CONMEBOL – The Oldest FIFA confederation

Running like a cheetah and beating the opposition with his pace in the Euro Cup 2016, Portuguese prodigy Renato Sanches is already turning into an anachronism, but the discussion is still fresh when it comes to choosing between 1940 born Pele, and his twenty years younger compatriot cum rival Diego Maradona.

These two named as the greatest footballers of all time, unexceptionally and skilfully led their country to World Cup glories on their own. With a torrent of goals and the World Cup trophy, these two players also left the spectators with their eyes wide open with their style of play.

The release of the movie “Pele: The Birth of a legend” in 2016, the memories of the 1958 World Cup are still fresh in mind, that how a quivered Brazilian National Team was guided to an unprecedented glory by a 17 year old phenom.

The way the South Americans enjoyed the game and their amiable style of play outshone the tactical geniuses of Europeans giants Sweden, alias the Nordic Titans. Similarly Diego Maradona white washed the European giants England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup by scoring one of the best solo run goals of all time, or probably the best.

South America has always produced some of the best football talents in the World, with most of its countries recovering from the European invasions and reviving their cultures and class.

Football in this part of the World has always been a dopamine injector. The joy, with which the players here enjoy this beautiful game, is not less than a pantomime. Their harmony with the juggles, step overs, overhead flips, all makes them an artist on their own. Compared to their European counterpart, football hasn’t been a technical mess for the Latin Americans. With a desire to dance the ball on their feet, the game is their manoeuvre.

Though the European teams have won the most World Cups, but only one European team has managed to win it on the South American soil in it’s 88 year old history, Germany. It is never easy to play in front of such aberrant fans. They celebrate their team’s wins, losses, draws, titles, and upsets altogether.

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)

Including some of the best Football Nations, CONMEBOL is one of the strongest confederation in the World.  The first country to win the World Cup was Uruguay, and the country to win it, a record five times Brazil, is also from CONMEBOL. Comprising a total of 10 teams i.e. Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, CONMEBOL World Cup qualifications are the toughest because of their Round- robin tournament system, in which all the teams have to play against each other.

The best example of this outrageous competition was the latest FIFA World Cup qualifications, where Chile, a star studded team with the players of highest quality failed to qualify for the World Cup. Such is the cascade of competition in this faction. The talisman Lionel Messi, almost miserably failed to book his ticket to Russia after losing consecutive matches, but thanks to his fellow  Barcelona teammate Neymar’s Brazil, who defeated Chile in a do or die situation for Argentina. Neymar later in the press conference told that he promised Messi to make every possible move to secure his qualification in the World Cup.

Founded in 1916, CONMEBOL is the oldest FIFA confederation. It was the first to hold a World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay, and was again the first after sixteen years hault in the World Cup due to World War in 1950 in Brazil, and again the Champion was from South America. Both teams reaching the finals were South American, and Uruguay defeated Brazil to clinch the title again.

It is because of its lucrative history, CONMEBOL is able to maintain an elite level of football in the American Continent. A large number of great players have taken birth in this soil full of enigmas of football. Garrincha, Romario, Di Stefano, Ronaldinho, Aimar, Lionel Messi, Suarez, Radamel Falcao and several countless names, who ruled and owned the fields at their time.

From myriads of competitions, the few which have maintained the maintained the level of competition is the National Club Leagues of each country, Copa America and Copa Libertadores. Where in Copa America, the CONMEBOL nation’s clashes against each other, Copa Libertadores selects the best club from the Confederation and sends it to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup against the top level clubs of the World. The competition between the European winner and the CONMEBOL winner always is a great sight. These are one of the two toughest football federations with big names and big clubs.

COPA Libertadores

Copa Libertadores can be called the Champions League of South America. This competition was started 5 years after the UEFA Champions League in 1960, and the first match was played on 19 April between the Uruguayan club Penarol and Jorge Wilstermann of Bolivia. The Uruguayan side went on to win the first trophy by defeating the Olimpia of Paraguay.

The tournament couldn’t shine in its first two editions, unless Pele appeared in the competition in 1962 with his club Santos, which is regarded as one of the best team of all time. Santos won the competition in 1962 by defeating the defending champions Penarol. The next year, Pele and his team defended their trophy, defeating Boca Juniors of Argentina by 2-1.

The format of the game has been same as of it’s European counterpart, with first round starting with 32 teams and 16 teams ending up at the final. Though, the selection format for the Libertadores in different countries in different. Some of the countries follow the Calendar year format for their National leagues, and some conduct the tournaments in the middle of the year, Brazil being the only team to follow August to May format, the longest running premier division league.

The tournament until last year has a two legged final, but CONMEBOL decided it to reduce it only to a single match from 2019, for which the venue has been chosen, the Chilean capital Santiago.

After Pele, some great names enchanted in European football also played in Libertadores including his Santos posterity Neymar, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.


After Pele, Santos failed to win this highly decorated continental trophy, until Neymar led the team in 2011 to glory where he was the MVP. After winning the final against the same opponent of 1962, Penarol, Santos FC reached the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, where they lost to the Spanish giants FC Barcelona. Similarly Ronaldinho helped his side, Atletico Mineiro to grab their first ever trophy.

Europeans teams winning in the UEFA Champions League are likely to be the winners of the Club World Cup, because of the lucrative and hunky investments in football. But they are likely to be given a brew by their CONMEBOL counterpart. After the European teams, South American teams have won the most Club World Cups, showing a great retention of their valor of football.

Libertadores, the name which refers to the South American independence heroes has a loud roar in the World Football. Europe, which brought the South American countries on their knees and ruled them for years, is now ruled by the South American players.

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