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The Latin Cup (French: Coupe Latine; Italian: Coppa Latina; Portuguese: Taça Latina or Copa Latina; Spanish: Copa Latina) was an international football tournament for club sides from the Latin European nations of France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. In 1949 the football federations came together and requested FIFA to launch the competition. European clubs could not afford hefty travel costs so competition was staged at the end of every season in a single host country. The competition featured two semi-finals, a third place play-off and a final.[1]

Copa Latina
(Latin Cup)
Copa latina transparent.png
The trophy awarded to champions
Organising bodyFrance FFF
Italy FIGC
Portugal FPF
Spain FEF
Founded1949
Abolished1957; 62 years ago (1957)
RegionFrance
Italy
Portugal
Spain
Number of teams4
Last championsSpain Real Madrid (1957)
Most successful club(s)Spain Barcelona
Italy Milan
Spain Real Madrid
(2 titles each)

This competition is considered a predecessor of club tournaments in Europe, such as UEFA Champions League,[2] which first edition was held in 1955.

HistoryEdit

The tournament began in 1949 and was usually played between the league champions of each of the participating countries. Every four years, a ranking would be determined for the countries based on their sides' performances in the Latin Cup. The competition was last played for in 1957, two years after the introduction of the UEFA-sanctioned European Cup. Real Madrid played in and won both the European Cup and the Latin Cup in 1957.

Prior to the introduction of the European Cup, the Latin Cup was considered the most important cup for clubs in Europe, the longer-established Mitropa Cup having gone into decline after World War II. The Latin Cup has been described one of the forerunners "of the European Cup" by UEFA.[2]

According to Jules Rimet, 3rd President of FIFA, the Latin Cup was a competition created by FIFA at request of the four nations that contested it, but its regulation was made by a committee composed of members from the competing federations, and FIFA did not participate actively in its organisation.[3]

The Latin Cup was based on cycles of 4 years, being held in one country each year. The champion of each edition achieved the most points (4) to its Federation while teams placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th received 3, 2 and 1 points respectively. Because of that, the Copa Latina was a Federation competition rather than an annual club competition. Moreover, the Federation which totalised the most points every four years received the trophy, while the champion club was given a smaller replica of it.[1]

The first edition was opened on 20 June 1949, with the Sporting CP vs Torino at Chamartín Stadium of Madrid. One month before 18 of Torino players had died at Superga air disaster. Barcelona would be the first champion of the tournament after beating Sporting 2–1 at the final.[1]

The second edition clashed with 1950 FIFA World Cup of Brazil so most of the players of league champions were called up by their respective national teams. Therefore, Lazio, the fourth of Serie A, participated in Copa Latina that year. Due to a fixture clash with the 1954 FIFA World Cup in Switzerland, no Latin Cup was held that year (the participants would have been Real Madrid, Sporting CP, Lille OSC and Inter Milan - the latter did not get another chance to enter).

After the first four editions played, the Spanish Federation won the first cycle totalising 12 points, 8 of them contributed by Barcelona and 4 by Atlético Madrid.[1]

