RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, February 23

S14: Top 14 Copa Libertadores Group Stage Teams Not From Brazil or Argentina in Recent Years

Last week, in an effort to waste the precious time of my life (which gets shorter as I get older), I wrote about teams in European continental competitions that were not from the big five countries who had clocked the most group stage grip the previous 14 years. All of this is such a huge time waste, where I spend hours fucking around with spreadsheets like some idiot savant at night, and use the excuse of a website as a reason to do so. But honestly, I just enjoy numbers, and I enjoy shit like this. It feels weird that such an innate joy is somehow hijacked by self-awareness on multiple fronts – sharing online (as if that meant something), utilizing actual football competitions (as if that gave the time-wasting project some feigned importance). And yet here I am, following self-imposed deadlines to nothing, chasing the folly of self-expression in the digital age, buried amidst an ever-expanding relentless onslaught of data, much of it riding the high wave of algorithmic insider status. I am but a fucking junkstock conkshell in this shit though, but if you put your ear to me, you’ll hear the ocean.
Anyways, much like England, Spain, France, Italy, and Germany domineer the European competitions, in South America (ruled by a giant poetry robot named CONMEBOL), Brazil and Argentina run shit. They rule at the national team level, and despite all the quality talent at club level being sold off to Europe (in what is known as “the Colonialism of Capital”), those two nations’ domestic leagues still tend to dominate the continental competitions in South America. Thus, here is a parallel list to last week’s list, but this time it is all the best-performing teams in Copa Libertadores group stages the past 14 years, who are not from Brazil or Argentina. Perhaps you are a fringe fan, or not even a fan, and just some person who is here looking at this. Likely you are a robot that uses programming in Russian scanning this collection of data for weak spots to try and sneak through and get to credit card information that could be used quickly and then dumped. Even more likely, you don’t exist, not in any real sense, and staring at this screen right now is a feigned act of interaction. But anyway you cut it, Copa Libertadores is like the Champions League for South America, but in South America, the game has not been commodified quite like in Europe. This means it hasn’t been gentrified, which is a nice way of saying they haven’t figured out how to squeeze out regular people to make it safer and more appealing to rich people, namely corporate-affiliated types, thus catering more to money than actual human bodies. South America remains resistant to worshipping money over actual physical bodies, which is unlike most of what we’d consider “western culture” all of which is compromised by capital. I mean fuck man, physical bodies votes in election 2016 mean way less than money votes. That has been more obvious than ever.
And yet, I’m no genius but I’m pretty sure South America is part of the Western Hemisphere. Why isn’t it “western culture”? Can’t we just say “white culture”? But even that is misleading because some of our greatest western culturers nowadays are not white in the pure sense of it (Thanks Obama!).
I don’t know man, basically shit is all fucked up, but I hate western culture meaning white culture meaning anglo culture meaning devil culture, and had hoped to take a trip to South America to perhaps even see a Copa Libertadores game or two, but definitely to make pilgrimage to Estadio Centenario where the first World Cup final was held, but now zika virus has been manufactured by Monsanto to drive wedges between “cultures” again. (In that context, the etymology of the word “culture” and the scientific variants of it seem super creepy, and make me paranoid of all things nowadays.) But these are the top 14 teams as per group stage performance in Copa Libertadores the previous 14 years (as Copa Libertadores 2016 is just now getting to group stage).

#1: CLUB NACIONAL DE FOOTBALL (of Uruguay) – 118 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 9 times. They are in Group 2 this year with cross-town rival River Plate (the Uruguayan one), Palmeiras (of Brazil), and Rosario Central (of Argentina). Nacional is one of the most popular teams in Uruguay, which generally means in the capital city of Montevideo, where most of the most popular teams as well as population exists. Uruguay as a nation has far outperformed its population size on the international stage, since the first World Cup (which they won). Similarly, Nacional is one of the most prominent continental clubs outside of Brazil or Argentina. They play many home games in the stadium built for that first World Cup (mentioned before – Estadio Centenario), but perhaps a sign of how football is still different in South America, they set the record for largest flag ever unfurled at a game a few years back, during a big Copa Libertadores game – huge fucking flag needing 400 people to hold. It covered one whole end of the stadium once they’d stretched it out. These are old school stadiums without tons of barriers for fans, and with domestic leagues being clusterfucks at times, teams making Copa Libertadores and taking on clusterfuck champions from other nations is still a big thing. Thus Nacional, strictly through fans supporting it themselves separate from official team, collected and spent $50,000 to make a five-ton flag for a single game. Also of note is the term “hincha” meaning football supporter in South America was coined by Nacional fans, at least according to Wikipedia, but how the fuck can you trust that shit? More western culture aka white culture aka devil culture hegemony most likely.

#2: CLUB LIBERTAD (of Paraguay) – 112 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 6 times. They made it to group stage last year, finishing third (thus outside of knockout realm) but did not even qualify this year. Sadly, all I can think of when I read “libertad” is the refugee tent riot scene where everybody is setting shit on fire, but then Manny yells out to Rebenga, and then Scarface stabs him. If they had to remake Scarface (which they probably are knowing them who are they), it’d be great if it was based on Syrian refugees and criminal types sneaking into America only to translate their previous experience with opium production into new criminal endeavors in America. But most likely if they are remaking it they are doing so horribly with some aging white superstar like DiCaprio or whatever pretending to be tough guy in new Scarface role more role playing fantasy for star than actual acting. White devil culture, again.

