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La U accomplishments unforgettable despite defeat

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Tim Vickery | 11:40 UK time, Monday, 26 December 2011

It is finally over. After 36 games, the unbeaten run of Universidad de Chile came to an end last Thursday when they went down 2-1 to Santiago rivals Universidad Catolica (an interesting side themselves - look out for right-back Stefano Magnasco and left-footed striker Kevin Harbottle).

The long awaited defeat of 'La U' (the previous one was in July) came in bizarre circumstances. At 1-1 and with the game in stoppage time, they looked in total control - until the usually excellent midfielder Marcelo Diaz misplaced a pass out of defence and Catolica's Jose Luis Villanueva fired in a cross shot to win the game.

Apart from ending the run, the goal was irrelevant. It came in the second leg of the semi-final of the Chilean championship, and was not enough to prevent La U marching into the final against Cobreloa, with first leg on Boxing Day and the return match on Thursday.

In truth, losing the unbeaten run was not a complete shock. La U achieved their main objective nearly two weeks ago, winning the Copa Sudamericana (Europa League equivalent) to claim their first international title. Perhaps inevitably, as the end of the season approaches the standard of their play has dropped.

They are strong favourites to overcome Cobreloa and win a 15th domestic championship, but opposing coach Nelson Acosta is a wily old fox, and will be planning a surprise or two.

In a way, the outcome hardly matters. What La U have done this year will not be forgotten in a hurry, and will surely be studied all around the continent.

The Universidad de Chile"s players show their Copa Sudamerica trophy to fans, as they stand on a balcony at La Moneda government palace in Santiago, Chile.

Earlier this month I was in the audience when Jordi Mestre, Barcelona's director in charge of youth development, gave a lecture at a conference of Brazilian coaches. What he had to say set the tone for the entire two days of the event, and his message takes on even more significance after the massacre of 18 December, when Barcelona barely broke sweat as they swatted aside South American champions Santos in the final of the World Club Cup.

Discussion after Mestre had spoken centred on some of the differences between the two sides of the Atlantic. He had outlined Barcelona's commitment to imparting humanistic values, which not only helped the future development of the many who do not make the grade at the highest level, but also helps ensure that those who go on to become stars do not behave like stars.

"We have a lot to learn from that," said Brazil national team coach Mano Menezes, who was also struck by another key plank of Barcelona's philosophy of formation.

Mestre made it clear that match results do not matter in youth development. From the youngest age group right the way up to the Barca B side, winning is never the priority.
"We can't live without results, even with our youth sides," said Menezes. The explanation for this is clear - youth coaches are badly paid in Brazil, and are looking to win titles to attract attention and move up to something more lucrative.

This ties in with another major difference identified by Menezes - Barcelona's work is long term. They have a way of playing and a philosophy of play that has been decades in the making. Mestre dated it to the late 1980s when Johann Cruyff took over as coach.
The club have a collective project. Menezes lamented that in Brazil there is no such thing. Projects are individual, depending on the philosophy of the coach. Then he gets sacked and a new direction is sought.

All of this makes Barcelona a difficult reference point for South American clubs. Conciliating the long term with the short is always a big problem in the management of a football club. Culture and conditions in South America will always give priority to the short term. How to make an impact now?

This is where Universidad de Chile come in, because Barcelona's humbling of Santos was not the only emblematic result involving a South American club in 2011.

That 36-game unbeaten run of La U includes wins against opponents from Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador. The most astonishing of which was in October, when they won 4-0 away to Flamengo of Brazil, and could easily have doubled the margin of victory.

Up against much wealthier and more prestigious rivals, La U destroyed them with a collective philosophy of play. In general terms, a good pass in football is one that gives the man receiving possession the option to play a first-time ball. This does not only need precision of passing, it needs the team to be compact.

Most of La U's passes fit this criteria. At full steam the team is one living, breathing unit, not broken up into attackers and defenders but with everyone participating both with and without the ball.

The quality of La U's play earned them the nickname 'the Barcelona of South America' - an exaggeration, but one which pays enormous tribute to electric little Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli. Unlike Barca boss Pep Guardiola, he is not the inheritor of a club philosophy.

True, Universidad de Chile seem to have a solid base behind them. After flirting with bankruptcy, they and some other Chilean clubs are now being run on business lines, and results have improved. Last year La U became the first Chilean club to reach the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores since 1997.

