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Estudiantes de La Plata

Club Estudiantes de La Plata is a sports club in La Plata, Buenos Aires province, Argentina, with a history of achievement in professional football.

Estudiantes are the reigning South American champions having won the 2009 Copa Libertadores. As a result, the current club badge has ten stars for its six international and four local titles.


The club, initially named "Club Atletico Estudiantes", was founded on 4 August 1905 by university students who felt left out by the management of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, which favored indoor games over football. Since 1906, its jersey had red and white vertical stripes honoring the Alumni team that dominated Argentine football in those years, with black pants and gray or black socks. In the early days, the team wore a blue blazer on top of the jersey when entering the pitch.

The stadium on 1st Avenue opened on 25 December 1907. Before the advent of professionalism, Estudiantes won the 1913 league title.

When professionalism was adopted in Argentina in 1931, Estudiantes had a famous offensive lineup: Lauri-Scopelli-Zozaya-Ferreira-Guaita, known as Los Profesores (The Professors), and still regarded as one of Argentina's all-time finest. Guaita and Scopelli played for the Italy national team that conquered the 1934 World Cup. The Sbarra brothers (Raul and Roberto) and Armando Nery were feared defensive players. Alberto Zozaya scored the first goal of professional football in Argentina and was the top goalscorer of the first professional tournament.

In 1937, a pioneering lighting system was installed in the stadium, allowing night games.

The 1950s saw the rise of goalkeeper Ogando, and fielders such as Garceron, Bouche, Urriolabeitia, Infante, Antonio, as well as the final seasons of striker Manuel Pelegrina, who remains Estudiantes' all-time top scorer with 221 goals. Following a confrontation with the Peronist government of Buenos Aires province, the club's management was removed by authorities (the excuse was refusing to distribute copies of Eva Peron's book to club members ). The external management disbanded the team: top scorers Infante and Pelegrina signed with Huracan. The decimated team was relegated in 1953, but following the normalization of the club and the return of Pelegrina, Estudiantes was promoted the following year.

In the 1960s, Miguel Ignomiriello coached the Estudiantes under-19 team known as La Tercera que Mata (The Killer Juveniles), which would evolve, together with a few acquisitions, into the team coached by Osvaldo Zubeldia that won the 1967 Metropolitano championship.

With this title, Estudiantes became the first club outside of the "five greats" to obtain a professional title. This opened the gates for other "small" clubs to do likewise (Velez Sarsfield won a championship in 1968 and Chacarita Juniors one year later).

Estudiantes went on to win the Copa Libertadores de America three years in a row (1968 to 1970), and the 1968 Intercontinental Cup against the powerful Manchester United. It lost the series against A.C. Milan (1969) and Feyenoord (1970). Estudiantes won the maiden edition of the Interamerican Cup in a three-legged final against the reigning CONCACAF title-holders, Mexican club Toluca. (The games were played in 1969 but is officially known as the 1968 edition ).

The last part of the Zubeldia era was marred by the antics of some players. Following a violent Intercontinental match against Milan, the entire team was arrested on orders from Argentine President Juan Carlos Ongania. In an unprecedented step, goalkeeper Poletti was suspended for life (he was later pardoned) and did time in jail, together with teammates Aguirre Suarez and Madero. Because of several such events, it became a cliche to refer to Zubeldia's football as el antifutbol.

Zubeldia hired former referees to lecture the team on regulations, to allow the team to exploit every loophole in the book. Also, he incorporated tactics that were unheard of in the era, such as playbook drills for free-kicks and corner kicks, the offside trap, and double-marking opponents.

The Zubeldia team counted two physicians among its stars: Carlos Salvador Bilardo and Raul Madero graduated from the University of Buenos Aires Faculty of Medicine during their playing days. Juan Ramon Veron was a gifted player who could play left wing but also join the midfielders or attack from the right. He profited from the no-nonsense playing of Conigliaro, Echecopar, and Madero, and the tactical guidance provided by Bilardo. Right-back Manera was a very talented player, but suffered from repeated injuries and did not realize his full potential. Fullback Aguirre Suarez was noted for his often violent play.

After the 1970 season, Carlos Bilardo retired from play and got involved in his family's furniture business. As the team's fortunes were declining and relegation seemed a possibility, he was called by management in mid-1971 to coach the team. Under his guidance, Estudiantes lost the 1975 Nacional title in the last day of play and made it to the Copa Libertadores in 1976.

In the ensuing years, Bilardo alternated between coaching Estudiantes and Colombian teams. He was briefly the coach of the Colombia national team but was called again by Estudiantes in 1982. Soon after, the team won the 1982 Metropolitano championship. Under his successor Eduardo Lujan Manera, also a member of the Zubeldia team, Estudiantes won the 1983 Nacional tournament as well. Both wins were at the expense of a star-studded Independiente.

