A surprising Barcelona SC prevented what would have been a historic Brazilian poker in the semifinals of the Libertadores. He eliminated Fluminense and now the crosses are like this: Palmeiras-Atlético Mineiro and Flamengo-Barcelona SC. In turn, a minimal victory for Libertad over Santos prevented the clubs of Pelé’s homeland from also monopolizing the Copa Sudamericana. Fortunately, it was distributed a little: Peñarol-Paranaense and Bragantino-Libertad de Asunción will collide. Seven Brazilian teams were about to remain among the eight semifinalists, a devastating and ponderable domain, although it is still disturbing: How to face them successfully …? What do the others play for …?
Such supremacy of Brazilian soccer at the club level (its National Team also leads the Eliminatory with 18 points from 6 games) led the entire continent to wonder what is happening. Even Boca and River were on the road in the quarterfinals. Let us also remember that Flamengo and Palmeiras are the last champions of the major competition. And that of the last ten champions, six were Brazilian. With a relevant addition, the six different ones: Santos, Corinthians, Atlético Mineiro, Gremio, Flamengo and Palmeiras. They are all powerful. And at any moment Cruzeiro, Inter, Vasco, Fluminense, São Paulo could be added… There is a lot of big and powerful painting in the Country of Carnival.
What we must ask ourselves is if this is a trend that is here to stay or if it will be possible to compete against them. The reality is that it is difficult due to a sum of circumstances. In the first three decades of the Cup, the Brazilians achieved just five titles; In the next thirty-one years they have been 15. And now they have a high chance of adding another. They show remarkable growth.
Many attribute this prevalence to the fact that they have more quotas: in this edition there were eight, compared to seven in Argentina and four in the rest. It is a factor, undoubtedly, but not the only one. There are many countries that, even if they were given eight places, would never win a Cup. There is the power of the Brazilian teams, who no longer know what the game was like. nice joke, but they are strong, competitive. Is it because many young talents emerge in Brazil…? Nothing to do, but they have a gigantic economic power compared to that of the Thumbs they face.
And they are reinforced in the rest of South America. Atlético Mineiro is a good example: he hired Hulk making him a millionaire contract and now Diego Costa, another expensive signing; He took Nacho Fernández out of River and then beat him 1-0 with a goal from Nacho Fernández (transferred for 6 million clean dollars for the millionaire club); Matías Zaracho, author of two goals also against River (one with a beautiful Chilean), was the jewel of Racing, Atlético bought 50% of his pass in 7 million free dollars for the Academy. The starting center forward is Eduardo Vargas, from the Chilean National Team; the team captain, Paraguayan Junior Alonso; There are also the Ecuadorian Allan Franco, the Venezuelan Jefferson Savarino and the Colombian Dylan Borrero. An international team.
Is it what will be measured in the coming years …? Jorge Luiz Rodrigues, prestigious Rio de Janeiro journalist from SporTV, reassures a bit: “It is true that the budget difference is much greater than that of all South American clubs, including Argentine football, but there are three clubs with a lot of money; Atlético Mineiro, Palmeiras and Flamengo. They also have a lot of advantage over the rest of the Brazilian teams. Atlético has a patron, Rubens Menin, who is a billionaire. He owns MRV, the largest construction company in Brazil and is a fan of the Galo. Put all the money you need. Palmeiras is behind Crefisa, a powerful financial company whose president Leila Pereira wants to take command of the club. Pay $ 21 million for the advertising on the shirt plus additional bonuses. For being champion of the Libertadores, Palmeiras received another 2.3 million from his sponsor. Finally, Flamengo is doing very well because it is a healthy club, very well managed, and a lot of money comes in from TV ”.
And he adds: “But others are covered by debt. Botafogo owes 185 million dollars, Vasco a similar amount, Corinthians is in trouble ”.
How did Barcelona get a glimpse of itself in the midst of these potentates …? It is very commendable. With his $ 10.5 million destined for the soccer team, he must face Palmeiras ($ 167 million), Flamengo ($ 155 million), Mineiro ($ 105 million) and Fluminense ($ 74 million). Palmeiras’ budget is equivalent to that of ten or fifteen foreign rivals put together. In club football it is an abysmal disproportion. But Barcelona shows that with criteria and wisdom to build a squad you can fight. Atlético Nacional set the tone in 2016 by crowning in great style.
There are still legions that are terrified that a Rich Uncle like Roman Abramovich or club-states like PSG or Manchester City will land on the team of their loves. What would be the problem …? What inject a hundred million dollars, sign great figures and become champions of America …? What are Rubens Menin and Leila Pereira if not two characters from the Forbes list that empower their clubs…?
“In addition to economic supremacy, there is a change of expectation: when I was a child, Brazilian clubs were focused on state or national tournaments, now they bet everything on continental ones, especially Libertadores. This started with the Sao Paulo of Telé Santana ”, says Celso Unzelte, a journalist and historian from São Paulo. And then there are the incredible prizes from the internal championships. The Brazil Cup, the third most important competition, distributes 60 million reais to the winner, who in total raises about 75 million with the previous phases. This means $ 14.5 million. A succulent prize. That is why they all reinforce themselves.
The ball is in the rivals’ court. Either they stay to watch and applaud or they decide to make an effort and fight. (OR)