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 By Tim Vickery

Quintero to relight spark of once promising career with Medellin in Copa

Juan Fernando Quintero was once hailed as the future of Colombian football. He may still be.

There are not too many stars from the 2014 World Cup in action in the 2017 Copa Libertadores. True, Brazil's much-maligned centre-forward Fred is still banging in the goals for Atletico Mineiro, where Ecuador centre-back Frickson Erazo is recovering from injury. A compatriot of his, once of Major League Soccer, Oswaldo Minda is a substitute for Barcelona of Guayaquil. And a trio of Uruguayan players have returned home to round out their careers: defenders Jorge Fucile and Alvaro Gonzalez with Nacional...

 By Tim Vickery

Copa Lib struggling for breakout stars as it hits the halfway stage

The Copa Lib has been a slog so far as the halfway point of the group stage comes and goes. Where are the stars?

The weekend's clasico headlines naturally went to Lionel Messi, given his goals, which makes it easy to overlook the fact that four of the five goals in the Real Madrid-Barcelona game were scored by South Americans (Casemiro and James Rodriguez were on target for Real). Earlier in the day, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez both scored in the Arsenal-Manchester City FA Cup semifinal, with Willian scoring twice for Chelsea against Tottenham in Saturday's other semifinal.

The South American contribution...

 By Tim Vickery

Brazil recall for in-form Fred would be bizarre for long-term World Cup plans

Atletico Mineiro kept their Copa Libertadores hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Santa Fe.
Fred is in fine form, but a recall would surely make little sense. Brazil, after all, have no short-term needs.

Almost three years have passed since that surreal afternoon in Belo Horizonte when Brazil collapsed in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup. Germany were five goals up at the interval. The home crowd had plenty of time to try to deal with the extraordinary event and as the second half painfully unfolded, they chose their scapegoat.

The crowd in the Mineirao stadium turned on striker Fred, playing in his home state. He was taken off in the second half. As the camera picked out his image on the...

 By Tim Vickery

Brazilian clubs favourite for Copa Libertadores but have work to do

Atletico Mineiro kept their Copa Libertadores hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Santa Fe.

Not since 2013 (with Atletico Mineiro) has a Brazilian club won the Copa Libertadores -- South America's equivalent of the Champions League -- or even reached the final. But surely this can't continue.

Brazil's clubs are able to pay wages far higher than anywhere else on the continent; big name players from all over South America are flocking to Brazil in increasing numbers and there are no high profile Brazilians playing elsewhere on the continent.

As the group phase of this year's Libertadores...

 By Tim Vickery

Argentina's Copa Libertadores teams ready to make their move

Hernan Grana
River Plate remain one of Argentina's strongest contenders in this year's Copa Libertadores.

Europe's Champions League is not the only continental club competition that kicks up a gear this week. The South American equivalent, the Copa Libertadores, is also back, resuming after a three-week layoff.

The action is at a much earlier stage than on the other side of the Atlantic. While the Champions League has reached the last eight, the Libertadores is still in the first throes of the group stage, with 32 teams dreaming of lifting the trophy. Six of them are from Argentina, and an intriguing...