But that was a very different team with a very different playing style - Uruguayan coach Gerardo Pelusso played a counter-attacking game. After the Libertadores campaign key players were sold, results suffered and Pelusso left.

Sampaoli walked in and in a short space of time, with players he inherited, was able to mould his side to play in a completely different manner, one which has lit up the continent not just for the results it has produced, but for the eye-catching, swashbuckling style in which they have been achieved.

What he has done, others should be able to. The bar has been set for South American teams in 2012.

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week's postbag;
Q) Now that the Colombian national team manager has been let go, what are your thoughts? Is it too soon? They have a wonderful team, capable of winning against any of the other teams on a given day, but they lack consistency and surely a coaching change like this will add to the instability?
Josh Davis

A) Lionel Alvarez has been sacked after one bad game, or perhaps one bad half - the second 45 minutes at home to Argentina last month. As his old mate Carlos Valderrama commented, all the Colombian FA seem to know how to do is sack coaches.
Valderrama and all the old timers seem to be agreed on one point. Colombia lack an identity, a collective philosophy of play. Changing coaches every three months is not the way to find one.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

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  • Comment number 4.

    Another great article Tim - you really are very, very good! Having said that I must declare my disappointment that you and/or the BBC chickened out and did not open up last week's blog on the Suarez situation for discussion. I had been hoping you would write a blog on the situation and was looking forward to the post-blog discussion as you and your readers tend to be a learned lot.

    I live in Colombia and so know what it is like in Colombia. I am often called 'gringo' or 'mono' (meaning Caucasian-looking, not monkey!), whilst others are identified by their appearance such as 'flaco' (thin), 'gordo' (fattie) and of course 'negro' and 'negrito'. I still find it a little weird and somewhat wrong but there is absolutely no malice intended at all, and indeed is often affectionate and well-meaning.

    Having said that, I did have a row with a colleague after I took exception to him using another common Colombian phrase which, in my opinion, is truly racist: 'trabajando como un negro'. I asked him not to use the phrase and he was not happy that I had implied he had said something racist, and that it was a normal phrase in Colombia and that I should adapt to their ways as opposed to imposing my culture on them.

    I only mention this so as to show an example of the cultural difference when it comes to appearance and race that exists in South America.

  • Comment number 5.

    @3

    You should well know that there is a big difference between addressing someone as negro if it is the established nickname of a personal friend and addressing someone you don't know.

    Plenty of people have gordo as a nickname but you wouldn't use it in the street to ask someone for the time/directions etc... . Even more caution should be taken with negro.

    Certainly in Argentina, should a gringo stop a dark-skinned local and address him as negro it wouldn't go down well at all.

    Its all about context and situation.

  • Comment number 6.

    I meant @4!

  • Comment number 7.

    @5 sure, good point. If I, or any other gringo used the phrase there would be problems, but I have seen (many a time) a Colombian call someone they do not know 'negro'. But I take your point!

  • Comment number 8.

    Firstly suarez was using the phrase to wind up evra so it wasn't meant as an affectionate term and as such whether or not it can be used as such in another country doesn't justify him can him "negrito". Secondly he isn't in south america and hasn't been for quite some time on a permanent basis and is fully aware that he couldn't walk down the street in amsterdam or liverpool refering to people by the colour of their skin. Anyone that thinks it is a "cultural difference" as said by alseno needs to address the way they think about respect as this sort of thing shouldn't be exceptable anywhere.

  • Comment number 9.

    @evoh - just a question out of genuine curiosity - how do you know he was using it to wind Evra up? Do we know exactly what he said? From what I have read, we only know that he used the term several times during the match. Have the actual words/phrases been published?

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    What a shame that a piece by Tim about South American FOOTBALL is predictably being hijacked by those who insist on talking about Suarez, something about which there are about 1,000 different blogs and message boards to discuss it on.

  • Comment number 13.

    @11
    You've hit the nail on it's head there bosterososvigilante, regardless of whether Suarez was racist or not and we won't know for sure until the FA release all documents regarding the incident, for them to say that Evra did nothing wrong yet Suarez deserves an 8 match ban is a real kick in the teeth to anyone who hates racism.

    They've basically set their own rules regarding what's racist and what isn't, they've decided for everyone that any words describing someones place of birth can't be racist, but as soon as a word mentioning colour is used, that's forbidden territory.

    This is utterly ridiculous, especially when anyone with a brain knows that the words themselves mean nothing, it's the context they are used in and the tone of their use that matters.

