"Not just a game-changer but a sport-changer" | Why Flamengo's Copa Libertadores is potentially huge

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

07:32 26 Nov 2019

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On Saturday, Brazil's most popular club Flamengo got their hands on the Copa Libertadores for just the second time in their history.

The Rio de Janeiro club are also the wealthiest club in the country. The final itself was tense as they edged reigning champions River Plate 2-1 in Peru's capital Lima. And the following day, results elsewhere in Brazil meant that they also claimed the Serie A title.

Both sides had a player sent off with the scorer of Flamengo's two late goals, Gabriel Barbosa, red-carded deep into stoppage time.

The club will now enter the FIFA World Club Cup where they could face Liverpool. But according to BBC South American football expert Tim Vickery, the victory could have more long-term consequences for an "absolutely massive club".

"They are the most supported club in many states of Brazil," he told Off The Ball.

"So the question from this is why have we talked about them so little? Why are they not as well-known as River Plate?

Finances Sorted Out

"That has a lot to do I think with decades of bad administration. They were deep in financial problems for many years. I remember them a few times fighting against relegation.

"In the last few years, they've got their finances sorted out and then they went shopping. The final piece of the jigsaw was bringing in the Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus.

"Now Flamengo have the chance to fulfil their potential as a genuine global powerhouse. They've got the World Club Cup coming up next month where obviously they're dreaming of taking on Liverpool.

"And with the exposure they're going to get, there really is the potential. We're all looking for something outside Europe because the theme in the global game is the absolute domination of the big European club sides.

"Can anyone threaten that? Well, I think Flamengo are best-placed to threaten that."

He also added that the mistake by River Plate's Lucas Pratto which paved the way for Flamengo's win "could turn out to not only be a game-changer but a sport-changer".

Vickery also gave his take on Flamengo final hero Gabriel who had previously failed in Europe.

You can watch Tim Vickery's full review of the Copa Libertadores via our YouTube channel.

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Copa Libertadores Flamengo Football Gabriel Barbosa Off The Ball River Plate Soccer Sport Tim Vickery

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