Copa Libertadores
Founded 1960
Region South America
Number of teams 39
Reigning champions Template:Flagicon Internacional
(2nd title)
Most successful club Template:Flagicon Independiente
(7 titles)
Website Official website

Copa Santander Libertadores de América, known simply as the Copa Libertadores, is an annual international club football competition organized by the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) since 1960.[1][2] It is the most prestigious club competition in South American football and one of the most watched events in the world, broadcast in 135 nations worldwide.[3] The tournament is named in honour of the Libertadores (Portuguese and Spanish for Liberators), the main leaders of the South American wars of independence.[4]

The competition has had several different formats over its lifetime. Initially, only the champions of South American leagues participated. In 1966, the runners-up of the South American leagues began to join; in 1998, Mexican teams were invited to compete. 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.[4][5]

The tournament consists of six stages. In the present format, it begins in early February with the first stage. The six surviving teams from the first stage 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 anywhere between June and August. The winner of the Copa Libertadores becomes eligible to play in two extra tournaments: the FIFA Club World Cup and the Recopa Sudamericana.[6]

The reigning champion of the competition is Brazilian club Internacional.[7] Argentine club Independiente is the most successful club in the cup history, having won the tournament seven times. Argentine clubs have accumulated the most amount of victories with 22 wins while Brazil has the largest number of different winning teams, with a total of eight clubs having won the title. The cup has been won by 22 different clubs and won consecutively by six clubs, most recently by Boca Juniors in 2001.[8]

History Edit

Main article: History of the Copa Libertadores

The clashes for the Copa Río de La Plata between the champions of Argentina and Uruguay kindled the idea of a continental competition in the 1930s.[4] In 1948, the Copa de Campeones, the most direct precursor to the Copa Libertadores, was played and organized by Chilean club Colo-Colo after years of planning and organization.[4] Held in Santiago, it brought together the champions of each nation's top national leagues.[4] The tournament was won by Vasco da Gama of Brazil.[9][10][4] However, it was not until 1958 when the basis and format of the competition was created, 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.[4]

Beginnings: 1960–1969 Edit

File:Huellas de Pelé.jpg

The first edition of the Copa Libertadores 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 first Copa Libertadores match took place on April 19 1960. It was won by Peñarol, who defeated Jorge Wilstermann 7–1. The first goal in Copa Libertadores history was scored by Carlos Borges of Peñarol. The Uruguayans won the first ever edition defeating Olimpia in the finals and successfully defended the title in 1961.[11] It proved to be historic justice for many (even today) due to Peñarol's great contributions to the creation of the tournament,[12] but the Copa Libertadores did not receive international attention until its third edition, which was swept through the sublime football of a Santos team led by Pelé, considered by some the best club team of all times.[13] 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.[14] A year later, O Rei and his compatriot Coutinho demonstrated their skills 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 1–2 and keep the trophy again.[15][14]


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.[16][17] Independiente successfully defend the title in 1965;[17] Peñarol would defeat River Plate in a playoff to win their third title,[11] and Racing Club would go on to claim the spoils in 1967.[18] But the next biggest highlight of the competition, after Pele's Santos, did not happen until 1968 with the introduction of Estudiantes de La Plata.[19]

Estudiantes de La Plata, a modest neighborhood club and a denominated minor team in Argentina, had a style that prioritized athletic preparation and achieving results at all costs.[20][21][22][23] The conjunto de laboratorio or laboratory group, led by 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.[24][25][26][27]
File:Estudiantes 1968.jpg
The pincharratas won their first ever final in 1968 overcoming Palmeiras and defended the title in 1969 and 1970 against Nacional and Peñarol respectively.[28][29] 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).

Argentine decade: 1970–1979 Edit

The 1970s were clearly dominated by Argentine clubs with the exception of three editions. In a rematch of the 1969 finals, 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.[30] 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.[17] 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.[31]

File:Independiente with the 1975 Copa Libertadores trophy.jpg

The first of these titles came in the 1972 edition when Independiente faced off against Universitario of Peru in the finals; Universitario became the first team from the Pacific coast to reach this instance after eliminating Uruguayan giants Peñarol and defending champions Nacional at the semifinal stage. The first leg in Lima ended on a 0-0 tie, while the second leg in Avellaneda finished 2-1 favoring the home team. Independiente successfully defended the title a year later against Colo-Colo after winning the playoff match 2-1. Los Diablos Rojos kept the trophy again in 1974 after defeating São Paulo 1-0 in a hard-fought playoff. In 1975, Unión Española also failed to dethroned the champions in the finals after losing the playoff 0-2.