    It's even worse for the FA to brand someone as a racist before telling them their reasons for doing so, could they be more inept if they tried?

  • Comment number 14.

    Don't know what your problem is bognor.

    Suarez is south american, the case brings questions about the difference in culture between SA and england. As Halstead pointed out, Vickery's previous column on the subject did not allow messages.


    Do you have nayhting interesting to say or you just come to argue?

  • Comment number 15.

    There are few enough posts on Chilean football, it would indeed be nice to have some comment on the piece! Said as a long suffering Scottish Wanderers fan!

  • Comment number 16.

    what have any of these comments got to do with the blog above? I dont believe either suarez or evra play for La U's

  • Comment number 17.

    Bogoff, escudo, skimmintoes you all critisice but YOU OFFER NOTHING.

    Where are your expert views? I cant wait to hear them.

    zzzzzzzz....

  • Comment number 18.

    Why has this article been hi-jacked with talk about bugs bunny?

    Why does everything have to go back to the greedy pl? I love reading tim's pieces so that i can escape the self obsessed, fickle members of the media we have over here.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Tim I think if you check you will see that the "U" (Universidad de Chile) beat Universidad Catòlica 2-1 not the other way around.

  • Comment number 20.

    19 - nellig, i suggest you check a little closer.
    it was a 2 leg semi final. La U beat Catolica 2-1 in the first leg.
    Catolica beat la U 2-1 in the second leg - la U progress to the final on the basis of havingthe best record in the league phase.

    when i described the winning goal, did you think i was having some kind of halucination?

  • Comment number 21.

    today's first leg of the finsl with cobreloa was 0-0 - second leg on thursday

  • Comment number 22.

    I stand corrected, I watched the 2-1 win and thought nothing more about it, so yes, I did think you were hallucinating, but turns out it was me lol

  • Comment number 23.

    Interesting blog Tim. I'm from the generation that used to play out on the streets from even before infants school. If the now diminishing green spaces in the area were unavailable, the kids would play in the road, and football and cricket related activities were prominent. There was inevitably some headless chicken stuff, but it was surprisingly quite organised. One of the older boys used to compliment my delivery of passes so he could take them in his stride, and that had always been at the forefront of my mind from my earliest days at junior school. To this day, I remember our Games teacher telling us the importance of the timing, angle and weight of pass, basically saying to deliver the ball how you would like it it to be delivered to you. Even though yesterday wasn't his best game, it seems to me this is a major part of David Silva's game, but not James Milner's, and is representative of why Spain are better than England. And Barcelona are the masters. They seem to be thinking of the options that they can be giving to the player they pass to, whereas our players are not thinking so far ahead, or just looking to shirk responsibility. A good pass can take a team mate past an opponent, or opponents, while a "lazy" pass will leave your team mate still not past the gain line, and possibly under pressure.

    Conicidentally with your article, Manchester City have just been given planning permission for the new, highly awaited Academy. City have already been all around the world checking out the cream of sporting institutions, including Barcelona's. If you watch the highlights of the U-18s or Elite Development Squad (no longer called the "Reserves"), you will see all the football played along the ground, irrespective of the situation, and league tables nowhere to be seen, though I think I'm right in saying both are top! Early days yet, but with the senior team, you can see a pattern emerging that has City fans walking around with smiles on their faces.

  • Comment number 24.

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  • Comment number 25.

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  • Comment number 26.

    Removing my post @25 is shocking.
    Shame on you BBC!

    When you send me an e-mail telling me so, strap a pair on and explain to me why!!

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    hi good article as usual tim, i was just wondering if you have any update on eduardo vargas? as a liverpool fan a couple of months ago there where alot of rumours about us being interested in him and lately to me anyway it has been apparent that we need a "fox in the box" goalscorer more than ever. would he be a worthwhile signing? and is it a credible rumour?

  • Comment number 29.

    Tim, I have always thought that Bielsa is the best manager in the last 30 years. The high pressing game, attractive attacking football and working as a unit - this is Bielsa football at its best. You do not have to be Barcelona to do this, although it helps if you have technically gifted players. The main thing is that you have to be a team, one team, and play as one.
    No big surprise to see this turned into a Suarez blog. It will not be long before it turns into a Barcelona bashing blog as well, given that you have written something positive about them. Barcelona are not popular in England you know.

  • Comment number 30.

