no longer counts towards the Promedio, so overnight their relegation concerns will rocket when the Apertura kicks off.
Club Deportivo Godoy Cruz Antonio Tomba Founded: 1921 in Mendoza, capital city of the province of the same name in the west of the country. Last season: 2nd (Primera B Nacional). Nicknamed El Tomba, El Expreso (‘The Express train’), El Bodeguero (‘The Vintner’). Manager: Daniel Oldrá. Barra brava: La Banda del Expreso. Stadium: Feliciano Gambarte, although they currently play in the city’s Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, which was built for the 1978 World Cup.
Founded in a bar in 1921 as Club Sportivo Godoy Cruz, they take their ‘Tomba’ nickname (and half of their current official moniker) from Antonio Tomba, an Italian who moved to Mendoza in the 19th century and founded one of Argentina’s largest vineyards (the city is the largest region of the country’s wine production), following a merger with the by then deceased Tomba’s vineyard works team a few years after Godoy Cruz’s creation. They’ve spent one previous season in Primera A, in 2006-2007, and have returned at the first attempt. Former players include Mauricio Astudillo (later of Deportivo Alavés and Osasuna in Spain) and current Estudiantes midfielder Enzo Pérez. Their clásico is against Independiente Rivadavia. They’ve made some interesting signings and, with the number of sides starting off with poor Promedios, might just manage to scrape to survival this season.
Club Atlético Huracán Founded: 1908 in the Capital Federal barrio of Parque Patricios. Last season: 7th (A), 13th (C). Nickname: El Globo (‘The balloon’). Barra brava: La José. Manager: Claudio Ubeda. Stadium: Tomás Adolfo Ducó (El Palacio).
Huracán are one of the big clubs of the barrios of Buenos Aires, having had some success was in the 1920s, when they won the amateur championships of 1921, ’22, ’25 and ’28. The advent of professionalism in 1931 saw them fall away, though, and their status as the ‘sixth big club’ was challenged as they went title-less (lower divisions notwithstanding) until 1973, when they finally tasted glory again. Huracán are a bit of a ‘cult’ club, having appeared on the cover of El Gráfico an awful lot for a side who rarely win anything, and amazingly have had three of the professional era’s five all-time top scorers on their books: Arsenio Erico; Herminio Masantonio and Ricardo Infante. They also have the distinction of being the opponents for Alfredo Di Stéfano’s first ever professional match, for River, and the following season took the future legend on loan. Their main derby rivalry, welcomed back to the calendar by both sides when they won promotion to Primera A a year ago, is against San Lorenzo. They play attractive stuff when it comes together for them, and I reckon another decent season is coming their way.
Club Atlético Independiente Founded: 1905 in Avellaneda, southern Gran Buenos Aires. Last season: 9th (A), 6th (C). Nicknamed El Rojo (‘The Red’), Los Diablos Rojos (‘The Red Devils’). Barra brava: Los Diablos Rojos. Manager: Claudio Borghi. Stadium: Currently sharing Racing’s ground whilst the Estadio Libertadores de América (Doble Visera) is remodelled.
One of the ‘Big Five’, the third most supported club in the country and the team with more Copas Libertadores than any other on the continent – seven. Independiente are also joint third (with Real Madrid) in the list of clubs with the most international titles (both have fifteen, AC Milan have sixteen and Boca, as mentioned above, seventeen). They are also the only club other than River and Boca to have played every single season in the top flight. In total, they have 14 professional titles, the most recent being the 2002 Apertura, and have produced players of the calibre of Sergio Agüero and Esteban Cambiasso, as well as contributing to Argentina’s current embarrassment of riches in the young goalkeeping department by setting Oscar Ustari and Leonardo Franco on their ways to Europe. Their main rivalry is with Racing, and is considered Argentina’s second biggest derby. They look well equipped to challenge for the Copa Sudamericana on their return to continental competition, but have developed a habit lately of starting impressively in the league, only to shoot themselves in the foot around the halfway point.
Club Atlético Lanús Founded: 1915 in Lanús, southern Gran Buenos Aires. Last season: Champions (A), 16th (C). Nicknamed Granate (‘Maroon’). Barra brava: La Catorce. Manager: Luís Zubeldía. Stadium: Néstor Díaz Pérez (La Fortaleza).
