Montevideo-based Club Nacional de Football is the oldest Uruguayan club and the first indigenous Latin American club. Founded on 14 May 1899 at the home of Dr. Ernesto Caprario, Nacional is the result of a merger between Uruguay Atletica Club and Montevideo Football Club.
Back then, Uruguay only had a population of 930,000, and Montevideo, the capital, had 290,000 inhabitants. More than half of that was made up of foreigners.
Club Nacional de Football First Game
Club Nacional de Football played its first friendly on 18 June 1899 against Internacional at its original stadium in Punta de las Carretas. The team has subsequently moved to Gran Parque Central (recently renovated but which still only boasts a 34,000 capacity). Big games, particularly against arch-rival Peñarol, are generally played at the Centenario stadium, which staged the first-ever FIFA World Cup Final in 1930.
When Uruguay met Argentina for the first time on 20 July 1902, the eight Club Nacional de Football players in the Celeste side could do nothing to prevent an 8-0 thrashing at the hands of their near neighbors. But in the return match in Buenos Aires on 13 September 1903, following the withdrawal of players from the Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club, Nacional alone took up the challenge – and defeated Argentina 3-2.
Fact: In 2013, the fans released the world’s biggest flag during a match. The flags dimension was 600 meters long by 50 meters high. It weighed 11,000 pounds.
“Club Nacional de Football represents the country’s dignity and its people” is how the club’s directors like to perceive their team. With the brothers Carlos and Bolívar Cespedes driving them on, Nacional won three league titles from 1902 to 1904, twice going through the season unbeaten.
In 1912, José María Delgado became president of the club at the tender age of 27, and in 1915, Hector Scarone, “the world’s best player,” joined the club and was a permanent fixture for the next fifteen years.
Club Nacional de Football’s early history featured endless tours, such as the one in 1925, which saw the club travel to nine different European countries over 153 days. Nevertheless, they emerged from their 38-match program with the following very respectable figures: 26 wins, 7 draws, 5 defeats, 130 goals scored, and 30 conceded.
Over the years, marked by its fierce rivalry with Peñarol, Nacional has won all the big club competitions: three Intercontinental Cups, two Toyota Cups, and three Copas Libertadores, while 14 of its players have gone on to represent two-times World Champions Uruguay.
Club Name: Club Nacional de Football
City: Montevideo (Uruguay)
Founded: 14 May 1899
Home Ground: Gran Parque Central. Capacity: 34,000
Home Jersey: White shirt, with red and blue trimmings. Made by Umbro.
Honours: 48 Uruguayan League Championships (amateur and professional), 3 Copas Libertadores (1971, 1980, 1988), 3 Intercontinental Cup (1971, 1980, 1988), 2 Toyota Cups (1980, 1988), 1 Recopa Sudamericana (1989), 2 Copas Interamericanas (1972, 1989)
Past Greats: Carlos and Bolívar Cespedes, Héctor Scarone, Atilio García, Gambetta, José Leandro Andrade, Pedro Cea, Ángel Romano, Ostolaza, Morales, Espárrago, Blanco, Victorino, Hugo León
Records: Emilio “Cococho” Álvarez, with 511 appearances, holds the record for the most games played for Nacional. Héctor Scarone, who played for Nacional for 21 years, is the club’s longest-serving player. Atilio García is the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 465 goals.
Official Website: www.nacional.uy
Main Image: Spong8