    Some people need to watch Rush hour 1. when Chris Tucker took Jacky Chan to his mates.

  • Comment number 31.

    28 - Eduardo Vargas has signed for Napoli, and will be playing his last game for la U on Thursday.

    It will be interesting to see how they get by without him next year - he's their one truly outstanding player, someone who can tip the balance in one against one situations (though he is prone to petulance).

    I wonder if his signing makes a summer move more likely for cavani or lavezzi.

  • Comment number 32.

    brilliant piece as asual- i personally think that this is what andre vilas boas is looking to build at chelsea fc and the owner abramovich would love chelsea to play with this kind of attacking intent/panache and be universally admired but if it doesn't deliver results in a short enough time span you have to fear for avb's job.a shame because the manager/owner all want the same thing but the owner won't accept not winning for a few years to achieve this

  • Comment number 33.

    Excellent post as usual.

    As a Brazilian that feel as a 'widow' from the 1982 National team I was wondering if you really think that in a near future Brazilian football has any chance of going back to its origins and emphasise a more technical and artistic way of play?

    I personally think that the supporters, myself included, do not relate to the National team as we cannot see us represented when the selecao are playing, at least in most of the last 30 years. The only exception happend in 2002 when, contrary to everyones belief, bearing in mind Big Phill records of 'italian style of play' at club level, the team played a attacking style footbal even though not as attractive as in 82 but very incisive.

    I fear that as the times goes, the new generations might not understand what actually 'jogo bonito' means in its essence and the current trend might be perpetrated by the short term mentality of our entire football status-quo (opportunistic/fascist group of dirigents) and therefore short term over 5 decades will become the part of our football culture.

    Is there any hope of change, especially after the Barcelona x Santos game?

  • Comment number 34.

    Tim, it is always refreshing to read your blogs especially the ones about unsung heroes and transformational teams. One hopes that La U's ascendancy will serve as a catalyst for teams in other less hyped leagues. However, credit should be given correctly to the protagonists of this playing style. Hungary in the mid-50's introduced high mobility and rapid passing, followed by Brazil a few years later. However, it was Cesar Menotti who transformed Argentine football with a compact, high pressing, attacking style over 35 years ago. Arrigo Sacchi perfected this tactics at Milan in the late 80's and in the process changed the philosophy of Italian and European football.

    Before Sacchi, it was the norm to score the solitary goal in a European final and then tighten up at the back. Liverpool, N. Forest, Villa, Everton, Anderlecht, Bayern etc. were all masters of this craft. Overnight, Sacchi's Milan changed this mentality with their high pressing, high impact and high octane football. We easily forget that Johann Cruyff's highly touted Barcelona were crushed 4-0 by Milan in the 1994 European Cup final. Likewise, a more talented and experienced Holland team was dismantled 3-1 by Argentina in the 1978 WC final. So, Bielsa, Cruyff, Sampaoli are all disciples but not protagonists of a style that started with Hungary in the 50's.

    The comments on race have ignored one simple fact. Derogatory language of any type has its roots in ignorance. Every race has been subjected to racial slurs and racist atrocities at some point in history. If in doubt ask the native Indians in North, Central and South America, or the Japanese and Chinese before their economic ascendancy, or aborigines in Australasia, or the Caucasian explorers/settlers who were hung or slaughtered across Africa and Oceania because they looked like lepers cast off by the gods.

    Fortunately, human beings now claim to be "civilized" which means that we have the capacity to transcend our base instincts. Hopefully, the carrot and stick approach will help to control this issue on the field in much the same way that the racist slurs have diminished in the stands.

  • Comment number 35.

    As a teacher, I used to coach Luton Schoolboys in the 1990's and we used to take our team to a tournament in Holland where we would play the likes of Ajax, PSV, Sparta etc. The team I coached was packed full of players that played the game the way that I wanted to see it - developing skills and playing thoughtful posession football. The Holland tournament was always an education. It was not about winning it was about developing skills. The Dutch keepers always gave the ball to the wingbacks - even though they would (in some cases) lose the ball 90% of the time. The key thing was about what they learnt when they used it and passed it correctly. Some of the British spectators, would mock this attitude - encouraging the keeper to simply hoof it on the air. Sadly in the British game, the attitude is not of coaching, but winning, and doing so by making the fewest mistakes. Charles Hughes coaching manual should be ripped up and never feature in any coaching course. It has been too long that the technical skills of the British based players have been shown to be inferior at major tournaments and IMO this is because we do not spend long enough developing players and the focus is on winning from a very young age. It is easier to develop a competitive attitude later on, than it is to develop an individuals skills.

