Spencer secures Penarol’s place in the pantheon


A brief history...

Originally founded on 18 September 1891 as the Central Uruguayan Railway Cricket Club (CURCC), C.A. Penarol are the oldest football team in Uruguay. The name Penarol was taken from the neighbourhood of a village on the outskirts of Montevideo, which over the years became a district of the capital itself, where new residential villas sat side-by-side with farms and vineyards. Indeed, it was an important agriculturalist at the time, Pedro Pignarolo, whose mispronounced surname gave both the area and the club their names.

The CURCC was created by English engineers working for the Central Railroad Company, and they began by playing sporadic matches against British colleges and teams of sailors from ships docked in Montevideo harbour. The club's first president was Frank Henderson (1891-99) and the team's first captain a certain John Mc Gregor, but the English influence slowly faded and CURCC was officially renamed Club Atletico Penarol on 13 December 1913, having been referred to locally as Penarol for some time.

It did not take long before a fierce rivalry developed between Penarol and Nacional, another Montevideo club founded in 1899. In a century of competition, the two leading lights of Uruguayan football have shared 82 league titles between them, more than 80% of the total, with their competitors forced to make do with the scraps. Penarol's first championship win came nine years after their creation, and in 1905 they set the incredible record of finishing the league season without dropping a single point or conceding a single goal.

With a team built on the twin powers of Penarol and Nacional, the small country of Uruguay (4 million inhabitants and 177,500km²) made history by winning the inaugural FIFA World Cup™ on home soil in 1930. But the Celeste's greatest achievement has to have been the monumental upset they caused in 1950 by dashing Brazilian dreams at the Maracana and lifting the global trophy for a second time. That side consisted of no fewer than six Penarol stalwarts, including legendary players Roque Maspoli and Juan Schiaffino.

Often compared to Real Madrid, their opponents in the first-ever Intercontinental Cup, Penarol always rank highly in world football statistics.

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