Porto Alegre was, is and certainly will be full of joy the next days after witnessing how one of its clubs won the maximum trophy in South American football, Copa Libertadores, after 22 years since their last one. Gremio defeated the Argentinean side Lanus by 1-2 after beating them at home by 1-0 to reclaim the most prestigious tournament in the entire continent. With this victory, the Brazilian squad earned his third Libertadores after winning the trophy in 1983 and 1995, respectively.

Renato Portaluppi knew how to assemble a competitive team that not only was a contender in Brazil but overseas; they won the Copa do Brasil in 2016 before entering the continental tournament.

Plus, they will finish among the top four teams in the Brazilian league, demonstrating how good this team has been during the last year.

Led by young players like 21-year-old soon-to-be star Arthur, Luan and the experience of Lucas Barrios among others, the Porto Alegre side could win the tournament showing a very good game through every stage they faced, against impressive rivals and playing in the most intimidating venues.

What a journey for Gremio

It’s mandatory to point out that Gremio didn’t land in the cup as one of the favorite teams to win it –in fact, the biggest candidate was their fellow Brazilian giants, Palmeiras - and even though their group looked easy for them, they almost got relegated to Copa Sudamericana since the difference between them and the third-ranked in the group was only three points.

However, they managed to survive and advance to the round of 16, where one of the biggest surprises in the cup was waiting for them. Godoy Cruz didn’t mean any competition for Gremio, though, as they passed from the Argentinean team with extreme ease to land in quarterfinals to face a Brazilian team, the always dangerous Botafogo.

In a very close series, the King of Cups took the victory in the second leg, winning thanks to a lonely goal by Lucas Barrios.

Once they get onto the semi-finals, they clashed against the real surprise of the cup, Barcelona, and just like they did in prior rounds, they did the job and eliminated the Ecuadorian team to land onto the finals.

Lanus was expecting for them on the biggest stage after eliminating the giant River Plate in a dramatic way, hoping to do the same with Gremio without so many suffering.

Albeit Gremio won the first game, Lanus was confident about their chances to defeat the Tricolor at home, but none of that happened. Gremio dominated the game from the beginning to the end, scoring twice (Luan and Fernandinho) before Lanus responded and scored the only goal they could make in the series. Porto Alegre exploded in joy – unless you were an International fan -, Gremio won the Copa Libertadores and now are heading to the Club World Cup.

What’s the next challenge?

After Urawa Red Diamonds won the 2017 AFC Champions League, South American was the only confederation remaining to crown his champion and they did last night.

Now the Brazilian side is going to try to put the cherry on top to this season after having a marvelous year, winning Copa do Brasil, Libertadores and now definitely putting all their efforts to win the FIFA Club World Cup, where they’re likely to face the European Champions, Real Madrid, in the finals.

The tournament will start at Dec. 6 and finish 10 days later, on Dec. 16. Real Madrid is the current champion and that could make the job even harder for the rest of teams trying to dethrone Los Blancos.

Besides the already mentioned Gremio and Real Madrid, the teams that will be fighting to be champions of the world are Urawa Red Diamonds (AFC), Wydad Casablanca (CAF), Pachuca (CONCACAF), Auckland City (OFC) and Al-Jazira (AFC), as the winners of the UAE Pro-League.