  • Comment number 36.

    @30. Jackie Chan's character got an eight day ban from police work for that.

  • Comment number 37.

    Tim, you need to change that profile pic. This isn't facebook mate.

  • Comment number 38.

    "What he has done, others should be able to. The bar has been set for South American teams in 2012"

    hmm...not so sure about that. Unfortunately, South American clubs cannot afford to keep a team together for longer than a season. The Europeans will invariable come knocking and take their most valuable assets off with them to the old continent... not much has changed in 500 years, has it? ;)

    It is almost impossible for South American clubs to sustain this kind of model and that makes long term planning more of a dream than anything else. This is a shame as it deprives football fans of the kind of entertainment reserved only for teams like Barcelona, who can afford to maintain their roster of players for years (and strengthen it too).

    In the case of Universidad de Chile, they have already lost Vargas, surely others will follow. After all, this is a business and the idea is to make money by selling players. Hopefully, they will be able to replace him adequately and the team will continue performing in the same manner. If they manage to do so, they'll be the team to beat in the next Copa Libertadores.

  • Comment number 39.

    "...But that was a very different team with a very different playing style - Uruguayan coach Gerardo Pelusso played a counter-attacking game..."

    Agreed...that version of la U based their whole campaign on getting good results on their away games. That was simply because they could sit back and counter attack quite efficiently. At home, though, the story was quite different as they didn't have the football to take the game to the opposition and were finally found out in the semifinals.

    With Sampaoli, they adopted a totally different philosophy of football, attacking, exciting, entertaining, which resulted in total domination of the local league as well as destroying all in their path in their way to winning the Copa Sudamericana.

    Hopefully, he'll continue getting the backing he needs to keep the team strong playing that sort of football and avoid what happened to the Chilean national team with the Bielsa fiasco.

  • Comment number 40.

    @29 "...this is Bielsa football at its best. You do not have to be Barcelona to do this, although it helps if you have technically gifted players. "

    Bielsa's Argentina was a joy to watch, they dominated the qualifiers and well...we'll never really know what went wrong in the WC.

    Still, he applied the same tactics to an ordinary team like Chile and turned them into a dynamic, attacking, exciting team that only came undone due to their own limitations.

    So, the system works...and it would work even better for a team with unlimited resources who could buy any player they want, or a national team with quick, technically gifted players.

    Now, there's a thought...why not get Bielsa to coach Brazil?...He'd certainly bring in some discipline and exciting football to Brazil...and with good prospects of actually winning the next WC...although the thought of having an Argentine coaching Brazil would no doubt be too much to bear for Brazilians. :)

  • Comment number 41.

    re: Suarez...
    funny how people get wound up about insults footballers tell each other during the course of a heated game, as if that had never happened before.

    What I find more interesting is that he gets a ban for 8 games for calling another player names while Roy Keane got 3 games for ending Haaland's career with a premeditated leg-breaking assault.

    So much for sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me... ;)

  • Comment number 42.

    #41

    Not that im condoning what Keane did or why he did it, but Haaland's career carried on for 2 years after that tackle, so it wasnt necessarily career-ending. Though Kean's tackle is believed by Haaland to have been the root cause of the retirement. It was though a nasty, and planned, tackle. He got 3 matches and £5k for the sending off, then 5 more once it came out as premeditated in his book with a further £150k fine, so his punishment was actually marginally worse than the one Suarez got (same ban, worse fine)

  • Comment number 43.

    Tim,

    Do you think La U's coach is being monitored by any of the Big European Clubs. Most clubs want to emulate Barce so getting the South american Pep could be a great move for some clubs.

    Maybe a move by one of the italian or spanish clubs that want to challenge the big boys?

  • Comment number 44.

    34.At 18:09 27th Dec 2011, Falcaocerezo wrote:

    Just to add in terms of protagonists and fathers of modern football. It was Viktor Maslov at Dynamo Kiev that introduced the high line, pressing and quick passing, and is regarded as the founding father of "modern football", being the first manager to use pressing and the 4-4-2 formation.
    His disciple (Lobanovski) and elsewhere Michels had both at around the same time began to adopt the tactics what are now known as "total football".

  • Comment number 45.

