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 By Tim Vickery

Copa Libertadores 2018 draw sets a number of mouthwatering fixtures

Gremio cannot afford to overlook Pachuca in their FIFA Club World Cup semifinal.
Gremio won the 2017 Copa Libertadores, but there's little time to rest on the laurels.

No sooner has the 2017 Copa Libertadores come to a climax than it is time to build toward the 2018 version of South America's premier club competition.

This is new. Previously the Libertadores was crammed into one half of the year. In 2017, a new calendar was introduced, extending the duration of the competition. And so with images of Gremio's win Nov. 29 still fresh in the memory, the draw was held for 2018 -- and there is only just over a month to go before the qualifying rounds begin again.

The...

Jose Angulo banned for four years by CAS for testing positive for cocaine

Angulo played in both legs of the 2016 Copa Libertadores final for Independiente del Valle.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has banned Ecuadorean forward Jose Angulo for four years after he tested positive for cocaine in the 2016 Copa Libertadores final.

CAS upheld FIFA's appeal for a longer sentence after Angulo received a one-year suspension from South American governing body CONMEBOL.

The 22-year-old Angulo, who hails from Ecuador, is banned until July 19, 2020.

CAS said its judging panel found the "facts submitted by the player did not match with the evidence produced by the...

'Maturing' Real Madrid signing Vinicius Jr. inspires Flamengo to crucial win

Craig Burley believes Real Madrid may face one of their toughest roads yet in their quest for a Champions League three-peat.

Flamengo coach Reinaldo Rueda hailed Vinicius Junior's maturity after the 17-year-old, who joins Real Madrid next year, inspired his side to a place in the Copa Libertadores.

In May, Madrid announced that they had signed Vinicius from July 2018, when the Brazil youth international turns 18, in a reported €45 million transfer.

And he sparked a crucial Flamengo victory over Vitoria de Trellez, coming on with his team a goal down on the hour and, within minutes, setting off on a driving run that...

 By Tom Marshall

Liga MX clubs unlikely to return to Copa Libertadores - chief

Liga MX teams last participated in the Copa Libertadores in 2016.

Liga MX clubs are unlikely to rejoin the Copa Libertadores anytime soon, with the calendar clash between Mexico's first division and CONMEBOL's club tournament still an impediment.

Mexican teams were invited to enter the Copa Libertadores in 1998 and had remained until 2016, before CONMEBOL announced a restructuring for the 2017 edition, with the competition now running from January until November.

With Liga MX's split-season format going from January until May (Clausura) and then July until early...

 By Tim Vickery

Gremio complete masterful run to bring Copa Libertadores back to Brazil

Gremio cannot afford to overlook Pachuca in their FIFA Club World Cup semifinal.
Gremio claimed their third Copa Libertadores and first since 1995.

Something was going to happen for the third time in the final of the 2017 Copa Libertadores.

Gremio of Brazil were going to lift the trophy for the third time. Or, in the third round in a row, Lanus of Argentina were going to stage an epic comeback.

There were a few moments toward the end of Wednesday's game when the latter option began to look like a possibility. But, after a 1-0 win in front of their own fans last week, Gremio completed the task with a 2-1 triumph in the southern outskirts of...