Veron sets sights on family double

BUENOS AIRES - The Champions League was a title that eluded Juan Sebastian Veron in Europe but South America's Libertadores Cup is within his grasp.

Veron will lead Argentine club Estudiantes when they face Cruzeiro of Brazil in the decisive away leg of the final in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday after a 0-0 draw in the first leg in La Plata last week.

The trophy is closely linked to Estudiantes and the Veron family, father Juan Ramon having won it three years in a row with the club from 1968 to 1970.

"Sebastian completed a stage (in his career) when he played in England and of course that European experience helps him now," Juan Ramon Veron said.

"He returned to do something and he's succeeding. He won a title in Argentina, played in the Copa Sudamericana final and that's what's most important," added the 65-year-old in an interview with Reuters while he watched an Estudiantes practice.

The younger Veron, who won the UEFA Cup with Parma in 1999 but reached only the Champions League semi-finals with Manchester United in 2002, returned to his first club in 2006.

The 34-year-old led them to the domestic Apertura title in December 2006 and last year's Copa Sudamericana final, equivalent to the Europa League, which they lost to Internacional of Brazil.

"I hope he and his team mates can repeat the history we achieved many years ago," said Veron senior, who played in four finals including defeat by Nacional of Uruguay in 1971.

Looking back to the 0-0 draw in last week's first leg, he added: "We were all confident of getting the win that didn't come, but we're still hopeful of winning there.

"It's going to be a difficult, hard match against a complicated Cruzeiro team but no one's had the last word yet and it could be a match that goes to extra time."

Estudiantes have lost all five of their previous Libertadores Cup matches in Brazil, including the second leg of the 1968 final. They won the trophy in a playoff in Montevideo.

As he prepared for a shot at reversing the trend, the younger Veron told reporters: "I would give everything I've won to be Libertadores Cup champion. That is the ultimate because I grew up here."