Lanús won their first ever championship in last year’s Apertura, six months after being runners-up to Boca in the 2006 Clausura, but found the added pressure of defending a crown (as well as playing in the Copa Libertadores) a bit too much during the Clausura. Under previous boss Ramón Cabrero they play an open, attractive game, and a lot will depend on whether new boss Luís Zubeldía carries on in that vein. Players who started out at Lanús include 1986 World Cup winner Oscar Ruggeri, and Sebastian Leto, the wide midfielder Liverpool keep getting refused a work permit for. Their derby is against Banfield. If they do indeed keep Diego Valeri until the end of the transfer window, and hang onto José Sand, they can get back on track. If not – and it’s highly likely this is what will happen – they’ll need to keep their faith in their youth academy.
Club Atlético Newell’s Old Boys Founded: 1903 (started playing football 1905) in Rosario, Santa Fe Province. Last season: 11th (A), 8th (C). Nicknamed Leprosos (‘Lepers’). Barra brava: La Hinchada Que Nunca Abandona. Manager: Fernando Gamboa. Stadium: El Coloso del Parque.
Newell’s are one of the two big clubs in Rosario, a city with a fine tradition of attacking football, and have won five first division titles, the most recent of which was an Ariel Ortega-inspired triumph in the 2004 Apertura, but have fallen away since. Products of the Newell’s youth setup include all-time leading goalscorer for the selección, Gabriel Batistuta, Maxi Rodríguez, Jorge Valdano and Lionel Messi among many, many others. They were the club at which Diego Maradona ended his playing career, and had the dubious privilege of being subjected to his subsequent attempt at management. The Rosario derby is played between Newell’s and Central. Both the city’s sides needed late surges to get away from the relegation battle last season, and neither will want to get sucked in again – Newell’s have just sold last season’s leading scorer Santiago Salcedo to River Plate, so a lot will depend on how well they spend the money from that transfer.
Racing Club Founded: 1903 in Avellaneda, southern Gran Buenos Aires. Last season: 13th (A), 20th (C). Nicknamed La Academia (‘The Academy’). Barra bravas: La Guarda Imperial, Los Racing Stones. Manager: Juan Manuel Llop. Stadium: Presidente Juan Perón (El Cilindro).
Another of the ‘Big Five’, Racing’s most glorious period came in the amateur era between 1913 and 1919, when they won seven consecutive championships (three of which – 1914, 1915 and 1918 – were won without a match being lost, and a fourth, in 1919, in which the club won every one of their thirteen matches). Following a championship in 1925, though, they embarked on a barren spell and had to wait until 1949 for their first professional title. Just lately, they’ve been doing even worse, but the forced exit of holding company Blanquiceleste S.A. at the end of the 2008 Clausura gives hope for the future at last. Their fans have included tango great Carlos Gardel, and they’ve lived up to their ‘Academy’ nickname by giving the world the likes of millennarian goalkeeper Carlos Roa, Diego Milito, Julio Olarticoechea and, right now, Maxi Moralez. Their derby rivalry with River Plate is Argentina’s oldest clásico, but it’s Independiente who provide the main test. Boca and San Lorenzo are also enemies. No Racing fan is going to pretend for one second that avoiding relegation isn’t the main priority this season.
Club Atlético River Plate Founded: in La Boca in 1901 according to their official history, but according to football journalist and commentator Alejandro Fabbri, 1903 or 1904 is a more likely date. They moved from La Boca a few years later and ended up in Núñez, in the north of Capital Federal. Last season: 14th (A), Champions (C). Nicknamed La Banda (‘The sash’), Los Millonarios (‘The millionaires’), Gallinas (‘The hens’, an insult given to them by Boca fans and, like Boca’s bosteros, adopted by River fans themselves). Barra brava: Los Borrachos del Tablón. Manager: Diego Simeone. Stadium: Antonio Vespucio Liberti (El Monumental).
Like Boca, River are everywhere in Argentina. Around a third of Argentines are River fans. Their greatest era was the 1940s and early ’50s, when La Máquina won five out of six titles and played some of the most attacking football ever seen, according to contemporary accounts. River have won more Argentine titles than anyone – this year’s Clausura was their 33rd professional title – but only two Copas Libertadores, in 1986 and 1996 (they were beaten finalists in ’66 and ’76). They’ve traditionally supplied a lot of players to the national side, and had one of the strongest youth systems, which has produced players from Alfredo Di Stéfano and Néstor Rossi right down to Ariel Ortega, Hernán Crespo, Javier Saviola and Javier Mascherano. Their derby – oh come on, you know that one. The title they’ve just won, and the emergence of Diego Buonanotte (who’ll miss the first few matches due to involvement with the Olympic squad), give their fans renewed optimism, and they’ll be hoping, at the very least, to defend their domestic title in the Apertura.