    Great blog as always Tim!!!

    http://footballalwayswins.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 46.

    Always great stuff here, cheers Tim !

    I cant wait for the Copa Libertadores to start ( on January 24th). Working in Buenos Aires for a European Bookmaker, I have been following the last 8 years Copas quite close and have had some long discussions with some Brazilian contacts ( who claim all 6 Brazilian teams in this years Copa Libertadores have bigger chances than any of the Argentinians even Boca) mostly due to the way the Brazilian economy has made the Brazilian league at a different level too any other leagues in Latinamerica.

    How do you rate the Brazilian teams, ( Corinthians, Vasco da Gama, Santos, Internacional, Flamengo and Fluminense), chances in the tournament and in what order ?

    With all the heavy weights teams on the continent prioritizing the Copa Libertadores over their local league. Do you reckond, a "small" team like Universidad de Chile can go all the way again in the "real" tournament as Copa Libertadores is ?

    Brazilian and Argentinian teams have been dominating the tournament, winning 6 out of 7 recently, with LDU Quito the exception (they didnt qualify this year due to the effort in Copa Sudamericana cost them in the Ecuadorian league). I was, like you, very impressed by Universidad de Chile this year and they deservedly won. But I doubt, that they can do another 4-0 away in Brazil or Argentina in the Copa Libertadores.

    Thanks again for a great blog.

  • Comment number 47.

    @42
    the point is...you get 8 games for calling someone names but only 3 if you break their leg! ... ah yes...later he acknowledged it was a premeditated action (as if that wasn't obvious enough) and for this assault he gets...wait for it...5 more games and a fine that would've meant about a week's salary.

    Had Suarez chosen the leg-breaking tackle option instead, he would've been off the hook by now.

    I'm not defending Suarez' actions by any means but it seems the English FA has used him as the proverbial scapegoat while conveniently choosing to ignore other cases such as the one against John Terry's...isn't he England's captain?...not that the English FA would have double standards or anything like that...would they? ;)

  • Comment number 48.

    Good article Tim. The overall message is correct, La U did one hell of a job this year. This means that they get to go to the Libertadores right? Would you be able to give us a guess at how far you think they will go? Don't worry if not, it really is quite early for that. I only saw bits and bobs of the way they play but I was impressed, I would not be surprised if they win.

    Sorry about even giving space to this but it is rather a shame about all the comments about Suarez on a blog about La U, though I do believe a relevant blog should have been opened, if there wasn't one already.

  • Comment number 49.

    @46
    isn't it always the case that tournaments are very real until your team loses and all of a sudden they lose their importance? ;)

    La U is one of the big clubs in Chile and the Sudamericana is the first international trophy they win. Maybe Corinthians and Fluminense can be inspired by their example and actually try to win something outside their own country.

    Vasco came 2nd in the Brazilian league and were no match for la U in the Sudamericana, a young, dynamic high-pressure team against an aged, slow brazilian team was never going to be a contest for too long.

    Don't know much about the Brazilian league but if players like Ronaldinho and Adriano can go back there and command a central role in their clubs, then the standards of play are a lot lower than what they think, and as much as they claim their economy is stronger, the Real can't compete with european currencies so they will usually end up with players who have been discarded from Europe just like all the other South American leagues.

  • Comment number 50.

    @47 Bladerunner

    No, the english FA has not ignored the John Terry case. He is under criminal investigation and has been charged by the police.


    They await your apology I'm sure...

  • Comment number 51.

    @50...

    "criminal investigation"?.. "charged by the police"?.... didn't know the English FA had so much power!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    @49, I think you need a mate ( not the friend) and a break from blogging.

    "isn't it always the case that tournaments are very real until your team loses and all of a sudden they lose their importance? ;)" - MY TEAM OF THE DAY IS THE ONE WHERE I PUT MY MONEY. IF YOU DO FOLLOW THE SOUTH AMERICAN COPAS, YOU WOULD KNOW, THAT THERE IS A VERY BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING THE COPA LIBERTADORES AND THE COPA SUDAMERICANA, NOT ONLY BECAUSE MOST BRAZILIAN/ARGENTINIAN TEAMS PLAYS WITH MIX TEAMS IN COPA SUDAMERICANA, BUT ALSO BECAUSE FOR EXAMPLE THE BRAZILIAN TOURNAMENTS RUNS FROM MAY TO DECEMBER, WHICH MEANS, THEY CAN GIVE THE COPA LIBERTADORES FULL PRIORITY, WHEN IT STARTS IN FEBRUARY.