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 for their second time in history. 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.[32]


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 reached the finals on three consecutive years. The first was in 1977 in which Boca Juniors earned their first victory against defending champions Cruzeiro.[33] 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 penalty shootout. Boca Juniors won the trophy again in 1978 after thumping Deportivo Cali of Colombia 4–0 on aggregate.[34] 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.[35] 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.

Pacific uprising and Uruguayan decadence: 1980–1989 Edit


Nine years after their first triumph, Nacional won their second Cup in 1980 after overcoming Internacional. 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 by beating Cobreloa of Chile.[36][37] After 16 years of near-continuous failures, Peñarol would go on to win the Cup, for their fourth time, in 1982 after beating the 1981 finalists in consecutive series;[11] 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 Estádio do Maracanã. Then, in the final they repeated the dosis on Cobreloa winning a decisive second leg match 1–0 in Santiago. Gremio of Porto Alegre, Brazil Grêmio made history by defeating Penarol to become the Cup winners of 1983 1983 .[38] 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 away leg highlighting Jorge Burruchaga and a veteran Ricardo Bochini.[17]

File:Independiente - Campeón de América 1984.jpg

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 could not manage to win a single one. In 1985, Argentinos Juniors, a small club from the neighborhood of La Paternal in Buenos Aires, 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.[39] 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.[40][41] Peñarol won the Cup again in 1987 after beating America de Cali 2–1 in the decisive playoff;[11] it proved to be their last hurrah in the international scene as Uruguayan football, in general, suffered a great decline at the end of the 1980s.[42] The Manyas fierce rivals, Nacional, also won one last Cup in 1988 before falling from the continental limelight.

File:Libertadores Bogota.jpg

It was not until 1989 before a Pacific team finally broke the dominance of the established, Atlantic powers. Atletico Nacional of Medellín won the final series becoming the first team from Colombia to do so. In a tournament filled with controversial refereeing and circumstances, Atletico Nacional faced off against Olimpia losing the first leg in Asunción 2–0. Because Estadio Atanasio Girardot, their home stadium, did not have the minimum capacity CONMEBOL required to host a final, the second leg was played in Bogota's El Campín with the match ending 2–0 in favor of Atletico Nacional. Having tied the series, Atletico Nacional become that year's champion after winning a penalty shootout which needed to go into four rounds of sudden death.[43] Goalkeeper René Higuita cemented his legendary status with an outstanding performance as he stopped four of the nine Paraguayan kicks and scored one himself.[44] 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. That trend will continue on until 1992.

Renaissance: 1990–1999 Edit


Having led Olimpia to the 1979 title as manager, Luis Cubilla returned to the club's bench in 1988. Around the legendary goalkeeper Ever Hugo Almeida, Gabriel González, Adriano Samaniego, and star Raul Vicente Amarilla, a rejuvenated decano boasted an extremely formidable side that promised a return to the glory days of the late 1970s. After coming up short in 1989 against Atletico Nacional, Olimpia reached the 1990 Copa Libertadores finals after defeating the defending champions in a climactic semifinal series decided on penalties. In the final, Olimpia defeated Barcelona of Ecuador 3–1 in aggregate in a relatively comfortable victory to win their second title.[35] Olimpia will reach the 1991 Copa Libertadores finals afterwards, once again, defeating Atletico Nacional in the semifinals and face Colo-Colo. Led by Yugoslavian coach Mirko Jozić, the Chilean squad beat the defending champions 3–0 sparking an unforgettable party in the country that celebrated the conquest in the streets as well as ending Olimpia's second golden era.[45]

In 1992, São Paulo rose from being a mere great in Brazil to become an international powerhouse. The monumentally-recognized manager Telê Santana turned to the Paulistas's youth and instilled his style of quick, cheerful, and decisive football. Led by stars such as Zetti, Müller, Raí, Cafu, Palhinha, São Paulo beat Newell's Old Boys of Argentina to begin a dynasty that established the club as one of the best ever teams of all time in the world.[46] In 1993 São Paulo successfully defended the title by thumping Universidad Católica of Chile in the final.[47] The Brazilian side became the first club since Boca Juniors in 1978 to win 2 consecutive Copa Libertadores. Like Boca Juniors, however, they would reach another final in 1994 only to have the penalty shoot-out, the instrument of their first victory, come back to haunt them as they lost the title to Vélez Sársfield of Argentina.[48] Velez Sarsfield's consegration in the Copa Libertadores was considered an institutional victory and it was Carlos Bianchi, a former Velez player, that built a squad capable of playing on an equal footing on any terrain against any team.