Club Atlético Rosario Central Founded: 1889 (started playing football in 1905), in Rosario. Last season: 20th (A), 9th (C). Nicknamed La Canalla (‘The mob’). Barra brava: Los Guerreros. Manager: Pablo Sánchez. Stadium: Dr. Lisandro de la Torre (El Gigante del Arroyito).
The other big club in Rosario, Central have won four titles in the professional era and twice reached the semi-final of the Copa Libertadores. They gave César Luis Menotti, national manager in the triumphant 1978 World Cup, his debut as a player, as well as current selección goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri and Cristián ‘Kily’ González, and brought a certain Mario Kempes to prominence. The clásico rosarino is played against Newell’s. Like their cross-city rivals, they’ll be looking for a good start to the season to get clear of the struggling pack in the Promedio.
Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro Founded: 1908 in Boedo, and now play in Bajo Flores, both Capital Federal. Last season: 8th (A), 4th (C). Nicknamed El Ciclón (‘The cyclone’), Los Santos (‘The Saints’), Cuervos (‘Crows’). Barra brava: La Gloriosa. Manager: Miguel Angel Russo. Stadium: Pedro Bidegain (El Nuevo Gasometro).
The only one of Argentina’s ‘Big Five’ never to have won the Copa Libertadores. San Lorenzo hold the Argentine league record for consecutive league victories (13 in 2001, the first 11 of which came at the end of the Clausura and allowed them to overhaul River’s five point advantage to claim the title), and enjoyed their best period between 1968 and 1974, when amongst other titles they became the first side to win two championships in one calendar year (the 1972 Metropolitano and Nacional titles). In total they’ve won 10 first division titles, as well as the 2002 Copa Sudamericana. Their main derby rivals are Huracán, but the other four ‘Big Five’ sides are also high on the list. Famous products of their youth academy include Carlos Bilardo, Rubén Ayala, and the legendary Héctor Rial. This season Miguel Angel Russo replaces Ramón Díaz, so the Apertura will be a bedding-in period for him. All the same, the fans will want to hit the ground running and challenge for the title.
San Martín de Tucumán Founded: 1909 in San Miguel de Tucumán, the city where Argentine independence had been declared 93 years previously. Last season: Champions (Primera B Nacional). Nicknamed Cirujas (‘the Surgeons’), El Santo (‘The Saint’). Barra brava: La Brava, formed by La Banda del Camion, Barrio Oeste II and Los Pibes del Padilla. Manager: Carlos Alberto Roldán Stadium: La Ciudadela .
Founded by a group of young people in Tucumán, a city in Argentina’s Andean north-west which is the fifth largest in the country, San Martín are the biggest club in the city but still haven’t done much of note in the Primera A. The exception was in the 1988-89 season, when in November ’88, they gave Boca a 6-1 tonking in La Bombonera. In 2004, San Martín were playing regional league football, but after winning promotion through the Torneo del Interior at the end of 04-05, they’ve won their way in successive years through Argentino B, A and, last season, B Nacional to get back to the top table. They haven’t brought any notable players through their own academy, but have employed Julio Ricardo (‘Ricky’ to the English) Villa, and were the club where current Racing boss Juan Manuel Llop ended his playing career. Their clásico is against Club Atlético de Tucumán, so the closest thing they’ll have to a derby this season will be the matches against Gimnasia de Jujuy. If they can avoid a relegation dogfight, they’ll have done a lot, lot more than anyone expects of them.
Club Atlético Tigre Founded: 1902 in the village of Las Conchas (now a district of Tigre), to the north of Buenos Aires Province. Last season: 2nd (A), 14th (C). Nicknamed El Matador (um, ‘The matador’). Barra brava: La Barra del Matador. Manager: Diego Cagna. Stadium: Monumental de Victoria.
Tigre have played 37 seasons in Primera A, and returned last year after 27 years away. Their best ever season had been in 1955, when they finished 6th in Primera A, but they bettered that spectacularly last year, finishing 2nd behind first-time champions Lanús in a thrilling Apertura. Arguably their greatest ever player went on to become a legend at River as part of La Máquina – Bernabé Ferreyra, who in 1931 scored a hat-trick in the closing fifteen minutes against San Lorenzo to bring Tigre from 2-0 down to win the game 3-2. Tigre’s main rivals are Platense, Chacarita Juniors, Nueva Chicago, Quilmes and Atlanta – all in lower divisions.They’ll be looking to stabilise after an amazing high to kick off last season was tempered by a more down-to-earth finish in the Clausura.
Club Atlético Vélez Sársfield Founded: 1910 in Floresta, and now play in Liniers (both in the west of Capital Federal). Clausura: 10th (A), 5th (C). Nicknamed El Fortín (‘The bunker’). Barra brava: La Pandilla. Manager: Hugo Tocalli. Stadium: José Amalfitani.
