Rodrigo Bueno, blogger at ESPN.com.brNov 3, 2023, 11:50Reading: 6 min.
Not everything that is successful in Europe should be copied here. I already have this opinion even before the introduction of the single final in Conmebol competitions, such as CONMEBOL Libertadores. This game on a neutral field is not part of our tradition. It even happened in the past a few times, but they were tiebreaker matches, a third duel between the finalists when they were equal on points (goal difference was not used as a tiebreaker criterion for some years). Even there, I didn’t really approve of this distant and somewhat cold decision. South America offers various types of difficulties for a solitary final like what happens in UEFA. Firstly, there is already a geographical issue: going from Fortaleza or Quito to Uruguay is not the easiest or shortest task, not even by plane, let alone by land, which is what a large part of fans (especially those with fewer economic resources) ) end up doing.
We already had the end of CONMEBOL South American with a large stadium full of empty seats, we already had a decision for the same tournament in Córdoba when there were not enough flights and hotels to serve the fans, we already noticed an elitization of the public in this crucial Libertadores game that is sold as the most important in America and the second most relevant on the planet in terms of clubs and, now, we see the explosion of violence in a final scheduled for some time for Maracanã, perhaps the most emblematic of all stadiums on the continent, stage of two World Cup finals, symbol of Wonderful city. A clash between Brazilians and Argentines for the throne of South American football is nothing new. It’s natural that the final will feature clubs from the two most successful countries in our region, it’s incredible how they didn’t prepare to avoid mess and disorder.
The mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, said that there would be a “World Cup Standard” in this year’s Libertadores final, basically by having installed big screens in spaces where fans without tickets will be concentrated (there will be thousands of Argentines in this situation, some already suffering in various ways in Rio de Janeiro). You hinchas of Boca Juniors are based in Rio at the Sambódromo, while fans of the Fluminense without tickets you will be able to watch the game at Cinelândia.
In the midst of all this, the stick breaks on the beach, with the police being accused of exaggerating violence too, especially against tourists. Apparently, there was an attack by some organized Flu fans, encouraged by the racist acts of Argentines in several games. Of course, racism is something deplorable and has to be seen as a crime, but assaulting, stealing and threatening are also things that deserve condemnation. In Argentina, the media only talks about “shame” to tell what is happening now in Brazil. This Saturday’s long-awaited football match took a backseat to all the scenes of savagery we saw in Copacabana and other beaches. The world is seeing what the Libertadores is like.
Conmebol, so concerned with making money from the unique European-style final (and also with fining teams for anything to increase their cash flow), released a simple statement asking everyone for peace. “Conmebol calls on Boca Juniors and Fluminense fans to share together moments of joy and celebration that our football provides us. The values of the sport that we love so much must inspire peaceful and harmonious behavior. Therefore, we repudiate any acts of violence and racism that may occur in the context of this final”. That said, let’s play this final match as it was on the program. There was no need to change the location of the decision as happened a few years ago with the South American, whose decision would be at the legendary and grand Centenario Stadium but which was taken to a smaller field in Maldonado.
And look, Maracanã did almost everything to lose this Libertadores final. Bad lawn, Flamengo fighting for space due to a game against Bragantino, violence in the city as a whole (the other day they burned 35 buses and a train in the west zone), promise of poor reception for the expected “invasion” of Argentine fans, etc. There was even talk that Morumbi could be the venue for the final if Maracanã did not meet ideal conditions, but it was just a bluff from Conmebol. The game will take place yes or yes in the great temple of Rio football. No one knows how safety inside and outside the stadium will be guaranteed with so many angry people willing to achieve “Eternal Glory”. Either Flu will finally conquer America, which would be its first official international title, or Boca will once and for all be the King of Hearts, tying with Independiente for seven Libertadores titles. There will undoubtedly be something historic in Rio this weekend, but perhaps this will not just be in the sporting field. Dozens of countries will receive images of the decision, after all this is Conmebol’s plan to promote our “product”, but what we have been spreading to the world so far are images of chaos, hate, crimes, lack of organization and of humanity. The shots (some with rubber bullets) from the single final have already backfired.
Imagine now what this year’s decision would be like if it were like in 2008. The wonderfully beautiful Maracanã to host the final match between Fluminense and LDU after a great first leg in Quito. No confusion, just the drama on the field, the story being written as it should be. Let’s go back to the 2008 semifinal, when there was a confrontation between Boca and Flu. Each one hosting the game in their own stadium, a beautiful celebration for the fans in the stands, everything easier for local security, everything more democratic and inclusive, with more humble people inside the stadiums. Fortaleza fans put on a show in the number of people who went to Uruguay to see the club’s first continental, but these people from Ceará who have been throwing beautiful parties with mosaics deserved to receive a decision of this magnitude at Castelão. The LDU, which complained about the field “chico“, he would also certainly like to have used his home strength to have more of an advantage in the final.
As I’m not one to keep silent about insults and things that I don’t agree with, I speak out here, before finding out who will be this year’s champion of America, against the single final. I’ve been doing this since this new era of South American football began, but now I have even more arguments for this fight. Leave that to European conquerors. This is Libertadores!
Where to watch Boca Juniors x Fluminense in the Libertadores?
Boca Juniors It is Fluminense face each other on November 4th, at 5pm (Brasília time), at the Maracanã Stadium, by the decision of the CONMEBOL Libertadoreswith live broadcast via ESPN at the Star+.