With a highly-compact tactical lineup and the goals of the formidable duo Jardel and Paulo Nunes, Grêmio won the coveted trophy again in 1995 after beating an Atletico Nacional led, once again, by the iconic figure of René Higuita.[49] Jardel became the top 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 and the skilful midfielder Arilson.


In the 1996 edition, emerging figures such as Hernan Crespo, Marcelo Salas, Esteban Valencia, Sebastian Abreu, Edmundo, Enzo Francescoli and Leonardo Rodriguez helped River Plate secure its second title after defeating America de Cali in a rematch of the 1986 final.[50] The Copa Libertadores stayed on Brazilian soil for the remaining of the 1990s as Cruzeiro, Vasco da Gama and Palmeiras won the spoils. The cup of 1997 clashed Cruzeiro and the Peruvian team Sporting Cristal; it was defined in the second leg of the final when Cruzeiro broke the deadlock with just under 15 minutes left in a match attended by over 106,000 spectators in the Mineirão.[32] Vasco da Gama defeated Barcelona SC with ease to enter in the gallery of champions in 1998. The decade ended on a high note when Palmeiras and Deportivo Cali, both runners-up in the competition before, bid to become winners for the first time and the trophy, in 1999, was decided in a dramatic back-and-forth match that went into penalties. Luiz Felipe Scolari managed to lead yet another club to victory as the Verdão won 4–3 in in São Paulo.[51][52]

This decade proved to be a major turning point in the history of the competition as the Copa Libertadores went through a great deal of growth and change. Having been long overshadowed by Argentina's clubs, the Brazilians begin overshadowing their neighbors as they saw its clubs reach the final on eight of this decade's ten finals (and winning six).[53] From 1998 onwards, the Copa Libertadores was sponsored by Toyota and became known as the Copa Toyota Libertadores.[1] That same year, Mexican clubs, although affiliated to CONCACAF, started taking part in the competition thanks to quotas obtained from the Pre-Libertadores which pitted Mexican and Venezuelan clubs for two slots in the group stage.[5] The tournament was expanded to 36 teams and economic incentives were introduced by an agreement between CONMEBOL and Toyota Motor Corporation.[1] All the teams that advance to the second stage of the tournament received $25,000 for their participation.[54]

Decade of resurgences: 2000–2009 Edit

File:Boca Juniors en La Boca.jpg

After 22 years, in the 2000 Copa Libertadores, Boca Juniors returned to the top of the continent and raised the Copa Libertadores again. Masterfully directed by Carlos Bianchi, the Virrey, along with outstanding players like Mauricio Serna, Jorge Bermúdez, Óscar Córdoba, Juan Roman Riquelme, Martín Palermo, among others, revitalized the club to establish it among the world's best.[55] The Xeneizes started this legacy by defeating defending champions Palmeiras in the final series.[56] Boca Juniors won the 2001 edition after, once again, defeating Palmeiras in the semifinals and Cruz Azul in the final series to successfully defend the trophy.[8][57] Cruz Azul became the first ever Mexican club to reach the final after great performances against River Plate and an inspired Rosario Central.[58] Like their predecessors from the late 1970s however, a Boca Juniors depleted of some of its figures would fall short of winning three titles in a row. As with Juan Carlos Lorenzo's men, the Bosteros became frustrated as they were eliminated by Olimpia, this time during the quarterfinals. Led by World Cup winner-turned manager Nery Pumpido, Olimpia would overcome Grêmio (after some controversy) and surprise finalists São Caetano.[35] Despite this triumph, Olimpia did not create the winning mystique of its past golden generations and went out of the 2003 edition, in the round of 16, after being routed by Grêmio 6–2 on aggregate, avenging their controversial loss from the year before.