Those championship teams were anchored by a solid defense , and also had three creative mid-fielders and two top-notch strikers (Gottardi and Trama).

Bilardo went on to coach the Argentine national team that won the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The captain of Estudiantes' 1982 champions, Jose Luis Brown, scored the opening goal in the final against West Germany. Four years later, Argentina reached the final of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Madero was team physician on both events, and Ricardo Echevarria, also from Estudiantes, was fitness coach.

Estudiantes was relegated for the second time in 1994, and once again returned to the first division the very next season, which was the breakout year for Juan Sebastian Veron. In the ensuing years, the club had irregular results, and became known mostly as the breeding ground for strikers such as Martin Palermo, Luciano Galletti, Bernardo Romeo, Ernesto Farias and Mariano Pavone, and quality players such as Jose Ernesto Sosa and Pablo Piatti.

Bilardo returned as coach in 2003, with new management bent on rebuilding the club in his winning ways. Some young players were promoted, such as Marcos Angeleri and Jose Ernesto Sosa. When Bilardo departed, the team became a contender under coaches Reinaldo Merlo and Jorge Burruchaga. The team made history when it came from behind (0-3 in midtime) to win 4-3 against Peru's Sporting Cristal in a Libertadores match played on 21 February 2006.

On May 18, 2006, Burruchaga was replaced with another former Argentine great, Diego Simeone, who built the team around Juan Sebastian Veron, who returned to Estudiantes after 11 years. The Simeone team was eliminated by Sao Paulo in a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-finals of the 2006 Copa Libertadores, but went on to an impressive campaign in the local league. It amassed ten straight wins (tying the club record), including an unprecedented 7-0 win against Gimnasia in the derby played 15 October 2006, and finished the regular season tied for first place with Boca Juniors .

The final was played on December 13, 2006; Estudiantes came from behind to defeat Boca Juniors 2-1 and thus securing its first premiership title in 23 years. During this campaign, Estudiantes defeated all the "five greats", allowed the least goals, and three of its players were ranked as the league's top three by sports diary Ole .

Simeone left the team after the 2007 Apertura, and was replaced by former S.S. Lazio teammate Roberto Sensini. After a weak finish in the 2008 Clausura, Sensini was replaced with Leonardo Astrada. Under his guidance, Estudiantes reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana 2008, which it lost to Brazilian side Sport Club Internacional. Shortly thereafter, a string of bad results caused Astrada's departure.

On March 2009, former player Alejandro Sabella became head coach, his first such engagement (his coaching career heretofore was mostly as assistant to Daniel Passarella). The team improved its standing in the local league and advanced to the final of the Copa Libertadores 2009, winning 2-1 on aggregate over Cruzeiro after a goal-less draw in La Plata and an away win on 15 July 2009. Veron was chosen as the competition's most valuable player, and Mauro Boselli was its top goalscorer, with a decisive header in the final match. Thus, Estudiantes earned the right to play the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

In that event, Estudiantes won its semifinal match against Pohang Steelers 2-1, and lost the final against FC Barcelona 2-1 in extra time, after a 1-1 tie in regulation time.


Domestic competitions

Primera Division Argentina

* Winners (4): Metropolitano 1967, Metropolitano 1982, Nacional 1983, Apertura 2006.

* Runners-up (3): Nacional 1967, Metropolitano 1968, Nacional 1975.

Major South American competitions

Copa Libertadores

* Winners (4): 1968, 1969, 1970, 2009.

* Runners-up (1): 1971.

Copa Sudamericana

* Winners (0): None.

* Runners-up (1): 2008.

Major worldwide competitions

Intercontinental Cup/ FIFA Club World Cup

* Winners (1): 1968.

* Runners-up (3): 1969, 1970, 2009.

Interamerican Cup

* Winners (1): 1969.

* Runners-up (0): None.

Stadium and Training Grounds

Jorge Luis Hirschi Stadium is located on 1st Avenue, between 55th and 57th Streets, in La Plata. In its previous incarnation, it had room for 23,000. The wooden stands behind the goal-lines were standing-room only. The stands next to the avenue were sitting-room, and were separated from the avenue by a row of tile trees. The opposite side was roofed and had the best seating arrangements. The noisiest fans used to occupy the 55th Street popular, while visiting fans were often directed to the 57th St. popular, opposite a technical high school .

For its international games in the Zubledia era, Estudiantes has traditionally used Boca Juniors' La Bombonera, noted for its intimidating acoustics.

