Connect with us


Best of South American football: Know your 2014 Copa Libertadores clubs | Part 3


2014 Copa Libertadores

The 55th edition of the Copa Libertadores – the South American equivalent of the Champions League – kicked off this week and, as ever, promises to be the customary rollercoaster ride of thrills and spills.  The vast distances,not to mention the range of climates and altitudes, make it a highly testing, unpredictable and engrossing contest, while also offering the opportunity for a first glance at some of the continents’ emerging prospects.

A Ronaldinho-inspired Atletico Mineiro won their first ever title last year as Brazil continued their great recent record in the tournament, having now provided the last four victors.  Nevertheless, there will be a whole host of clubs who fancy their chances of bucking this trend and getting their hands on South America’s most coveted trophy.

With the final spots now allocated, Outside of the Boot brings you a comprehensive group by group, four part preview to this year’s competition.

Group 5


EveRibBrazilian champions, Cruzeiro, must be considered one of the favourites after a dominant performance in last year’s Brasileirao, waltzing to the title playing some fast-paced, modern attacking football.  In Dede, their marquee signing, they have arguably the best defender in South America but it is going forward where their quality really shines through.  The likes of Dagoberto and Julio Baptista will be familiar names to most, while Everton Ribeiro was the revelation of 2013 and was rumoured to be wanted by Manchester United.

A Raposacan also count on the experience up front with Borges, Ernesto ‘Tecla’ Farias and Marcelo Moreno on their books too.  Though Vinicius Araujo has moved to Valencia, they still have some exciting prospects such as Ricardo Goulart and Lucas Silva.  After arch rivals Atletico Mineiro triumphed last year, Cruzeiro will be desperate to repeat their neighbour’s accomplishment and ensure the Copa remains in Belo Horizonte.

Defensor Sporting

Uruguayan runners up Defensor Sporting could prove to be an interesting proposition in what is shaping up to be a very watchable group.  El Violeta’s squad is absolutely packed with youngsters, many of whom have represented the national team at various levels. Defender Gaston Silva captained Uruguay at the U20 World Cup last summer and Federico Gino, Leonardo Pais and the talented Giorgian De Arrascaeta were all staples in the same Charrua midfield, while Ramon Arias and Adrian Luna appeared in the 2011 edition.  Furthermore, Matias Jones returns to Uruguay after failing to make the grade in the Netherlands and Brazilian midfielder Felipe Conceicao is another to keep an eye out for.  Inexperience could count against them but there are some old heads among the kids with Fleurquin, Olivera, Reguiero and Risso giving a nice balance.

Real Garcilaso

Surprise package of last tournament, Real Garcilaso, defied the odds to reach the quarter-finals – the best performance by a Peruvian side in the last decade – and they should be taken more seriously this time around.  Only formed in 2009, Fredy Garcia’s upstarts have provided a fresh approach in a country whose domestic league is hamstrung by debt and corruption. Paraguayan duo Fabio Ramos and Victor Ferreira are key players for La Maquina Celesteand despite being in a difficult group, write them off at your peril.

Universidad de Chile

Universidad de Chile qualified by disposing of Paraguayan side Guarani, a victory which made them the first Chilean team to win in every country in the continent.  Despite not being like the swashbuckling side that won the Sudamericana in 2011 and reached the 2012 Libertadores semi-finals, La U will be desperate to make amends for crashing out at the group stage last year.  New coach Cristian Romero is hoping to bring the feel good factor back and return to the style that brought them so much success under Sampaoli.

Goalkeeper Jhonny Herrera and defensive stalwarts Osvaldo Gonzalez and Jose Manuel Rojas remain but Chilean football doyen Joel Sked doubts La U will seriously threaten the latter stages of the tournament due to the ongoing failure to replace metronome Marcelo Diaz, the loss of ‘el Principe’ Charles Aranguiz and a diminished penetration from the wings.  Nevertheless, el Chunchocan still count on the likes of Gustavo Lorenzetti and Ramon Fernandez for some inspiration and in Isaac ‘Toro’ Diaz, Patricio Rubio, Rodrigo Mora and Sebastian Ubilla have options going forward.  Romero’s appointment means youth, such as U20 internationals Igor Lichnovsky, Sebastian Martinez and Valber Huerta, will be given a chance too.

