A brief history...

Montevideo-based Club Nacional de Uruguay prides itself on being 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, a population of 290,000, more than half of which was made up of foreigners.

Nacional 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 (which is being consistently expanded, currently holding 20,000 fans). 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 Nacional players in the Celeste side could do nothing to prevent an 6-0 trouncing at the hands of their near neighbours. 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.

"Nacional represents the dignity of the country 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.

Nacional's early history featured endless tours, such as the one embarked on in 1925, which saw the club travel to nine different European countries over a period of 153 days. They emerged from their 38-match programme 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 at one time or another won all the big club competitions: an Intercontinental Cup, two Toyota Cups and three Copas Libertadores, while many of its players have gone on to represent two-times World Champions Uruguay.