File:Sao paulo e atletico paranaense - copa libertadores de 2005 - 01.jpg

The 2003 tournament became an exceptional show as many teams such as América de Cali, River Plate, Grêmio, Cobreloa, Racing, among others, brought their best sides in generations and unexpected teams such as Independiente Medellín and Paysandu became revelations in what was, arguably, the best Copa Libertadores in history.[59] But the biggest news of the competition was an old power called Santos: qualifying to the tournament as Brazilian champions, coached by Emerson Leão and containing marvelous figures such as Renato, Alex, Léo, Ricardo Oliveira, Diego, Robinho, and Elano. The Santásticos became a symbol of entertaining and cheerful football that resembled Pelé's generation of the 1960s. Boca Juniors once again found talent in their ranks to fill the gap left by the very successful group of 2000–2001 (with upcoming stars Rolando Schiavi, Roberto Abbondanzieri and Carlos Tévez). Boca Juniors and Santos would eventually meet in a rematch of the 1963 final; Boca avenged the 1963 defeat, at the hands O Rei and co., by defeating Santos 5–1 on aggregate.[60][61] Carlos Bianchi won the Cup a fourth time and became the most successful manager in the competition's history and Boca Juniors hailed themselves pentacampeones. Boca Juniors reached their fourth final in five tournaments in 2004 but they were beaten by surprise-outfit Once Caldas, ending Boca's dream generation.[60] Once Caldas, using a very conservative and defensive style of football, became the second ever Colombian side to win the competition after eliminating powerhouses such as Santos and São Paulo.

File:Inter v Sao Paulo.PNG

Ruing their semifinal exit in 2004, São Paulo made an outstanding comeback in 2005 to contest the final with Atlético Paranaense. This became the first ever Copa Libertadores finals to feature two teams from the same football association;[62] the Tricolor won their third crown after thrashing Atlético Paranaense 5–1 on aggregate, making them South American champions and, arguably, the best team in the world.[63][64] The 2006 tournament was also an all-Brazilian final and featured the defending champions São Paulo against Internacional; led by team captain Fernandão, the Colorados beat São Paulo 1–2 in the fabled Estádio do Morumbi and held the defending champions at a 2–2 draw at home in Porto Alegre as Internacional won their first ever title.[65][66] Internacional's arch-rivals, Grêmio, surprised many as they reached the final in 2007 with a relative young squad. However, it was not to be as Boca Juniors, reinforced by aging but still-capable players, came away with the trophy to win their sixth title in history at the hands of Juan Riquelme.[67][68]

File:Estudiantes Campeón Libertadores 09.jpg

In 2008 the tournament stopped being sponsored by Toyota. Grupo Santander, one of the largest banks in the world, became the sponsor of the Copa Libertadores, thus, the name change to Copa Santander Libertadores.[1] In that season, LDU Quito became the first team from Ecuador to win the Copa Libertadores after defeating Fluminense 1–3 on penalties, with Jose Francisco Cevallos being a key player, after a 5–5 draw on aggregate in what is considered the best ever final series in the history of the competition.[69][70] It is also the final with the most goals in the history of the tournament. The biggest resurgence of the decade happened in the 50th edition of the Copa Libertadores and it was won by a former power that has reinvented itself: Estudiantes de La Plata, led by Juan Sebastián Verón, won their fourth title 39 long years after the successful generation of the 1960s (led by Juan Sebastián's father, Juan Ramón). The pincharatas brilliantly managed to emulate their predecessors by defeating Cruzeiro 1–2 on the return leg in Belo Horizonte.[53][71]

Format Edit

File:Boca Juniors - Colo colo.PNG

Qualification Edit

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.[6] The countries that use this format are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela.[6] Peru and Ecuador have developed new formats for qualification to the Copa Libertadores involving several stages.[6] Brazil is the only South American league to use a European league format instead of the Apertura and Clausura format.[6] However, one berth for the Copa Libertadores can be won by winning the Copa do Brasil.[6] Uruguay and Mexico also employ a second tournament that qualifies for the Libertadores ("Liguilla Pre-Libertadores" since 1974 and InterLiga from 2004 to 2010 respectively).[6] Starting 2011, the winners of the Copa Sudamericana will qualify directly to the following Copa Libertadores.[6][72]

The competitors of the 2011 edition will be distributed as follows:[6]

