Its an Argentina vs Brazil final. What more can you do to stir passion?
However as Tim Vickery points out, the Copa Libertadores is looked down by many in Brazil even as the clubs fight for the final four spots in the national championships because similar to the European Championships, entry into the Copa yields big financial payoffs and a potential launching pad for players interested in an international career.
This emotionally detached mindset is a legacy left over from years of insularity bred by clubs in Brazil who considered winning state championships as paramount. This was particularly the case when Brazil was racked by hyperinflation. With monetary stability introduced with an actual currency in the mid 90s to control hyper-inflation, the clubs found that playing state championships had no financial advantage. The scramble began to qualify for the Copa Libertadores as Brazil rejoined continental football with a fervour. Clubs like Sao Paulo, Gremio, Internacional, Vasco da Gama, Palmeiras and Cruzeiro have closed the gap between them and the Argentinian clubs in the last two decades.
Today, Cruzeiro and Estudiantes meet at La Plata today in the first leg of the 2009 Copa Libertadores final. The Argentinians won three titles in a row with the last one in 1970. The present general manager of the national squad Carlos Bilardo was part of those great squads. The Brazilians achieving the same more recently in 1997.
All eyes will be on Juan Sebastian Veron, the evergreen medio who has resurrected himself a hundred times.
La Bruja or the Witch as he is called will likely start recovering from a calf injury. He was quoted as saying:
"It would change everything if we won the Libertadores. It would be huge as I grew up in this club. A win over here could make all the difference. Then we can go over there and fight."