It's time for the Shampions League!
It's the week everyoneÃ¢ÂÂs been waiting for. Glitzy, glamorous and guaranteeing gazillions of Euros, the worldÃ¢ÂÂs top club championship got going.
A mouth-watering Inter-Barcelona in week one, Ronaldo and KakÃÂ¡ kick-starting the GalÃÂ¡cticos II dream, Rooney kicking the bench...
Over in Argentina, the start of the Champions League has been given something of a boost after a change of rights-holders, so for the past four months or so weÃ¢ÂÂve been regularly informed that something apparently called the Ssshampions League will be on a different channel.
For those used to the more modest South American competitions, budgets, players and quality of football, this is a brave new world of club football, and you can tell from the commentatorsÃ¢ÂÂ puppyish excitement.
Ã¢ÂÂJust look at the replays! How many cameras have they got out there?! Look at how expensive Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs players are!! I canÃ¢ÂÂt believe how much they spent this summer. Still, amigo, this is Europe. Oh, and get this. GonzÃÂ¡lez Blanco scored his... what?
"Oh, yeah, sorry. RaÃÂºl scored his 224th Liga goal in Spain against Depor and is now two behind fourth-placed CÃÂ©sar RodrÃÂguez on the all-time top scorers' list. Athletic Club Bilbao legend Telmo Zarra is first on 251.Ã¢ÂÂ
YouÃ¢ÂÂve got to love those UEFA press packs.
For all the star names, the Ssshampions League does have one problem over in Argentina.
To watch a game you are going to have to invoke a non-existent union rule about football belonging to The People and stage a mass walkout at half past three to catch the game down the local bar.
Calling strike action is something of an Argentine speciality, but doing so in the name of the early rounds of the Ssshampions League would be a little excessive.
The other potential problem is the prospect of Messi, AgÃÂ¼ero and Mascherano and company scoring goals, making tackles, beating players, completing four-yard passes, looking happy, knowing what they are doing and generally going about their business in an orderly fashion.
The sight of that, in comparison to what happened with the national team a few days ago, could be too much for some to handle in these trying economic times, especially when they see whatÃ¢ÂÂs on TV when they do actually get to finish work.
The Copa Sudamericana.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs not the Ssssshampions League. ItÃ¢ÂÂs not even the South American Ssssssshampions League Ã¢ÂÂ thatÃ¢ÂÂs the Libertadores.
The Sudamericana is the equivalent of the Europa Cup or whatever it's called. It couldn't be further removed from the Sssssssshampions League.
Representing Argentina in this yearÃ¢ÂÂs Sudamericana are the previous seasonÃ¢ÂÂs overall top four.
Ã¢ÂÂOverallÃ¢ÂÂ because, like in other Latin American countries, Argentina have two seasons for the European one.
Don't think 2009/10, think Apertura Ã¢ÂÂ09 and Clausura Ã¢ÂÂ10.
Argentina has six places in the Sudamericana. Four go to the teams who would have finished 1st to 4th if they were to play a normal season like everyone else.
And because Argentina is something of a big hitter on the continent, there are also two special invitee berths.
These are for any two teams in the country, any at all, who have the right combination of Ã¢ÂÂJuniors,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂBoca,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂPlateÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂRiverÃ¢ÂÂ in the their name.
So it is that LanÃÂºs, VÃÂ©lez, San Lorenzo and Tigre, along with the fortunately-named River Plate and Boca Juniors, are representing the Albiceleste.
The six are paired up in the first stage, though, meaning that only three will make it to the last 16.
ThereÃ¢ÂÂs more to the farce than meets the eye. The two South American continental tournaments do not run simultaneously.
The Sudamericana fills up the first half of the season, the Libertadores the second.
Given that qualification for the Libertadores, the real tournament, is reliant on the performance in the league Ã¢ÂÂ the one played at the same time as the Sudamericana - it should be no surprise that most clubs prioritise the former and put out a load of youngsters for the latter.
Got all that?
So next time youÃ¢ÂÂre grumbling about a pointless group game in the Ssssssssshampions League, just remember one thing. It could be worse.
It could be the Sudamericana.
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