File:Copa Libertadores 2007.jpg

Tournament Edit

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.[6] The six survivors join 26 clubs in the second stage, in which they are divided into groups of four.[6] The groups play in a league system, with each team playing home and away games against each team in their group.[6] The top two teams from each group are then drawn into the knockout stage, which consists of two-legged knockout ties.[6] From that point, the competition proceeds with two-legged knockout ties to quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals.[6] Between 1960 and 1987 the previous winners did not enter the competition until the semi-final stage, making it much easier to retain the cup.[6] Between 1960 and 2004, the winner of the tournament participated for the now-defunct Intercontinental Cup.[6] Since then, the winner plays in the FIFA-organized Club World Cup.[6] The winning team also qualified to play in the Recopa Sudamericana, a two-legged final series against the winners of the Copa Sudamericana.[6]

Rules Edit

Unlike most other competitions around the world, the Copa Libertadores historically did not use extra time or away goals to decide a tie that was level on aggregate.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] Starting with the 2005 event, CONMEBOL began to use the away goals rule.[6] In 2008, the finals became an exception to the away goals rule and employed extra time.[6]

Trophy Edit

Main article: Copa Libertadores trophy
File:Chapitas de campeon.jpg

The tournament shares its name with the trophy, also called the Copa Libertadores or simply Copa, which is awarded to the Copa Libertadores winner. It was designed by Italian designer Alberto de Gasperi, an immigrant of Peru, in Camusso Jewelry of Lima (owned by Gasperi) at the behest of CONMEBOL.[73] The top of the laurel is made of sterling silver, with the exception of the football player at the top (it is made of bronze with a silver coating).[74] The pedestal, which contains badges from every winner of the competition, is made of hardwood plywood. The badges provides the year of the edition, the full name of the winning club, the city that the club provenes from and the nation. To the left of that information is the club logo. The current trophy is the third in the history of the competition; in 1970, Estudiantes's third victory in the tournament entitled them to keep the original trophy permanently. Independiente won the second trophy in 1974 after winning the competition for the third consecutive time.

Sueño Libertador Edit

Template:Wiktionary The Sueño Libertador (Liberator Dream) is a Spanish phrase used in the context of winning or attempting on winning the Copa Libertadores.[75] It is a term widely used by Latin American media. Thus, when a team gets eliminated from the competition, it is said that the team has awakened from the liberator dream.[58] The project normally starts after the club win one's national league (which qualify their winner to compete in the following year's Copa Libertadores), and the clubs usually spend large sums of money to win the Copa Libertadores.

File:Caravana Campeón Libertadores 09.jpg

In 1998 for example, Vasco da Gama spent US$ 10 million to win the competition, and in 1998, Palmeiras, managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari, brought Júnior Baiano among other players, and successfully won the Copa Libertadores 1999. The tournament is highly regarded among its participants. In 2010, players from Chivas de Guadalajara stated that they would rather play the Copa Libertadores final rather than appear on a friendly against Spain, the reigning FIFA World Cup holders who are playing with their best side,[76] and dispute their own national league.[77] Players from Santos FC have stated, after their triumph in the 2010 Copa do Brasil, that they would rather stay in the club and dispute the 2011 Copa Libertadores, despite having multi-million dollar contracts lining up for them from clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League such as Chelsea FC of England and Olympique Lyonnais of France.[78]

Sponsorship Edit

Like the FIFA World Cup, the Copa Libertadores is sponsored by many corporations; however, the competition is currently and primarily sponsored by Banco Santander, one of the largest banks in the world, for a period of 5 years starting during the 2008 edition.[1] As the main sponsor of the tournament, the competition will carry the name of the bank, thus, the competition is known officially as Copa Santander Libertadores. The first major sponsor was Toyota Motor Corporation who signed a 10 year contract with CONMEBOL from 1998. However, the competition has had many secondary sponsors that invests in the tournament; many of these sponsors are nationally based but has expanded to other nations. Movistar, a brand of Telefónica, is the only telecommunications sponsor of the tournament.[79]


The tournament's current secondary sponsors are:

Nike supplies the official match ball, as they do for all other CONMEBOL competitions.[81] Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer is also a secondary sponsor as the official Copa Libertadores video game.[82][86] This is the first time that the competition is being featured on a video game.[87] Individual clubs may wear jerseys with advertising, even if such sponsors conflict with those of the Copa Libertadores.[6]

Official anthemEdit


The official anthem of the Copa Libertadores is a section of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral".[88] The famous choral finale is Beethoven's musical representation of Universal Brotherhood.[89] The piece is a non-literal adaptation of An die Freude (English:Ode to Joy) by Friedrich Schiller, who Beethoven admired.[90] The anthem's chorus is played before each at the beginning and end of television broadcasts of the matches in the Copa Libertadores.[88] The piece is also played during the draw of teams at the beginning of each edition.[83]

