Published on : 02/12/2020 – 14:06

Emmanuel Adebayor will be the big attraction of the presentation, Friday, February 14, of the workforce of the Olimpia Asuncion for 2020. The arrival of the Togolese striker, almost 36 years old, arouses exceptional enthusiasm in this country little used to stars international. Others may follow, starting with Ivorian Yaya Touré, who is in contact with another club in Asuncion, Libertad.

In just over two days, 15,000 new “socios” have signed up to follow Olimpia in its 2020 campaign. And the goal of 35,000 should be reached before the end of the month, according to young club president Marco Trovato. . Another success for this businessman who has been in charge of Paraguay’s largest club since 2014.

At the time, the “dean”, as we call this club founded in 1902 by a Dutch immigrant, was going through a great economic and sports crisis, with colossal debt and half-mast results (only one title between 2000 and 2014). Elected by promising a revolution, Trovato changed everything.

The Olimpia has won five championships since the arrival of Trovato, including an ongoing series of four in a row, and it is multiplying projects, including a new 40,000-seat stadium in the middle of an ultra-modern sports complex, with in minds the 2030 World Cup that Paraguay plans to co-organize with Argentina and Uruguay.

Trovato, “ Bernard Tapie »Paraguayan with long teeth

Some lend the president of the Olimpia national ambitions, but for the moment this businessman, who recalls the Bernard Tapie of the Marseille Olympic years, dreams above all of putting the Olimpia at the top of South American football. Three-time winner of the Copa Libertadores, the South American Champions League (1979, 1900 and 2002), of which he remains the only Paraguayan winner, the Olimpia even has in its windows an Intercontinental Cup, ancestor of the Cup club world, won in 1979 against Malmö, the Swedish club which had participated in the place of the English of Nottingham Forest, the European champions having declined to go to Asuncion. But it all goes back a long way …

To achieve his goals, Marco Trovato takes particular care in recruiting. Under the orders of Argentinian Daniel Garnero, who has been in office for two years, he has put together a cosmopolitan team with players of six nationalities, including many internationals. A key element in this team, captain Roque Santa Cruz, 38, played a very important role in the arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor, three years younger.

The role of Roque Santa Cruz

The two attackers got to know each other about ten years ago in Manchester City. Marco Trovato assures that Santa Cruz was decisive in finishing convincing his Togolese friend. ” Bargaining between clubs or with agents is important, but when two players talk to each other, even more so if they have been teammates, it makes things easier “Assures Trovato, convinced that” the arrival of Adebayor could facilitate that of other players of international dimension “. To achieve this, the Paraguayan champion had to “ break the piggy bank “, According to Miguel Brunetto, its financial director, who justifies this effort by the size of the Togolese player and by the competition of Boca Juniors, the Argentinian club, which also tracked him.

Friday, February 14, the former Monegasque will undoubtedly be the big star of the presentation of the team version 2020, but not the only one. Six other players have joined the Olimpia at the start of the year, including Derlis Gonzalez, one of the pillars of the Paraguay team, repatriated after several seasons in Europe (Benfica, Basel and recently Dynamo Kiev), Uruguayan defender Diego Polenta (Los Angeles Galaxy) or the Argentinian midfielder Nicolas Domingo (Independiente).

More than the national championship, which Olimpia largely dominates in front of Libertad and Cerro Porteño (two other clubs from Asuncion), the club’s main objective is of course the Copa Libertadores, whose 2020 edition is due to start on March 4. Finalist for the last time in 2013 against Atletico Mineiro (Brazil), the Olimpia has since struggled to get through the group stage, which he succeeded last year and then fell in the round of 16 against La Liga from Quito, Ecuadorian club. It will not be easy against Santos, Brazilian vice-champion, Defensa y Justicia, Argentine club trained by former goleador Hernan Crespo, and Delfin, Ecuadorian club which will be his first opponent and where Adebayor could meet another African, l ‘Equatorial Guinean Niko Kata…

Yaya Touré too ?

By then, Emmanuel Adebayor could be joined by another African star, Yaya Touré, who wants to leave China and the coronavirus threat. Rodrigo Coras, a very active agent in Paraguay, said he was in contact with the representative of Yaya Touré who had told him that he was looking for a club in Brazil or Paraguay. In Asuncion, the club concerned is Libertad, second in Olimpia’s last six point close tournament. This club, trained by former Argentinian star Ramon Diaz, is also preparing for the Copa Libertadores in a group where it will notably meet … Boca Juniors.

Will this sudden interest be enough to make Paraguay a new preferred destination for African stars at the end of their careers? Hard to imagine. Eighteen years ago, Cameroonian Geremi Njitap was a pioneer when he joined Cerro Porteño, another large Paraguayan club. A short-lived adventure that had only lasted six months …

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