With six first division titles – most recently the 2005 Clausura – one Libertadores and one Intercontinental Cup (both 1994), Vélez have as much claim as anyone to being the sixth of Argentina’s ‘Big Five’, and were one of the original members of the first professional league in 1931. They did, however, have to wait until 1968 for their first championship. Today, they have one of South America’s best training sites, a stadium so photogenic and atmospheric that it was the chosen venue for the 2006 Apertura-deciding playoff between Estudiantes and Boca and the Independiente vs. Racing clásico during this year’s Clausura (not to mention numerous clubs’ ground of choice in the event of home bans), and a youth system which has produced players like Mauro Zárate. Paraguayan nutjob José Luís Chilavert played and won a lot of trophies with Vélez. Their main derby, historically, is against Ferro, a little way down the Zona Oeste trainline. There’s no reason they can’t carry on their improvement and challenge for some silverware this season. But then I always say that.
see you put in quite a bit of work to write this post! hope everyone appreciates it!
Brilliant preview Sam.
Excellent work Sam! Although I have to point out that AC Milan have 18 officially recognized international titles. Athough Boca could draw level if they beat Arsenal in the Recopa.
Very much appreciated, Sam, an excellent post.
Was wondering where everyone is going to watch the TV matches this season? I always watched on Spanish Digital Plus, but it appears that they have lost the rights (to this, and virtually every major league worldwide), to MediaPro, who don’t even have a channel to put the matches on!
Channel 5 in the UK seemed to have stopped even the highlights programmes.
I don’t know any other channels in Europe that show the games regularly. Obviously, there are other means of seeing the games, but I’m not sure we can discuss them openly here.
I really hope Digital Plus manage to negotiate a last minute deal with Mediapro to get matches, as staying up till three on a Satdy morning – when I work Saturdays! – is gonna kill me.
Anyone heard of the German dance music track ‘3 Tage Wach’ (‘3 Days Awake’)? Now an anthem for evry European fan of Argentine football, having to stay up every weekend now we can’t just record it on D+…
SAM, NICE WORK. DO YOU KNOW WHICH PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN EACH TEAM?
MATTHEW, YOU CAN WATCH MOST OF THE MATCHES ON THE INTERNET VIA ROJADIRECTA.COM
Well Matthew, let’s hope we don’t get in trouble for discussing it openly on here! I do normally try not to though, Daystar… and would you mind losing the CAPS LOCK?
As for the players to watch out, I can’t help you if you want them from every team, but I’ll be posting a few suggestions of ‘names to watch out for’ in the next few days, don’t worry…
Excelent work, Sam. Congratulations from Argentina. Your site is great and I really enjoy visting it every day.
Regarding the tournament, I see River, Estudiantes and Boca as the best teams.
Boca can get in trouble if they have too many injured players, ’cause they don’t have a good number of options. I think they have really good first time players, but the backups don’t are ready yet.
Incredible work, I would rate it with 5 stars!
Sorry, about the caps lock, i forgot i had it on.
Excellent work, Sam. One little criticism, coming from a sensitive San Lorenzo fan: Is the fact the “cuervos” have never won the Libertadores really their most defining characteristic? (You mentioned this first in the San Lorenzo capsule.) I’ve listened to Huracan and Velez fans use this dagger all of my life, but I thought you’d be a bit more “objective” in your analysis. Again, good work all in all, though.
Well, Mate, I did also mention their record unbeaten run (which cost my own side, River, a championship), and the ‘first’ that belongs to them of winning two championships in one year, so I don’t think I’m being too one-sided. It’s true that Huracán and Vélez fans like to taunt you for not having won the Copa, but the media do put you as a club a level above those two, calling CASLA one of the ‘Big Five’, and that’s why I think the lack of a Copa is worth pointing out. There’s no intention to offend, so apologies if that’s what’s happened!
You’re right, Sam. I re-read the capsule and you’re not unduly harsh towards my beloved Ciclon.
I’m admittedly a bit sensitive about the Libertadores thing. I’ve been getting stick about it from my Velez friends ever since they found a way to win the damn thing during the Bianchi years.
And that’s one thing we can agree on – Carlos Bianchi, in his horrible brilliance with Velez and Boca, has made things tough for the both of us. Prior to his managerial stints with those two clubs, I think you could have said that San Lorenzo’s historical accomplishments definitely outweighed Velez’s, and the same could be said of River over Boca. No more. Both of our clubs have some serious debts to pay in the Libertadores thanks to that man.