#3: CERRO PORTENO (of Paraguay) – 69 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 4 times. Last year they made Copa Libertadores but got knocked out in the pre-group stage round that only a handful of teams have to take part in. This year, they are in Group 8 with Cobresol of Chile, Santa Fe of Colombia, and the dreaded powerhouse Corinthians from dreaded Brazil. It should be noted the “n” in Cerro Porteno is actually one of those enya “n”s but I’m using a Yakubian keyboard at my Yakubian place of employment, so that the enya is absent. It’s weird how Spain Spanish are/were world conquerors just like the English, but somehow got all transmogrified in western hemisphere with indigenous bloodlines, thus creating what we know as “Latino”, which is considered a minority in America, even though Spanish/English in old world were both white, I guess. I mean, I wasn’t there or anything; I’m strictly speaking from the perspective of somebody who’s read some shit nowadays, although if Howard Zinn and the movie Straight Outta Compton taught me anything, it’s that history is told by the winners, often leaving out any negative information the winners deem not cool and shit.

#4: CLUB BOLIVAR (of Bolivia) – 69 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 2 times. They are in Group 3 of this year’s Copa Libertadores, with two teams from Argentina (Racing and the infamous Boca Juniors) as well as Deportivo Cali from Colombia. The past half a decade has seen Bolivar qualify for Copa Libertadores every other year, and there’s a different sense towards intercontinental competitions in the non-European continents (Africa and South America, as well as Asia to some extent, and I guess North America though “international football” on this continent is largely irrelevant), where a team has to dedicate a lot of finance to the effort, which may or may not be there in terms of how much money they make. A packed stadium in South America does not mean the financial windfall it might mean for the TV games from Europe. So a team in non-capital world may blow money on a couple players, plus spend the money on actually traveling around the continent, to take a shot at winning a major trophy. So it goes through cycles. I personally have no problem with that, as it shouldn’t be as easy as signing checks with unlimited bank. I’m kinda like “fuck European soccer” when I think about that. But then all the best players end up going there, from South America and Africa and wherever else, because that’s where “the glory” is, which means the money. Thus the colonialism of capital continues old world colonialism. Club Bolivar, no matter how much they spend on a good-year cycle chasing a continental cup, ain’t ever gonna have Messi, Neymar, Suarez.

#5: CLUB UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE (de Chile) – 66 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 4 times, but were knocked out in group stage last year, and this year couldn’t get through the cryptically named First Stage (a qualifying round before group stage) being defeated by River Plate of Uruguay (not River Plate of Argentina). Oddly though, recent history of this club is convoluted as fuck, as the team went into bankruptcy and administration and was then purchased by a private group, who pays a licensing fee to the Universidad de Chile to continue using the name and logo and shit. Naturally, fans are none to stoked, but for whatever reason, Chile is not as ruled by supporters as Argentina or Brazil is it seems, which gives this a slightly European feel. I guess they (meaning the devils) are working towards gentrifying South America as well. THEY AIN’T BEEN PUTTING ALL THOSE PUTAMAYOS IN STARBUCKS FOR NOTHING.

#6: COLO-COLO (of Chile) – 63 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds once, and it should be noted their full name is Club Social y Deportivo Colo Colo, which sounds like it could be a go-go band. Their logo is indigenous as fuck, and they are perhaps the most popular team in Chile (although the previous entrant – before their private ownership fiasco – may have been the most popular). Last year, Colo Colo finished 3rd in their group in Copa Libertadores (thus not advancing to the knockout stages), finishing behind Santa Fe of Colombia and continental heavyweights Atletico Mineiro of Brazil. They were drawn into the same group as Mineiro again this season of Copa Libertadores, but also with some off-brand teams from Ecuador and Peru. Then again, without an on-brand, can there be an off-brand? Plus fuck brands. That’s etymological slavery of self. I refuse to endorse slavery of self, at least not without a pre-agreed upon safe word.

#7: LIGA DEPORTIVO UNIVERSITARIA DE QUITO (of Ecuador) – 62 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 5 times, not even qualifying last year but in a group this year with Gremio from Brazil plus noted Toluca of Mexico and also San Lorenzo from Argentina, so essentially a solid little group that covers all the bases of CONMEBOL (Brazil, Argentina, good team from somewhere else, why is Mexico here? oh yeah because North America is fucking stupid and irrelevant). Like a lot of the non-big two countries (and even Argentina to be honest), most of the top football clubs in Ecuador are based in the largest city of Quito. It’s neat how some of these teams are clubs but revolve around a university, so have straight up Wal-Mart iron-on “collegiate” letters style logos, which is straight up what LDU Quito’s logo looks like – clip art for a space college. Their logo has four gold stars for each of their major continental championships – Copa Libertadores in 2008, the second-tier Copa Sudamericana in 2009, and then both of the super clashes matches resulting from those two titles, two Recopa Sudamericanas in 2009 and 2010. They also have 14 Ecuadorian national championships, five since the turn of the century.

