Friday, 16 July 2010

Club Libertad (Paraguay)

Club Libertad are from the Tuyucuá district of Paraguay's capital Asuncion, and are considered to be the thrid biggest team in the country, after the perpetual champions Olimpia and Cerro Porteño. This is a title hotly disputed by their fierce local rivals Club Guaraní, who despite claiming a bigger fanbase than Libertad, have won considerably fewer titles.

The year the club formed, 1905, was a politically turbulent time in Paraguay, and a group of revolutionaries sailed into Asuncion to take down the ruling Colorado Party. These young men were from the Liberal Party, and their ship was named Libertad (or Freedom in English). This event so impressed Juan Manuel Sosa Escalada that he decided to form a sports club and name it after the revolutionary's ship.

They play at the cosy and leafy Estadio Dr. Nicolás Léoz, a 10,000 capacity ground on the banks of the river named after a former club president who is now the president of the South American Football Federation.

In total they have won 14 national league titles - the last in 2008, when they won their fourth title in a row - a feat only achieved by one other club - Olympia - in all Paraguayan footballing history. The club are such an institution that their brief relegation to the second tier in 1998 was considered a huge shock - one akin to a club like Everton dropping a league. Over the years they have made regular appearances in both the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana - getting as far as the semi finals in the senior tournament in both 1977 and 2007.

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