In the last 10 years, Argentine clubs won the Libertadores five times, while Brazilians claimed three, with Colombia, Paraguay and Ecuador lifting the trophy once. However, nine of the 11 finals had Brazilian sides and in two occasions (2005 and 2006) it was a domestic affair. Something quite remarkable when it is noted that Libertadores rules determine that surviving teams from a country are forced to play each other at least at the semifinals.
In 2011, there is a Brazilian assault: five clubs in the tournament, including 2010 champions Internacional. Gremio’s 2-1 home defeat to Universidad Catolica (Chile) was an exception in the first leg of the round of 16. Argentina has only two representative, and even the fact that 2009 champions Estudiantes are one of them won’t spare the country some blushes.
It’s also about the economy, stupid. Brazilian clubs are now in a much better financial situation than their counterparts and can attract the best players, including a growing legion of neighbours –the MVP in the 2010 Brazilian league, for example, was Fluminense’s Argentine wizard Dario Conca.
However, Argentine clubs have had the last laugh in all the last five finals against Brazilian opposition. Watch this space…