    "Vasco came 2nd in the Brazilian league and were no match for la U in the Sudamericana, a young, dynamic high-pressure team against an aged, slow brazilian team was never going to be a contest for too long." VASCO WAS FIGHTING FOR THE BRAZILIAN CHAMPIONSHIP, WHEN IT HAD 2 ROUNDS TO GO AT EXACTLY THE TIME THEY MET LA U AND I AM NOT SURE THE SEMIFINALS AGAINST LA U WAS THEIR MAIN PRIORITY AT THE TIME, THEY KIND OF GOT TO THE SEMIFINAL PLAYING WITH THEIR 2ND TEAM IN THEIR AWAY MATCHES IN EARLIER ROUNDS, WHICH WAS MY WHOLE POINT IN THE MESSAGE ABOVE.

    "Don't know much about the Brazilian league but if players like Ronaldinho and Adriano can go back there and command a central role in their clubs, then the standards of play are a lot lower than what they think, and as much as they claim their economy is stronger, the Real can't compete with european currencies so they will usually end up with players who have been discarded from Europe just like all the other South American leagues." LETS GET SOMEONE, WHO KNOWS BRAZILIAN FOOTBALL BETTER THAN US TO COMMENT ON THAT MESSAGE. NOT SURE HOW MANY ECONOMIES IN EUROPE WOULD BE ABLE TO REJECT REAL MADRID AND BARCELONA AND PAY NEYMAR, WHAT HE WILL EARN THE NEXT YEARS.

    "In the case of Universidad de Chile, they have already lost Vargas, surely others will follow. After all, this is a business and the idea is to make money by selling players. Hopefully, they will be able to replace him adequately and the team will continue performing in the same manner. If they manage to do so, they'll be the team to beat in the next Copa Libertadores." AGAIN I AM NOT SURE YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU TALK ABOUT. I AM PRETTY SURE VARGAS IS THE ONLY PLAYER THEY WILL SELL AS THE BIGGEST TOURNAMENT IN THE YEAR IS COMING UP, IT IS MORE LIKELY TO BE THAT THEY WILL BUY SOME STRON

  • Comment number 53.

    Great blog Tim.

    I am eager to here about a certain 18 year-old playing for Gremio at the moment. Leandro has scored a few goals and I would like to know whether he is an upcoming name in Brazil?

  • Comment number 54.

    @51 Bladerunner

    The FA cannot act until the police/cps have finished.

    They still await your apology...

  • Comment number 55.

    @52
    "I think you need a mate ( not the friend)"

    sorry...that doesn't make sense

    "...[ lots of nonsense in uppercase from jessen2 and ]...THERE IS A VERY BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING THE COPA LIBERTADORES AND THE COPA SUDAMERICANA, NOT ONLY BECAUSE MOST BRAZILIAN/ARGENTINIAN TEAMS PLAYS WITH MIX TEAMS IN COPA SUDAMERICANA..."

    of course the Libertadores has more prestige, even you know that. And despite conmebol's attempts at changing the format to include more brazilian/argentinian clubs. But the Sudamericana is still a tournament and in case you haven't noticed, clubs are expected to play in simultaneous competitions these days. If they can't, then there's an issue with their club organisation/preparation, not with the competitions.

    "BUT ALSO BECAUSE FOR EXAMPLE THE BRAZILIAN TOURNAMENTS RUNS FROM MAY TO DECEMBER, WHICH MEANS, THEY CAN GIVE THE COPA LIBERTADORES FULL PRIORITY, WHEN IT STARTS IN FEBRUARY."

    The last Libertadores 4er finals started in May...I guess their full priority only lasts from February to April.

    [some more nonsense in uppercase from jessen2... and then...]

    "I AM PRETTY SURE VARGAS IS THE ONLY PLAYER THEY WILL SELL..."

    Sorry, I didn't know you were involved with Azul Azul's business decision making...you must be in the know.

    Immediately after la U's Copa Sudamericana win, Azul Azul expressed their conviction that the team would remain the same, that nobody would leave, that Vargas would play the Libertadores 2012 with la U, etc, etc, etc. Within a week, Vargas was signing for Napoli...

    Once again, you can't promise anything with South American teams, they're simply subject to the power of the Euro.

 

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