With the erection of Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, a modern stadium built in the 1990s, both Estudiantes and Gimnasia decided initially against relocating their home games. However, Estudiantes's field was closed down in September 2005 because of new safety regulations that forbid standing-only wooden stands. This began a series of political infighting between the club and city hall.

During the 2005 Apertura tournament, Estudiantes played its home games in the nearby Gimnasia stadium, and after that in Quilmes Atletico Club's Centenario field. There, Estudiantes made history with a come-from-behind 4-3 Libertadores win against Sporting Cristal.

On April 2006 a court decree allowed the re-opening of 1 y 57, but mayor Julio Alak intervened again to avoid this from happening.. In August 2006, an agreement was reached to build sitting room for 20,000 and using the city stadium for games exceeding that capacity. Renovation work on the stadium started in 2007.

Meanwhile, Estudiantes settled in the city stadium, where it earned five consecutive derby wins, and had a streak of 37 games undefeated in the local league (2007-2009). When roofing work began in August 2009 to install a new roof in the city stadium, Estudiantes moved once again to Quilmes.

Estudiantes' training grounds in the Country Club premises are among the most advanced in Argentina. Many facilities were financed by Juan Sebastian Veron while he played in Europe .

Fan Base

Within the La Plata area, Estudiantes was traditionally regarded as the club of the middle class, while rival side Gimnasia y Esgrima was identified with the working class. This characterization seems to be outdated. While both clubs have roughly the same pull in and around La Plata, Estudiantes has more of a nation-wide following, especially after its international successes in the 1960s. There used to be much discussion about which club has the larger following, but Estudiantes seems to have pulled forward.

For several periods in the club's history, a cadre of fans from Buenos Aires (los portenos) were a powerful element within the base. A famous fan since the 1960s is Raul Bernechea, known as el pelapapas ("the potato peeler") after his job as a kitchen hand, famous for lighting bonfires during games, juggling and performing other stunts [*].

Author Ernesto Sabato is an Estudiantes sympathizer, and was honored with a ceremony where he was given a No. 10 jersey. Arturo Jauretche mentioned Estudiantes in one of his books .

Other noted fans include tennis player Juan Monaco, actor Jorge D'Elia, filmmaker and politician Fernando Solanas, and journalist Osvaldo Principi.

In the 1983 presidential election, Estudiantes fans were, together with their peers from Velez Sarsfield, the first to voice their support for eventual winner Raul Alfonsin in his bid against the Peronistas. The friendship with Velez supporters has since vanished, especially after an Estudiantes win denied Velez the 2003 championship.

Estudiantes is on friendly terms with several clubs from the South side of Greater Buenos Aires; especially Quilmes and Temperley. Platense, from the North side of Greater Buenos Aires, held a special place in the hearts of Estudiantes fans, as it cemented Gimnasia's relegation in 1979 (Platense currently plays in the lower divisions).

Estudiantes is also friendly with the Uruguayan fan base of Penarol, classic Libertadores rivals. This relationship was strained by an incident involving barra bravas, where fan Sergio Chans, an Uruguayan, was injured during a Copa Libertadores match against Uruguayan squad Nacional when a rival "barra" shot him with a .22 pistol.

Estudiantes shares colors with Spanish side Athletic Bilbao, and during a period in the 1950s, both institutions shared a reputation for confronting the government . During these times, Bilbao donated a set of jerseys to Estudiantes. The relationship has been rekindled in the 2000s through Argentine expatriates and partisan blogs .


The nickname pincharratas (the rat stabbers), often shortened to pinchas, is generally attributed to the laboratory work done by the many Medicine students among the club's early members. This nickname extends to the fans.

Another version maintains that the name comes from the nickname of one Felipe Montedonica, a bodyguard of the team in the 1910s, who was known as "el pincharratas".

A third version claims that the early training fields were infested with rats, and the players spent much time and effort chasing after them.

Fans also call the team el leon (the lion), el orgullo de la ciudad (the pride of the city), and los capos de La Plata (the bosses of La Plata).

For several years, many chants incorporated the word Tricampeon (three-time champion) because of the Libertadores three-peat. After the 2009 Libertadores final, some of the newer lyrics use the word Tetracampeon (four-time champion).

List of Famous Players

To appear in this section a player must have played at least 50 games for the club

see also

Top Goalscorers

Manuel Gregorio Pelegrina: 235 goals in 489 matches

Ricardo Roberto Infante: 180 goals in 328 matches

Alberto Maximo Zozaya: 144 goals in 181 matches

Hugo Ernesto Gottardi: 125 goals in 310 matches

External links

Official Web Site

Estudiantes at AFA

Veron makes good on his promise

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Estudiantes de La Plata

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