Notable players per tournamentEdit

Many were the big stars who played in the prestigious Latin Cup and some of them are listed below per tournament:
1949: Portuguese topscorer Fernando Peyroteo for Sporting Lisbon, goalkeeper Antoni Ramallets, Estanislau Basora for Barcelona, Robert Jonquet for Stade de Reims. Unfortunately, Torino's star player Valentino Mazzola had died in May of 1949 at the Superga air crash which wiped out the Torino's squad.
1950: Dutch Bertus de Harder for Girondins de Bordeaux, goalkeeper Lucidio Sentimenti for Lazio, goalkeeper Felix for Benfica, Moroccan star Larbi Benbarek, Swedish Henry Carlsson, and Adrián Escudero for Atletico Madrid.
1951: Lorenzo Buffon, Swedish Gunnar Nordahl, Gunnar Gren and Nils Liedholm, Jose Travassos for Sporting Lisbon, Andre Strappe, Danish Erik Kuld Jensen, Dutch Cor van der Hart for Lilles OSC, Moroccan star Larbi Benbarek, Swedish Henry Carlsson, and Adrián Escudero for Atletico Madrid.
1952: Hungarian-Czechoslovakian Laszlo Kubala featured with Barcelona alongside Antoni Ramallets and Estanislau Basora, Jose Travassos for Sporting Lisbon, Giampiero Boniperti, Danish Karl Aage Præst and John Hansen for Juventus, Antoine Bonifaci and keeper Marcel Domingo for Nice.
1953: Robert Jonquet returned to the tournament with Stade de Reims, where the main attraction was the 'General' Raymond Kopa. Lorenzo Buffon, Swedish Gunnar Nordahl, Gunnar Gren and Nils Liedholm played in another final with AC Milan, Jose Travassos was there again for Sporting Lisbon, and Antonio Fuertes for Valencia..
1955: It was the first tournament for Alfredo Di Stefano, Hector Rial, Francisco Gento, captain Miguel Munoz, and José María Zárraga of Real Madrid, coached by Jose Villalonga. Captain Robert Jonquet, and Raymond Kopa took Stade de Reims to the final again, but this time they were assisted by Michel Hidalgo who had been transferred from Havre. Cesare Maldini, Juan Alberto Schiaffino, Lorenzo Buffon, and Swedish Gunnar Nordahl, Alfio Fontana for AC Milan and Matateu for Belenenses.
1956: Cesare Maldini, Juan Alberto Schiaffino, Luigi Radice, Lorenzo Buffon, and Swedish Gunnar Nordahl won the trophy with AC Milan, Agustin Gainza played for Bilbao, Mario Coluna and Jose Aguas for Benfica and Just Fontaine for Nice OG.
1957: Real Madrid returned and won the title with players like Alfredo Di Stefano, Hector Rial, Francisco Gento, captain Miguel Munoz, and French Raymond Kopa, against Benfica's Mario Coluna and Jose Aguas. Cesare Maldini, Juan Alberto Schiaffino, Lorenzo Buffon, and Swedish Nils Liedholm, Alfio Fontana featured for AC Milan and Matateu and goalkeeper Claude Abbes for Saint-Etiennes.

FinalsEdit

All teams were champions of the preceding domestic season in each nation, except where it indicates, detailing their finishing position in respective leagues.

Year Final Third Place Venue City
Winner Score Runner-up Third place Score Fourth place
1949   Barcelona 2–1   Sporting CP   Torino 5–3   Stade de Reims Estadio Chamartín Madrid
1950   Benfica
3–3 (a.e.t.)
  Bordeaux   Atlético Madrid
2–1
  Lazio (4) Estádio Nacional Oeiras
2–1 (a.e.t.)
1951   Milan 5–0   Lille (2)   Atlético Madrid 3–1   Sporting CP San Siro Milan
1952   Barcelona 1–0   Nice   Juventus 3–2   Sporting CP Parc des Princes Paris
1953   Stade de Reims 3–0   Milan (3)   Sporting CP 4–1   Valencia (2) Estádio Nacional Oeiras
1954
(Not held)
1955   Real Madrid 2–0   Stade de Reims   Milan 3–1   Belenenses (2) Parc des Princes Paris
1956   Milan (2) 3–1   Athletic Bilbao   Benfica (2) 2–1   Nice Arena Civica Milan
1957   Real Madrid 1–0   Benfica   Milan 4–3   Saint-Étienne Santiago Bernabéu Stadium Madrid

Titles by clubEdit

Club Titles Winning years
  Milan 2 1951, 1956
  Barcelona 2 1949, 1952
  Real Madrid 2 1955, 1957
  Benfica 1 1950
  Stade de Reims 1 1953

Titles by countryEdit

Country Titles Winning years
  Spain 4 1949, 1952, 1955, 1957
  Italy 2 1951, 1956
  France 1 1953
  Portugal 1 1950

Top scorers by yearEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d La curiosa aventura de la Copa Latina by Alfredo Relaño on El País, 25 September 2016
  2. ^ a b Goals, not coal, for Kopa on UEFA website, 4 February 2011
  3. ^ Rimet, Pierre (4 January 1951). Rodrigues Filho, Mário (ed.). "Cartas de Paris - Das pirâmides do Egito ao colosso do Maracanã, com o Sr. Jules Rimet" [Letters from Paris - From the pyramids of Egypt to the colossus of Maracanã, with Mr. Jules Rimet]. Jornal dos Sports (in Portuguese) (6554). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. p. 5. Retrieved 2 June 2017. A Taça Latina é uma competição criada pela F. I. F. A. a pedido dos quatro países que a disputam atualmente. Mas o Regulamento é feito por uma Comissão composta por membros das Federações concorrentes e de fato a F. I. F. A. não participa ativamente na organização

External linksEdit