The CONMEBOL Libertadores, named as Copa Libertadores de América (Portuguese: Copa Libertadores da América or Taça Libertadores da América), is an annual international club football competition organized by CONMEBOL since 1960. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in South American football. The tournament is named in honor of the Libertadores (Spanish and Portuguese for liberators), the main leaders of the South American wars of independence, so a literal translation of its name into English would be "Liberators of America Cup" or "Liberators of the Americas Cup".
The tournament is currently sponsored by Bridgestone and is thus known as the CONMEBOL Libertadores Bridgestone. The competition has had several different formats over its lifetime. At the beginning, only the champions of the South American leagues participated. In 1966, the runners-up of the South American leagues began to join. In 1998, Mexican teams were invited to compete, and have contested regularly since 2000, when the tournament was expanded from 20 to 32 teams. Today at least four clubs per country compete in the tournament, while Argentina and Brazil each have six clubs participating. Traditionally, a group stage has always been used but the number of teams per group has varied several times.
In the present format, the tournament consists of six stages, with the first stage taking place in early February. The six surviving teams from the first stage join 26 teams in the second stage, in which there are eight groups consisting of four teams each. The eight group winners and eight runners-up enter the final four stages, better known as the knockout stages, which ends with the finals anywhere between November and December. The winner of the Copa Libertadores becomes eligible to play in the FIFA Club World Cup and the Recopa Sudamericana.
Independiente of Argentina are the most successful club in the cup's history, having won the tournament seven times. Argentine clubs have accumulated the most victories with 24 wins, while Brazil has the largest number of different winning teams, with a total of 10 clubs having won the title. The cup has been won by 24 different clubs, 13 of which have won the title more than once, and won consecutively by six clubs.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Copa Libertadores
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