San Lorenzo de Almagro
|Full name||Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro|
Azulgrana (Blue and Red),
|Founded||1 April 1908|
Estadio Pedro Bidegain, |
Flores, Buenos Aires
|Website||Club home page|
Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro (locally: [kluβ aˈtletiko san loˈɾenso ðe alˈmaɣɾo]) is an Argentine sports club based in the Flores neighbourhood of Buenos Aires (though originally from Boedo), which is best known for its football team which plays in the Primera División, the top division of the Argentine football league system. San Lorenzo is also considered one of the "big five" ("Los 5 Grandes") of Argentine football by Argentinian press, with Independiente, River, Boca, and Racing. Its historical rival is Huracán.
San Lorenzo gained international recognition in March 2013 with the election of Pope Francis, a supporter of the club. The players played with the Pope's photo on their shirts during a league match against Colón de Santa Fe on 16 March 2013. The institution is also known because of the actor Viggo Mortensen, supporter of the team, who spent part of his childhood in Argentina.
- 1 History
- 2 Stadium
- 3 Nicknames
- 4 Players
- 5 Managers
- 6 Records
- 7 Honours
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Origins of the club
The roots of the institution can be found in a team formed by a group of kids that used to play football in the corner of México and Treinta y Tres Orientales streets of Buenos Aires. Due to the increasing traffic in the city, playing football at the streets became a risky activity for the boys. Lorenzo Massa, the catholic priest of the neighborhood's church, saw how a tram almost knocked down one of the boys while they were playing in the streets. As a way to prevent more accidents, he offered the boys to play in the church's backyard, under the condition they had to go to mass on Sundays.
On 1 April 1908, an assemble was held in the Almagro district of Buenos Aires with the purpose of establishing a club. During the meeting, several names were proposed. The first option was "Los Forzozos de Almagro" (the name used by the boys to name their street football squad) which did not sound well to Father Massa (who was present at the assemble). The other proposal was to name "San Lorenzo" to the club, as an homage to Massa, but he refused to be honored that way. Nevertheless, the name was finally accepted by the priest, explaining that the name would not honor himself but both, Lawrence of Rome ("San Lorenzo" in Spanish) and the Battle of San Lorenzo, one of the most significative combats for the Independence of Argentina. Other founder member, Federico Monti, suggested to add the name of the neighbourhood, Almagro where most of the members lived in, which was accepted by the assemble.
Due to the team not having its own a stadium, San Lorenzo began to play its home games in a field property of the Club Martínez, placed in the nearby town of the same name. The squad played its first match on 26 April 1914, and at the end of the season San Lorenzo had to play a final match facing Excursionistas to proclaim a champion. San Lorenzo won the series (the results were 0-0 and 5-0). This title allowed San Lorenzo to dispute the playoffs in order to promote to the Argentine Primera División, which finally obtained after beating Club Honor y Patria by a score of 3-0.
First years in Primera
San Lorenzo began to play at the Argentine Football Association tournaments on 26 April 1914 in the second division, where the team ended sharing the first place with Excursionistas. As a result, both teams had to play a two-match series in order to determine which team would pass to the playoffs. San Lorenzo won the series after thrashing Excursionistas 5-0 in the second game.
San Lorenzo made its debut in Primera on 4 April 1915, being beat by Platense by 5-1. The first match won at the top division was in the 7th fixture, when the team defeated Floresta by 3-1. San Lorenzo finished 12th at the end of the season, sharing position with Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires.
On 7 May 1916 the club inaugurated its first stadium (popularly known as "Viejo Gasómetro" during a match against Estudiantes de La Plata, which San Lorenzo won by 2-1. That same year, the team finished 7th in the Primera División championship. In subsequent tournaments the team did not make good campaigns, finishing 12th and 13th. In 1919 the Argentine league split into two leagues, the official Asociación Argentina and dissident Asociación Amateur (AAm), which San Lorenzo took part of along with Racing, River Plate and Independiente, among other teams. San Lorenzo finished 9th.
The success begins
In 1920 and 1922 San Lorenzo achieved a 3rd position, finally winning its first title in 1923. The squad won 17 of 20 games, only losing 2. San Lorenzo scored 34 goals in 20 fixtures, receiving 13. That same year the squad also won its first international title, The Copa Campeonato del Río de La Plata after beating Montevideo Wanderers 1-0 at the final.
San Lorenzo won its second consecutive Primera División title one year later. The team played 23 matches winning 18 with 2 losses, with a total of 48 goals scored and 15 received. In the following two seasons (1925 and 1926) San Lorenzo would make great performances finishing 2nd to Racing and Independiente respectively finally achieving its 3rd. title in 1927 when both leagues AAF and AAm had joined again. The squad totalized 57 points in 33 matches played with an outstanding mark of 86 goals scored (2,60 per game) and receiving only 26.
In 1927 San Lorenzo won a new edition of Copa Aldao, also defeating an Uruguayan team (Rampla Juniors) by 1-0. The club soon became one of the most popular clubs in Argentina, increasing its number of followers and being counted in the top five (cinco grandes) together with Boca Juniors, Independiente, River Plate and Racing.
