Millonarios x Flamengo: rival was the best in the world and exchanged despair for SAF

Millonarios x Flamengo: rival was the best in the world and exchanged despair for SAF
Millonarios x Flamengo: rival was the best in the world and exchanged despair for SAF
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Much has already been said about the legendary team of Millionaires – debut rival of Flamengo at CONMEBOL Libertadores this Tuesday (2), with live broadcast on ESPN on Star+ – in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was a squad led by star Alfredo Di Stéfano and filled with players from River Plate in a maneuver that disregarded the transfer rules of the time.

The so-called “Ballet Azul” was named the best team in the world and gave the club the code name “Ambassador”, for representing Colombian football in Europe. But the reality of the moment is different.

Millonarios has been a company club for over a decade, what we call SAF in Brazil. And the law that enabled the transformation of associative clubs into S/A arrived earlier in Colombia, more precisely in 2011.

At that time, lawyer Gustavo Serpa, who lived in New York, in the United States, was convinced by friends that it would be worth investing in the club he loved and which owned the second biggest fan base in the country.

So, he and 20 other partners bought the debt from an association of creditors and rescued Millonarios from a desperate situation. In 2015, Serpa gained a partner for his business. The investment fund Âmber, owned by French businessman Joseph Oughorlian, acquired 80% of the shares and began to control the club, but kept Serpa as manager.

The lawyer became the group’s executive and today also manages the Caracol communications group, one of the most important in Colombia, also purchased by Oughorlian.

Millos then became part of an international conglomerate of clubs, as Âmber also controls the Lensfrom France, the Zaragozafrom Spain, and the Padova, from Italy. In addition to having a stake in the InterMiamiyes, the team of star Lionel Messi.

The purchase of Millonarios raised the expectation among many Colombians that the club would become a continental power, which is far from happening. There were no bombshell signings or immediate results.

All because the philosophy adopted was different: organization of the youth categories, formation of a game identity and specific signings are the club’s pillars. And this takes time.

Millonarios has become a constant contender for titles in recent years. It doesn’t fluctuate from one season to another. He reaches many finals and gradually increases his list of trophies. The last of them was achieved earlier this year, when they defeated Junior Barranquilla in the Colombian Super Cup.

All under the technical guidance of Alberto Gamero, a former club player who was successful at Tolima and was hired in 2020 to give the team a ‘face’.

Gamero is from Valderrama’s generation, with whom he played at a very young age in a famous team from the state of Magdalena. He likes the touch of the ball, the technical quality, the flashy football. A strategy that, although successful in some local tournaments, has not yet proven efficient on an international level. Performance in Conmebol competitions has been poor.

And the fans hope that this new chance will be taken advantage of.

In the current Colombian season, the team has an irregular championship. They came from seven games without winning, but gained momentum with the upset over their local rival Santa Fe last week 3-1; and with the mixed team’s triumph over Fortaleza last Saturday (30). Results that restored hope of qualifying for the final stage of the national tournament.

A good litmus test of the ‘Millionarios project’ is the powerful Flamengo. Will it work this time?

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Millonarios Flamengo rival world exchanged despair SAF

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