Match ballEdit


The current match ball for the Copa Libertadores, manufactured by Nike, is named the Total 90 Omni CSF.[91][81] It is one of the many balls produced by the American sports equipment maker for CONMEBOL, replacing the Mercurial Veloci Hi-Vis in 2009.[92] The ball, approved by FIFA and weighting approximately 422 g, has a spherical shape that allows the ball to fly faster, farther, and more accurately.[81] According to Nike, the ball's geometric precision distributes pressure evenly across panels and around the ball. The compressed polyethylene layer stores energy from impact and releases it at launch, and the 6-wing carbon-latex air chamber improves acceleration.[81] Another feature of the ball is its rubber layer; it was designed to allow a better response while retaining the impact energy and releases it in the coup.[81] Its support material of cross-linked nitrogen-expanded foam improves its retention and durability of its shape.[81] Polyester support fabric enhances structure and stability. The asymmetrical high-contrast graphic around the ball creates an optimal flicker as the ball rotates for a more powerful visual signal, allowing the player to more easily identify and track the ball.[81]

Media coverage Edit

Main article: List of Copa Libertadores broadcasters

The tournament attracts television audiences that trascends South America.[3] The matches are broadcasted in over 135 countries, with commentaries in more than 30 languages, and it is often considered as one of the most watched sports events on TV;[3] Fox Sports en Latinoamérica, for example, reaches more than 25 million households in the American continent alone.[93] T&T Sports Marketing is a secondary sponsor that sponsors the television broadcasts of the Copa Libertadores.[6]

Prize money Edit

Clubs in the Copa Libertadores receive $25,000 for advancing into the group stage and $115,000 per home match in the group phase.[54] That amount is derived from television rights and stadium advertising.[54] The payment per home match increases to $161,000 in the round of 16.[54][6]

In addition, CONMEBOL pays each quarter finalist $207,000, $287,000 for each semi-finalist, $345,000 for the runners-up and $575,000 for the winners.[54] The winners also receive $2 million from Banco Santander as a bonus.[54][94]

Additionally, the goalscorer of the tournament receives the Alberto Spencer Trophy and $30,000. The best player of the tournament receives the Premio Santander and $30,000.[95][96]

Records and statistics Edit

Main article: Records and statistics of the Copa Libertadores

Francisco Sá is the only player to have won six Copa Libertadores winners' medals.[97][98] The overall top goalscorer in Copa Libertadores history is Alberto Spencer, scorer of 54 goals. Fernando Morena is second, with 39 goals.[99] Daniel Onega holds the record for the most goals scored in a single Copa Libertadores. All his 17 goals were scored in the 1966 tournament.[99] Luis Cubilla, Nery Pumpido and José Omar Pastoriza are the only people to date to win the Copa Libertadores as both player and head coach. Cubilla won in 1960, 1961 and 1971 as a player and in 1979 and 1990 as head coach.[100] Pumpido won in 1986 and in 2002 as head coach.[101] Pastoriza won in 1986 and in 2002 as head coach.[102]

Carlos Bianchi is the only head coach to ever win four Copa Libertadores.[103] All Copa Libertadores winning head coaches were natives of the country they coached to victory except for Luis Cubilla, Mirko Jozić, Nery Pumpido and Edgardo Bauza.[104] Jozić has the distinction and honor of being the only non-South American coach to win the coveted title.[104] As of the end of the 2010 tournament, Nacional has played 311 matches, the most by any team. Peñarol have scored the most goals, netting 477.[105]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 (Spanish) "Copa Libertadores tendrá nuevo patrocinador desde 2008". September 28, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2010. 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Copa
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Copa Libertadores TV revenues rise". Sports business. March 9, 2006. Retrieved February 2, 2008. 
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Further reading Edit

  • Goldblatt, David Goldblatt (2008). The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer. Penguin Group. ISBN 1594482969. 
  • Jozsa, Frank (2009). Global Sports: Cultures, Markets and Organizations. World Scientific. ISBN 9812835695. 
  • (Spanish) Barraza, Jorge (1990). Copa Libertadores de América, 30 años. Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol. 
  • (Portuguese) Napoleão, Antonio Carlos (1999). O Brasil na Taça Libertadores da América. Mauad Editora Ltda. ISBN 8574780014. 

External links Edit