In the 1930s, Isidro Lángara and other players of Basque descent endeared San Lorenzo to the Basque community. The team also relied on players from the provinces, known as los gauchos. The first professional title came in 1933, and the second one in 1936.
In 1946, San Lorenzo broke the River Plate monopoly and won the league title; the team then went on to a tour of Spain and Portugal that was one of the highlights of the club's history. After losing to Real Madrid, it went on to defeat Barcelona and both the Spanish and Portuguese national teams; the Spanish press acclaimed San Lorenzo as "the best team in the world". Player René Pontoni was offered a contract with Barcelona but declined to leave Argentina (Barcelona then drafted River Plate's Alfredo Di Stéfano). Fellow player Rinaldo Martino did stay in European football and would later become a star with Juventus.
In the 1960s, a generation of players known as carasucias (literally: dirty faces) were the darling of Argentine fans because of their offensive, careless playing and their bad-boy antics off the pitch. The 1968 team was nicknamed los matadores as it won the championship without losing a single game, this team was recognized as the best team in the world by many journalists. In the years 1968-1974 San Lorenzo won a total of four league titles, its best harvest ever. In 1972, the club became the first Argentine team to win two league titles in one year.
Poor administrations, however, led San Lorenzo to a huge economic crisis, that even forced it to sell their well located stadium. The team was relegated in 1981, only to return to the top division with great fanfare in the 1982 season, which set all-time attendance records for the club.
By that time, the club had no stadium and was plagued by debt and irregularities. Controversial president Fernando Miele (1986–2001) delivered both the new stadium and two league titles: the Clausura '95 (after 21 years without winning a first division title) and the Clausura 2001 (in which the team achieved 11 consecutive victories). San Lorenzo finished the Clausura 2001 with 47 points in a tournament of 19 matches, setting the record for the highest points haul since the inception of the Apertura and Clausura system in 1990.
In late 2001, San Lorenzo won their first international title: the Copa Mercosur 2001, becoming the only Argentine team to win that international cup, because the others champions were all from Brazil.
San Lorenzo also won the first edition of the Copa Sudamericana in December 2002, claiming their second international title, and getting the opportunity to play the Recopa against the Copa Libertadores champion Olimpia
San Lorenzo is identified with the middle class atmosphere of the Boedo neighborhood. Its derby rival from the southern part of Buenos Aires are Huracán, who were promoted back to the first division for the 2007-08 season, only to be relegated again in 2011.
In 2007, San Lorenzo won the First Division League, Clausura 2007 beating Boca Juniors in the race for the title. Led by manager Ramón Díaz, San Lorenzo secured the title after the 17th round of fixtures, with two games still to play. They finished the tournament with 45 points.
Six years later, and only one year after being relegation-threatened, the club managed to win the Torneo Inicial 2013.
In 2014, San Lorenzo won their first Copa Libertadores. In the final, they defeated Nacional of Paraguay 2–1 on aggregate, concluding their championship run with a 1–0 victory in the second leg at Estadio Pedro Bidegain. This earned the club a berth in the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, their first trip to FIFA's premier club tournament.
The Viejo Gasómetro stadium in what nowadays is known as Boedo was a venue of great renown, where many international games were held. During the military government in 1979 San Lorenzo was forced to sell the stadium for a small amount of money, and a few years later the supermarket chain Carrefour bought it. The price had mysteriously surged eightfold, but the Club did not get any extra money.
After 14 years of renting the stadium San Lorenzo with the help of fans inaugurated the new stadium, Estadio Pedro Bidegain (nicknamed Nuevo Gasómetro), which opened on December 1993 at the intersection of the Perito Moreno and Varela avenues in the Flores neighborhood. However, the fans never forgot the old stadium, and its former lot is claimed by San Lorenzo and their fans to this day. On 8 March 2012 there was a demonstration attended by over 100,000 people in favour of reclaiming the place for the club, and on 15 November the Buenos Aires City Legislature passed a bill stating that, in the course of six months, Carrefour should negotiate a deal with San Lorenzo in order to share the land lot, and if no accommodation was reached then the city would expropriate it with San Lorenzo's funds. First an extension was agreed to and one and a half years later they signed an agreement, which establishes that the multinational retailer will build a smaller new store on a corner of their current property, financed by funds provided by San Lorenzo. The rest of the lot will be handed over to the club, and there are plans to build another new stadium there.
The current stadium has a capacity of 45,000 and the pitch size is 110 x 70 m -among the biggest in Argentina-.
- Los Gauchos de Boedo (Boedo's Gauchos), after the many players from the provinces who played in 1933 and came out as champions.
- Los Santos (The Saints), after the club's name, literally "Saint Lawrence".
- Los Cuervos (The Crows), after the black colors of Father Massa's robes.
- El Ciclón (The Cyclone), San Lorenzo's historical rival is Club Atlético Huracán, witch means "hurricane". The nickname is adopted since cyclones are stronger than hurricanes.
- Los Azulgrana (The Blue and Red), after the club's colors.
- Los Matadores (The Killers), originally used for the unbeaten 1968 champions.
- The fans' collective calls itself La Gloriosa (The Glorious).