Copa Libertadores — South America’s grandest club football prize

The Copa Libertadores is the grandest prize in South American club football. The tournament is the equivalent to the European Cup/Champions League in Europe. Founded in 1960, the Copa Libertadores culls together the top teams in South America from league winners to top of the table finishers.

Who won the first Copa Libertadores?

The first winner of the tournament was Uruguay’s Penarol. The club went on to win four more Copa Libertadores trophies with their most recent coming in 1987. The initial tournament held in 1960 featured just seven teams with Penarol coming out on top against Paraguay’s Olimpia.

The 1970s were dominated by Argentine football clubs. Independiente won the trophy four times during the decade while Boca Juniors collected two cups. By the time the 1990s rolled around, Brazil’s top clubs began flexing their muscles in the continental tournament. Over the course of the decade, six Copa Libertadores trophies were won by Brazilian sides.

Three Brazilian clubs have tallied three cup wins apiece which is the most for teams from the country. Sao Paolo, Gremio, and Santos are all level on three wins apiece. The 2020 final (which will be played on January 30, 2021) will feature Santos playing against fellow Brazilians Palmeiras.

Which team have the most Copa Libertadores wins?

Argentine club Independiente are the all-time winningest team in the tournament’s history. The club have seven wins in the tournament and have the trophy on each appearance in the final. Independiente’s successes mostly came in the 1970s. They have not won the competition since the 1984 edition.

Boca Juniors are second all-time in Copa wins with six. Most of Boca Juniors’ success came during the 2000s. Their last title came during the 2007 season. Boca Juniors also have the infamy of losing the joint-most finals with five. First-ever Copa Libertadores winners Penarol have also lost five cup finals.

The tournament has seen several unlikely winners including Ecuador’s LDU Quito and Chile’s Colo-Colo.

 

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