Flamengo Vs. River Plate Libertadores: A Clash Between South American Giants
Flamengo plays defending champions River Plate this Saturday in the Libertadores final after destroying Gremio 5-0. Don’t be fooled by the score, Gremio is a great squad which reached the semi-finals last year and the year before.
The last time Flamengo won the Libertadores was in 1981 against River Plate and this year they play them again. Last time they won the tournament they played the Champions League winners Liverpool in the Intercontinental Cup, and Flamengo won. With legend Zico in their lineup, the Rio De Janeiro club outplayed Kenny Daglish’s Liverpool side 3-0. This year if Flamengo beats River plate they come up against, you guessed it, Liverpool again. The Champions League winners are considered best line-up in Liverpool history. However, to play against Liverpool Flamengo must first beat River Plate securing the title of best team in South America.
Flamengo have what it takes if you’ve seen their form in the domestic league. Sitting in first place, Flamengo are 13 points ahead of Palmeiras and could secure the domestic trophy this Sunday if Palmeirs loses their match against against Gremio. Flamengo is praised for having the most fans in the world with 32.6 million fans worldwide. This is the biggest weekend of the year for Flamengo where they can see themselves winning their two biggest competitions in one weekend, giving their fans an early Christmas present.
The Portuguese Manager Jorge “Mister” Jesus has gotten criticism from the Brazilian press for being a foreigner, taking the job of potential Brazilian managers but the Flamengo fans are unimpressed with those comments. Jesus is a fan favorite and after joining Flamengo in June, Jesus has led the team to 23 wins with 8 draws and only 2 losses.
The players who have received the most attention so far are Gabriel Barbosa and Bruno Henrique due to their speed and merciless finishing, however, it is Gerson who has been running the show. Gerson Has had 92.2% pass accuracy in the Brazilian league adding to the team’s fluid playing style. Flamengo have a very tough task coming up against defending champions River Plate but their success so far is hinting of a possible repeat of that magical 1981 triumph.