The Brazilian sides involved in the 2014 Copa Libertadores begin their respective campaigns this week as the tournament enters the Group Stages and these are the following times for this first week's games (GMT):
Tues 11/2- Botafogo v San Lorenzo (Argentina) 2200
Wed 12/2- Zamora (Venezuela) v Atletico Mineiro 0015
Thur 13/2- Leon (Mexico) v Flamengo 0000
Real Garcilaso (Peru) v Cruzeiro 0000
Atletico PR v The Strongest (Bolivia) 2200
Fri 14/2- Nacional (Paraguay) v Gremio 0015
Flamengo are without doubt a national institution.
As I have argued before in this space, this dates from a superb piece of marketing in the 1930s, when the club signed the three leading black players of the day - especially centre forward Leonidas da Silva, the Romario of his era. The club was thus able to rebrand itself; instead of being an elite association from Rio, they acquired the popular touch and became a national institution. Rio de Janeiro was still the capital at the time, and the glamorous new medium of radio carried Flamengo’s matches all over the land. A tradition was established – given a huge boost by the magnificent Zico side of the late 70s and 80s.