#8: CLUB AMERICA (of Mexico) – 60 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 5 times, but hasn’t even been there the past five years. However, the very fact there is a football (soccer) team called Club America, in Mexico, sort of goes against everything all the Republican candidates claim to be true about the world. However, the fact that Club America prefers to play in South America might make some of the things Trump says partially true. (Haha, fuck all those guys. We should just hire an illegal immigrant to be the next President. But also hire illegal immigrants to be all of Congress, just make sure you hire illegal immigrants in the district they are representing, then send them all to Washington, to actually make America great again.)

#9: CARACAS FC (of Venezuela) – 58 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds twice, and they qualified this year but did not survive the dreaded First Stage. Remember when Hugo Chavez went to the UN and pretended like the diplomat from the other place that spoke before him stank? That was great.

#10: UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA (of Chile) – 57 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds twice, but being they are from a catholic university, their logo is a creepy looking cross. Also their Wikipedia page, like right out the bat, says they are a favorite of the higher classes, so that means they are for rich fuckers who believe in not only god but catholic god. Thus, I’m kinda like “fuck Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica” although to be fair the brown mixed blood Catholics of South America are nothing like “western culture” Catholics. I think the current pope has shown that. He still ain’t no pope of mine. (I, in fact, don’t have a human pope. My “pope” is a specific crow that looks to have been clipped by duckshot at some point, and I call him nothing because he is a crow, a pope crow, and my human words are not worthy of giving him a title. He, however, calls me Cawcawcaw Cawww, Cawcawcaw Cawww.)

#11: CLUB ATLETICO PENAROL (of Uruguay) – 54 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds twice, and had been missing from the group stages for a few years, but is in Group 4 this year, along with Colombian powerhouse Atletico Nacional. When I did a bunch of dork research like two years ago about South American football, Penarol ended up being one of my favorites, because they have these ill ass black and yellow (black and yellow black and yellow) kits, plus logo, although every logo and crest and shit from South America has that gaudy but perfect 1970s IGA grocery store generic butter box design quality to it. Penarol is also the most successful non-Brazil/Argentina club on the continent, having won 5 Copa Libertadores, and almost fifty domestic championships in Uruguay (likely the number three nation in terms of football on the continent). ALMOST FIFTY! That shit’s crazy. Had I gone to Montevideo, like I was contemplating, I was gonna try to see Penarol. I also was gonna try to smoke opium in the mountains, and disappear from “western culture”.

#12: CLUB SPORT EMELEC (of Ecuador) – 53 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 3 times, making it to the quarterfinals last season, before losing the Tigres of Nuevo Leon of Mexico, who almost became the first Mexican team to win the Copa Libertadores. Emelec is again in group stage (called THE SECOND STAGE) this year. Emelec sounds weird, as it should, since they were a team started by an Ecuadorian electric company for its workers. The American owner did not like football, so he didn’t support it, and it was an amateur pursuit, but successful enough that eventually their bullshit American owner started putting money into the workers’ football team as well. The sports club also played other shit like basketball and boxing and swimming. Could you imagine working somewhere that had like a boxing and soccer team as part of the job? Like you’d hang out after work on Tuesdays to practice soccer, and everybody would come back to the work compound on Saturday afternoon for a soccer game? Man, fuck that. Although perhaps if such a world still existed, I wouldn’t be all like “fuck my job, I hate my job, god why won’t I die already and save me from this slow painful hell denying me all my true passions” all the time.

#13: CLUB THE STRONGEST (of Bolivia) – 53 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds once, and could not get out of group stage last year, finishing third. This year they won their opening game, but are in a tough group with Argentina’s infamous River Plate (they of “getting maced by the other team’s fans” fame from last year) and Sao Paulo from Brazil. But most importantly, their name is The Strongest. As if that weren’t enough, they also wear black and yellow kits, which is always a more glorious color combo than bullshit red white and dark blue. Sky blue is iffy, but certainly a step up from dark blue. Fuck red and dark blue kits. They will never be the strongest. (It should be noted at first they were just The Strong Football Club, before upgrading to The Strongest.)

#14: ATLETICO NACIONAL (of Colombia) – 50 group stage points; advanced to knockout rounds 5 times, who has been a dominant force the past couple of years. They won their group last year, but were upset by Emelec in the Round of 16 during knockout stage. They qualified again for this season’s Copa Libertadores, and are most infamous for being the team that Pablo Escobar supported. In my personal life, they are well known for being the favorite team of the chill ass Colombian lady I talk shit with every day at work at the coffee stand. She wears Atletico Nacional jerseys on big game days, and told me that when she was back home visiting last Christmas in Medellin, she told them about me, one of her favorite gringos. It made my heart flutter. Atletico Nacional survived the post-Escobar era, but are only just in the past half-decade becoming a continental power again. And I can tell you from the lady at work’s babble, there are high hopes for this year’s Copa Libertadores. 

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