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In April, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Uruguay, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle was an effective mediator between the Chinese laboratory Sinovac and the South American Football Confederation, which led to the donation of 50 thousand doses of the Coronovac vaccine, which it served to vaccinate the footballers of the South American soccer.

Due to that of diplomacy, of giving and receiving, a few weeks later the great news was known: about the end of this 2021, Montevideo would host the final of the Copa Libertadores, the Copa Sudamericana and the women’s Libertadores.


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Jordi Archs

AMDEP4269.  MONTEVIDEO (URUGUAY), 11/27/2021.- Deyverson de Palmeiras celebrates today after scoring against Flamengo, during the final of the Copa Libertadores at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo (Uruguay).  EFE / Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

Once the headquarters were defined, a key aspect remained: the Centennial Stadium of Montevideo. Conmebol was the patron for works that conditioned the legendary Centennial to get it ready for the finals. The initial estimate of $ 2 million for the reforms eventually turned into $ 5 million (about four and a half million euros). The field was new and world-class. The lighting was also modernized, in addition to important works in changing rooms, VIP areas, press area and a set-up of all the stands and seats. It was three hectic months of work, to arrive just but in time for the finals.

The Centennial, where the first World Cup final was played in 1930, the first Copa Libertadores final in 1960, was turned into a flirtatious veteran, with years up, but with perfect makeup, to preserve the charm of his past, but with a very prolific image of the present.

The invasion of the Brazilians

A week ago the South American final was played between Paranaense and Bragantino. Movement was seen in Montevideo, but smooth. The big move came this week with the Copa Libertadores final. Flamengo and Palmeiras revolutionized the city.

Flamengo copó a header and a good part of the Olympic tribune, one of the lateral ones. A reasonable estimate placed 35,000 torcedores del Fla in the Centennial.

Palmeiras had the other header, which he failed to complete. And a few more fans. In total, just under 15 thousand fans of Verdao.

What was not lacking, neither before, nor during nor after, was the “stupidly gelada” beer, as advertising professes. And it won’t complicate the party at all, it was legislated in record time.

To explain the situation. In Uruguay, there is an almost eternal law that, in order to provide peace of mind on days of national elections, the consumption of alcohol is prohibited on the day before the elections.

On Sunday there are elections of the Social Security Organization in Uruguay, which will vote its new authorities. And then, on Saturday it was forbidden to consume alcohol.

But a couple of weeks ago, given the reality, the Uruguayan Parliament discussed and met in record time, exceptionally, to nullify the abstinence law for this opportunity, and authorize the consumption of alcohol.

More was missing. A beer is one of the main sponsors of the Copa Libertadores. And for Brazilians, leaving them without beer is almost like taking their blood.

So Montevideo was a party. The Centennial was almost full, taking advantage of the authorized capacity of 100 percent of the public. And despite the ticket prices, unusual for South America (450 euros for the side stand), there was practically no empty cement.

Tourism in Uruguay, grateful. The country, revolutionized. Montevideo, with a global dimension this week, and with the intact dream of being able to host a 2030 World Cup match. And everything was born with that management for vaccines at the beginning of the year.