Colombians win competition against Ecuador's Independiente del Valle.


What makes the two young Rosario Central players Franco Cervi and Giovani Lo Celso the players they are?


An interview with Uruguayan sports journalist Nicolás Difiori ahead of Sunday's Clásico.


Taking a look at the next great Argentinian #5, the next Javier Mascherano.


Colombians win the Copa Sudamericana after penalty thriller against Huracán.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Iván Alonso to leave Nacional for River Plate?

Iván Alonso (photo from Télam)

Uruguayan striker Iván Alonso is close to a move from his home country's record champion Nacional to the Copa Libertadores holders, River Plate from Argentina.

I personally did not see this move coming anymore after the end of last season. Iván Alonso will be 37 years old in just over two months. Yet the loss of their captain would be a big loss for Nacional, as his numbers did not dwindle down despite his age. 

Instead, Alonso, who played for Nacional since January 2013, continued to score a ton of goals for the Uruguayans, becoming top scorer of the country on multiple occasions. In the past Apertura, he scored 8 goals and assisted on further 6 in a 13-game span. 

What's in it for River?

The only two "real" central strikers River has at the moment are Rodrigo Mora and Lucas Alario. While Alario has gathered interest from Europe before (Inter Milan), it is relatively safe to assume he will still play there for the upcoming season. Where does it leave Alonso? Assuming he can reproduce his goalscoring ways from Uruguay, he will not have to hide between any of these two, but it is doubtful that he will push them to the bench.

If anything, age alone is speaking against doing so for coach Marcelo Gallardo. But River will play in three competitions again and could definitely use some help rotating in fresh legs from time to time. In the Copa Libertadores, they are up against The Strongest, Trujillanos and the winner of César Vallejo/São Paulo. In addition, the league and Copa Argentina are being played.

I just wonder whether buying soon-to-be 37-year olds is the right way of business for River Plate. It would definitely not be a move for the future.

What about Nacional?

Losing your captain is never a nice thing. Neither would it be for Nacional about a week before the new season starts. A year after the Palestino disaster, the club is also back in the Copa Libertadores group stage, in a very tough group, where you could surely use a man like Iván Alonso. He has been nothing short of outstanding ever since arriving and is a complete professional. 

Even if you could replace him on paper (rumours of former Nacional striker Pierre Webó from Osmanlispor arriving in place of Alonso), he is a role model for the youngers players and not as easy to replace off the pitch as people might think.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gago returns for Boca - Estudiantes in Copa de Oro

Fernando Gago (photo from

Ahead of Saturday's next edition of the Superclásico against archrivals River Plate, Boca Juniors are facing Estudiantes in their last match of the friendly tournament Copa de Oro tonight.

The game which takes place at 2:10am CET tomorrow morning (10:10pm Argentine time), will see Boca field a mix between regulars and talents. This is due to multiple reasons. While the likes of Carlos Tévez and Dani Osvaldo are obviously rested for the clash against River, multiple others are suspended from the last Superclásico.

In a game, that had three Boca players (and one River player) sent off, Jonathan Silva, Daniel Diaz and Gino Peruzzi all picked up respective suspensions and will not be able to play tonight. 

Surprisingly included in the matchday squad is former Real Madrid midfielder Fernando Gago, who suffered a longterm achilles injury and was supposed to be out much longer than just four months. Gago will hope to get a few minutes of playing time.

On the other side, Estudiantes will be without their striker Lucas Viatri, formerly Boca, due to a sprained ankle.The 28-year old hopes to return against Gimnasia y Esgrima next Sunday.

Their last game ended in a big come-from-behind win over Copa Libertadores participant Racing Club.

The probable formations for tonight look as follows:

Estudiantes: Mariano Andujar; Facundo Sanchez, Jonatan Schunke, Leandro Desábato, Lucas Diarte; Santiago Ascacíbar, Israel Damonte; Augusto Solari, Gaston Fernandez, Elijah Umeres, Carlos Auzqui. Coach: Nelson Vivas.

Boca: Guillermo Sara; Leonardo Jara, Lisandro Magallan, Fernando Tobio Nicolas Colazo; Pablo Perez, Adrian Cubas, Federico Carrizo; Alexis Messidoro; Cristian Chavez and Andres Pavon. Coach: Rodolfo Arruabarrena.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Argentina's Primera División - 2016 season

New year, new luck for Argentina's football elite: On the first February weekend, the Primera División will be back with 16 exciting matchweeks. Wait, 16? That's right, the format of the league was changed again as it is so often the case in South America. 
So let us take a look at what is new this time around. Firstly, 30 teams remain. After the relegation of Nueva Chicago and Crucero del Norte, the league is completed by Atlético Tucumán and Patronato. 
The Primera División itself is devided into two sub-divisions. This means 15 teams and everyone will play everyone else once. The other two games of the year are each team's respective Clásicos. Typically River and Boca receive the most attention, but you get the idea. 
There is one whole Clásico week (April 24), in which there will be 15 of them in one single weekend. All the others are distributed across the season, one per matchweek. 
I made an infographic to highlight what I just described.

The winner of each zone wins the right to compete for the Argentinian title, as well as in the 2017 Copa Libertadores. Each second place team will qualify for the intercontinental competition too. 
One team will be relegated from the Primera División at the end of May. This team will be determined by a 4-year point average table. The worst team of these last four seasons has to go. 

Last but not least, let's have a look at the two zones.
Zone 1: Arsenal, Banfield, Belgrano, Colón, Gimnasia y Esgrima, Godoy Cruz, Independiente, Olimpo, Patronato, Quilmes, River Plate, Rosario Central, San Lorenzo, Sarmiento, Vélez Sarsfield.
Zone 2: Aldosivi, Argentinos Juniors, Atlético de Rafaela, Atlético Tucumán, Boca Juniors, Defensa y Justicia, Estudiantes, Huracán, Lanús, Newell's Old Boys, Racing Club, San Martín, Temperley, Tigre, Unión.

Maybe it's just me, but Zone 1 does seem a little stronger than 2. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Adiós, Señor Yepes!

One of Colombias biggest players in history has ended his career. After stations all across Europe, Mario Yepes waves goodbye to professional football aged 40. 

Mario Yepes (photo from

San Lorenzo are the ones losing the player, but the country loses a player who sacrificed himself throughout the years and ended up with 102 international caps.
His biggest success undoubtedly came with the surprising title at the Copa América 2001, Colombia's home tournament. 

Yepes on the top left as part of the Copa América 2001 winners squad (photo from
He and his team marched through the tournament in unbeaten fashion, capped off by a 1-0 final victory over Mexico. Yepes himself only celebrated his national team debut in February 1999, in a 3-3 draw against Germany. 

The centre-back started his professional career in his hometown for Deportivo Cali, before moving to Argentina's legendary River Plate. But it was only the start, as stations in France (Nantes, PSG) and Italy (Chievo Verona, Milan, Atalanta) were following. In 2014, he returned to South America and now ended his career with San Lorenzo.

After 21 years, Yepes says: "The most important thing is that I left a legacy."