Senhor Libertadores is a title that fits like a glove for attacking midfielder Nacho Fernández. At Atlético-MG, he is by far the one with the most winning experiences in the competition. In the duel with Palmeiras, which starts this Wednesday, the Argentine is looking for the sixth consecutive semifinal of the competition.
A feat that only the player who played the most in Libertadores, since 2017, could aspire to. In all, Atlético’s number 26 played seven editions to have the “Eternal Glory”. He did it in 2018, in the historic final between River and Boca Juniors, in Madrid. In 2019, he was runner-up. In 2020 and 2021, eliminated by Palmeiras himself.
There are 70 games of the “brain” in Libertadores, with 14 goals scored and 17 assists. For Atlético, he participated in 100% of the matches so far, helping Galo to qualify first in their group, which had Del Valle, Tolima and América-MG. In the round of 16, they won 2-1 on aggregate against Emelec.
Nacho Fernández, attacking midfielder for Atlético-MG — Photo: Pedro Souza/Atlético-MG
Del Valle even eliminated River Plate in the 2016 round of 16: Nacho Fernández’s shortest participation in Libertadores. In the 2018 title, against Boca Juniors, with the right to assist Lucas Pratto’s goal, which tied the game, took it to extra time, in which River scored two more and left with the continental trophy at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
The following year, Gallardo and Nacho’s River Plate reached the final again. Now, against Jorge Jesus’ Flamengo, in the single final in Lima. River was winning until stoppage time, when Gabigol scored two goals and turned the match around. In 2020, River lost to Palmeiras in the semifinals, 3-0 at Monumental. On the way back, the Argentines made it 2 to 0 and narrowly missed a historic “remount”.
In the last Libertadores, Nacho Fernández was fundamental. He scored the winning goal for Atlético against River in Argentina, in the first leg of the quarterfinals. In the next phase, Palmeiras again. Abel Ferreira’s Verdão eliminated Galo in Dudu’s equalizer at Mineirão, and by visiting criteria – something that no longer exists.
Palmeiras is once again on Nacho’s (and Atlético’s) route in search of repeating the taste of winning the most important tournament between clubs in South America. In the roster of Galo, only Réver and Jemerson (who did not play, but was registered in 2013), lifted the historic cup. But no one played in as many decisive games as the attacking midfielder.
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Nacho champion of Libertadores with River Plate, in 2018 – Photo: Disclosure / River Plate
- 70 games
- 61 starter games
- 5,389 minutes
- 37 wins
- 24 draws
- 9 losses
- 14 goals
- 64% utilization
- 2016 – River: Eliminated in the round of 16
- 2017 – River: Eliminated in the semifinals
- 2018 – River: Champion
- 2019 – River: Runner-up
- 2020 – River: Eliminated in the semifinals
- 2021 – Atlético: Eliminated in the semifinals
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Galo na Veia – Atlético-MG Membership Program — Photo: Disclosure