The Brazilian striker has announced his retirement once this year is over and would like to do so by winning a title that he never won.
In 100 years of history Corinthians has become one of the most popular teams in Brazil, where they have been able to win five Brasileirao championships, but never the so desired Copa Libertadores de America, a pending issue that the club has with their fans. In its 52nd edition Corinthians will try to put an end to their obsession, which would also grant them a semifinal berth to the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup to be disputed in Japan on December.
This competition was Corinthians main objective last season, which they failed to fulfill, but this year the plan hasn’t change at all and the club will be strictly focused in making their dream come true. But before they can even start the group stage, they have one obstacle that needs to be removed from their way: Deportes Tolima from Colombia. As well as these two teams, 10 more will be competing in the first stage for one of the six tickets at stake for the next round, and it will be decided in a two game series between January 25 and February 3.
Along with Tolima and Corinthians, the other series are: Jaguares (Mexico) against Alianza Lima (Peru), Deportivo Petare (Venezuela) versus Cerro Porteno (Paraguay), Union Espanola (Chile) against Bolivar (Bolivia), Deportivo Quito (Ecuador) versus Independiente (Argentina), and Gremio (Brazil) against Liverpool (Uruguay). The winners will clinch a berth to the second stage which is composed of eight groups with four teams each.
Corinthians will affront this competition without having signed substitutions for the places left vacant in the starting 11 by former captain William in the defense, and Elias in the midfield. William decided to end his career this past season, while Elias was sold to Atletico de Madrid of Spain. The team has already showed signs of their absence with a poor performance in the Campeonato Paulista, where they tied twice and won just one game.
In the past edition with Elias and William on the pitch Corinthians had the best performance in the group stage with a 5-1 record for 16 points. Unfortunately for them those statistics were good for nothing in the knockout stage, where they were eliminated by Flamengo from Brazil by strength of away (no entiendo) goal. The series ended up tied 2-2, and the tiebreak put an end to their hopes of celebrating their centenary with the title.
Despite having a squad that has been playing together for a good period of time, in an International competition renowned reinforcements are necessary, and Corinthians has failed to get them, which make their fans doubtful about their real chances to win their first Copa Libertadores.
With a 4-3-3 scheme and at their home field Pacaembu, Corinthians will try to dissipate the doubts about their performance against Tolima this Wednesday, aware that they not only need to prevent Tolima form scoring due to the strength of away goals in case of a tiebreaker, but also score as many goals as possible to affront their visit to Colombia on February the 2nd with a comfortable advantage.
Corinthians striker Ronaldo has announced that this will be his last shot to win the most prestigious club competition in the continent, and he wants to say goodbye with the cup in his hands.