Group 6

Newell’s Old Boys

trezThe dreaded ‘Group of Death’ will be one of the most highly anticipated in the competition and those teams emerging unscathed will fancy their chances of a decent cup run.  First and foremost among them will be last year’s semi-finalists Newell’s Old Boys, who also won the Torneo Final under the guidance of Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino before he took the reins at Barcelona.  Though not quite the same force during the recent Torneo Inicial – largely due to the loss of Ignacio Scocco’s goals – they still challenged for the title right up until the final round of fixtures and have a largely similar squad.  Experienced veterans Maxi Rodriguez, Gabriel Heinze and David Trezeguet bring bags of know how and have been joined by the signing of the January transfer window, Ever Banega on loan from Valencia.  Expect them to continue their attractive possession-based football but one overriding concern is the lack of firepower up front, especially were Trezeguet to get injured.


Brazilian giants Gremio qualify as Brasileirão runners up and represent another formidable opponent.  The two-time winners have parted ways with Dida, Alex Telles and Elano but the likes of Rhodolfo, Fabio Aurelio and Ze Roberto remain.  Their success has been based on a solid defence, the second best in the league last year, but o Imortalwill need to address a lack of goals.  Pirate look alike Hernan Barcos will be the target man to spearhead the attack and there will be also high hopes for young Argentinian playmaker Alan Ruiz, on loan from San Lorenzo, to fill Elano’s boots.

Atletico Nacional

Atletico Nacional had a fantastic 2013, winning the Apertura, Clausura and the Copa Colombia, and many have tipped them for a good Libertadores campaign.  Talented manager Juan Carlos Osorio, a former assistant at Manchester City, has a fantastic squad at his disposal and despite being handed such a tough draw, will be confident of progressing.  Unlike some of their rivals, they have plenty of options up front, from Aston Villa legend Juan Pablo Angel to the likes of Fernando Uribe, Jefferson Duque and incoming Sebastian Trellez.  Sherman Cardenas has borne the brunt of the Verdolagas creativity responsibility, especially since Macnelly Torres’ move to Al Shabab, but the arrival of Edwin Cardona will share that burden.  As ever, there are also promising youngsters in the form of Wilder Guisao and U20 internationals Juan Pablo Nieto and Sebastian Perez, the latter once a target of Arsenal.  If they are anything as entertaining as their 2012 incarnation, they will quickly become neutrals’ favourite.


Uruguayans Nacional made the Round of 16 last time around but, for all their history in the competition, will face a real battle to get out of the group. They prevailed against Oriente Petrolero in the first round but will have to significantly improve if they are to progress further. The mercurial Alvaro Recoba is still going and el Bolso will look to him to provide the ammunition for Ivan Alonso and Richard Porta.  There are also a number of players with a point to prove, notably Sebastian Coates on loan from Liverpool and Santiago ‘Morro’ Garcia looking to kick start a once promising career.  Meanwhile, the signing of Rinaldo Cruzado – impressive for Newell’s – is a canny addition and as ever there is a youthful flavour in the form of Renato Cesar, Juan Mascia, Maxi Calzada and Carlos de la Pena, all of whom could make an impression.

Best of South American football: Know your 2014 Copa Libertadores clubs | Part 1

Best of South American football: Know your 2014 Copa Libertadores clubs | Part 2

Best of South American football: Know your 2014 Copa Libertadores clubs | Part 4

An original version of this piece appeared on the writers own blog.

Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson

An Argentinian & South American enthusiast and long-suffering Aston Villa fan, Tom began writing about the continent's always dramatic football after returning from a six-month stint working in Buenos Aires.He has since been featured on numerous sites, such as Sky Sports, IBWM and A Football Report.

