Previously in Return to La Plata, Bastardo's Estudiantes choked a league title win in front of their own fans.
"L'art est un anti-destin / Art is an anti-destiny"
The above quote from 20th Century French theorist André Malraux provides some philosophical jargon to start today's blog post. Malraux’s meaning was that art is a man's escape from their insignificance in this world. Through art we create an alternate life, one of our own making...separated from man's original 'destiny'. A parallel exists here with my Football Manager content, and all creators' content for that matter, it is our art. The art you are now reading & experiencing is set in a rival world, out on its own...acting as an 'anti-destiny'.
The anti-destiny does not behave like its polar opposite, as demonstrated in my FM18 saved game with Estudiantes de La Plata. In 2020 we had the chance to face off against Manchester United in the Club World Cup. A replica meting of the infamous 1968 World Club Championship, which saw Estudiantes triumph with the most brutal form of anti-fútbol ever seen (see below - with thanks for @Brazier25 for these images). Yet the save did not behave, there was to be no 'destiny'...Manchester United crashing out in the Semi Final to Mexico's Club América (who went on to beat Bastardo 1-0 in the final).
Fast forward 12 months and incredibly both Estudiantes & Man Utd make the tournament once again (a big spoiler on how my 2021 Copa Libertadores campaign went down by the way). But anti-destiny was there again to spoil the party, it was now La Plata's turn to bow out at the Semi Final stage...leaving Manchester United to take the World Club Cup crown with a 3-0 Vs Tigres of Mexico.
It is absolutely heart-breaking that I couldn't relive a repeat of that 1968 final. Not just once but TWICE, the narrative would have reached unreal heights. But maybe anti-fútbol goes hand-in-hand with anti-destiny? This save does not behave, there is no script, as 2021/22 has so far shown...
We came so close to winning the title last season, so I felt we didn't need to overhaul the playing staff. The incomings were minimal: Gabriel Rojas joins on a Free Transfer from San Lorenzo, who grabbed the No.3 shirt. Then two midfielders arrived: Éver Banega on a Free from Sevilla and no nonsense tackler Eric Remedi from Banfield (€3m).
We made some money too: Walter Bou moved to China for €1.1m, Federico Lértora signed for Nice in France at €1.8m...but the big deal was the sale of Academy hotshot Carlo Lattanzio to West Ham in a deal rising to €4.5m:
We now look to young Renzo Taborda, who I identified last time out as an Academy jewel, who I believe can step up and push current No.9 (Maxi Romero) for the starting slot in our 4141:
2021 Copa Libertadores
I can't remember retaining a continental trophy in the Football Manager series. I certainly don't remember winning a continental trophy before a league title in either Championship Manager or Football Manager. But there we go, consecutive Copa Libertadores wins for Estudiantes de La Plata: 2020 + 2021.
It was a pretty wild run to the trophy too, a bore-fest of epic proportions against Atlético Nacional...edging the Colombian champions on penalties at home. Then away loses in both the Semi Final and Final away legs, only to score 5 in each of the home legs. Incredible!
Read the below Twitter thread to relive the drama of that home tie Vs Grêmio. A game in which La Plata No.10, Emanuel Reynoso, cemented his place in Estudiantes history with a 9.1 MOTM performance.
2021/22 Argentine Superliga
A faultless start to the league season saw us go on a 10 game winning streak, until we were brought down to earth with three straight loses in November as I rotated the squad between Copa Libertadores finals. It highlighted the fact that as an eleven we are ridiculously strong, but we lack a certain amount of depth during the busy periods.
Annoyingly the glitchy nature of FM tells me that the Board are 37% satisfied with our domestic performance. It's highly frustrating considering our points-per-game ratio is best in the league. We have 11 points to catch Boca, but we have 5 league games to do it in!
Copa Argentina & Recopa Sudamericana
We could not retain the Copa Argentina, losing on penalties to Temperley in the Quarter Final. Nevermind, we're not the best in Argentina (yet), but we are officially now the best team in South America. If the Copa Libertadores doesn't confirm that, we beat 2020 Copa Sudamericana winners Santiago Wanderers 5-1 on aggregate to win the Recopa. Another trophy in Bastardo's collection. That's 4 and counting :-)
22 games to go!
The race for the title is still long, 22 games for Bastardo to be precise. But if we can recapture that early form and bring in 1-2 players to flesh out the squad, I genuinely think we can do it...in what will be my 5th attempt.
Of course anti-destiny will be rife, there is no script...it's what we make it. Vamos Estudiantes!
As always, thank you for reading/sharing/caring,