You can find more at @tomrobbo89
Tom Robinson

100 to Watch


Scout Report3 hours ago

Scout Report: Vinícius Junior | The most expensive player born this century

Anderson Moura lays down the rule on the world’s most expensive player of the 21st century thus fair, Vinícius Junior....

Talent Radar1 day ago

2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #7: Manchester City’s trio lead the way

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Tactical Analysis1 day ago

Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund 2-3 RB Leipzig | Leipzig’s Press Beats Dortmund’s Possession

Ryan Tank writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Bundesliga match that ended Borussia Dortmund 2-3 RB Leipzig Line Ups...

Series1 day ago

Tactical Philosophy: Paul Clement

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Interviews2 days ago

Interview: Ex-Premier League players on the Problem with Young Footballers

Outside of the Boot had the opportunity to speak with ex-Premier League players – Manchester City’s Paul Dickov, Leicester City’s...

Scout Report2 days ago

Scout Report: Nicolo Barella | Cagliari’s Complete Midfielder

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report on Cagliari’s promising Italian midfielder, Nicolo Barella In a country that is as passionate...

Opinions2 days ago

Statiscal Analysis: Which team has the worst injury record in La Liga?

Luke Glassford provides us with a statiscal look at the injuries suffered by various La Liga teams over the past...

Scout Report3 days ago

Scout Report: Chris Willock | Benfica’s ex-Arsenal youth product

Hrishi Anand takes a look at youngster Chris Willock, whose move away from the Premier League could help blaze a...

Scout Report3 days ago

Scout Report: Marlos Moreno | Manchester City’s Colombian flash

Josh Sippie takes a look at Colombian international Marlos Moreno, whose Spanish education will make or break his chances at...

Opinions5 days ago

Analysing Kevin De Bruyne: Pep Guardiola’s Total Midfielder

Charles Onwuakpa analyses Kevin De Bruyne, who has quickly developed into Pep Guardiola’s most important player. When we talk about...

Scout Report5 days ago

Scout Report: Josh Sargent | USA’s rising star

Josh Sippie takes a look at USA’s brightest young star on the block, Josh Sargent With the Bundesliga’s new prerogative of...

Scout Report5 days ago

Scout Report: Timothy Weah | The talented encore to George

Josh Sippie analyses one of PSG and USA’s young starlets, Timothy Weah The United States trek towards international relevance is...

Indian Football1 week ago

Traveling Barefoot – The Story of Indian Football

Arinjay Ghosh details the topsy-turvy tale of Indian Football through the years.

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

7 Players to Watch at the U17 World Cup 2017 in India

Brian Hradek highlights seven players who could make an impact at the U17 World Cup 2017 The U17 World Cup...

Series2 weeks ago

Tactical Philosophy: Eddie Howe

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Interviews2 weeks ago

Tales of a Football Scout: Giulio D’Alessandro

Kaustubh Pandey gets the chance to sit down with Italian football scout and agent, Giulio D’Alessandro Contrary to popular opinion,...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Newcastle and the Loyalty Project

Josh Sippie takes a look at Rafa Benitez’s approach and style at Premier League newboys Newcastle United. Liverpool, Inter, Chelsea,...

Opinions2 weeks ago

What direction is football heading in?

Jonathan Roberts looks deeply into the direction football is heading in, using de Boer’s sacking as an example.  It’s easy to...

Specials2 weeks ago

In-depth Analysis: Why Lukaku makes Man United better than Ibrahimovic ever will

Alexiou Konstantinos provides a detailed comparison between Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and why the former is an upgrade for...

Tactical Analysis2 weeks ago

Tactical Analysis: Monarcas 3-0 Xolos | Monarcas’ Pressing And Xolos’ Offside Trap

Brian Bertie writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Liga MX match that ended Monarcas 3-0 Xolos Monarcas and Xolos...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot