There’s little doubt that Club Olimpia (internationally known as Olimpia Asunción or simply Olimpia) is the greatest Paraguayan football club of all time. Throughout their colorful history, they’ve won loads of Primera División titles -- more than their main rival, Cerro Porteňo -- and three Copa Libertadores trophies. They play their home games at the illustrious Estadio Manuel Ferreira, known as “El Bosque” (The Forest) for the tall trees surrounding it.
Estadio Manuel Ferreira (1965–)
Primera División: 46
Copa Libertadores: 3
Ever Almeida, Alicio Solalinde, Rogelio Delgado, Carlos Gamarra, Roque Santa Cruz, Rodrigo Rojas, Emmanuel Adebayor
Most games played: N/A
Top goalscorer: N/A
The road to success
With a foundation date of July 25th, 1902, Olimpia is the oldest football club in Paraguay. The principal founding member was William Paats, who’s widely considered to be the father of the Paraguayan football. The Dutch-born Paats moved to Paraguay when he was 18 years old; after becoming a physical education instructor, he brought a ball to the country and started engaging his students with the sport.
Thanks in large part to Paats’ influence, Olimpia turned out to be just the first of many football clubs formed around this time. In 1906, most of those clubs joined the first Paraguayan football league. Olimpia managed to position itself ahead of the pack early on, winning three consecutive titles on two separate occasions (1927-1929 and 1936-1938). By the early ‘50s, they already had 13 national championships under their belt.
Rey de Copas
Following a short period of misfortune during the ‘50s, Olimpia returned to the top of Paraguayan football after the appointment of Manuel Ferreira Sosa as president. Under Ferreira’s presidency, the club acquired a new stadium (Estadio Manuel Ferreira) and several key players. This led to their biggest achievement up to that point in history: winning 5 straight championships from 1956 to 1960.
In 1960, Olimpia also reached their first Copa Libertadores final, but they lost to Peñarol on a winning goal by Luis Cubilla. In a strange twist of fate, Cubilla “paid his dues” by joining Olimpia in the coach role in 1979 and immediately leading them to their first Copa Libertadores title. In the final match, Olimpia prevailed over Boca Juniors, winning 2-0 in the first leg and successfully protecting a 0-0 draw in the second leg.
In addition to winning the Copa Libertadores, Olimpia broke their own record by winning 6 straight national titles from 1978 to 1983. This set them up well for reaching three consecutive Copa Libertadores finals from 1989 to 1991. Though they lost two of those, they did manage to claim their second title in the competition in 1990, beating Universidad Católica, Atlético Nacional, and Barcelona de Guayaquil on the way.
Slump and recovery
Olimpia kept up this streak of good results up until -- and just past -- the turn of the century, claiming 6 Primera División titles and their third Copa Libertadores trophy in the period from 1993 to 2002. However, this successful era was followed by the deepest slump in the club’s history. Olimpia won no major titles for the rest of the ‘00s, despite switching coaches and players on a yearly basis.
After the new management took over in 2010, it seemed like the crisis was a thing of the past. In 2011, they won their major first trophy in eleven years (Clausura). Two years later, they made it to their seventh Copa Libertadores final, where they were defeated by Atlético Mineiro in a penalty shootout. However, they recovered from this heartbreaking loss by claiming two more national championships in 2015 and 2018.
By Martin Wahl
The logo is in black and white, the colors of the club. In the center horizontal bar, "Olimpia" is written and as a stylized background is "Club" written. The form of a shield is a wavy circle. The enlarge yellow star and the three silver stars below the shield symbolize a 1979 Intercontinental Cup victory and the 1979, 1990 and 2002 Copa Libertadores victories, respectively. Older versions of the club logo have other star figurations.
Club Olimpia timeline
1902 The club is established and being the first Paraguayan football club.
1906 The club joins the Paraguayan football league.
1912 Winning their first national league championship.
1965 Moving to the Estadio Manuel Ferreira stadium.
1979 Winning their first Copa Libertadores.
1992 Winning their first Torneo República.
2021 First time winner of the Copa Paraguay (previously Torneo República).
Football clubs also founded in 1902
El Decano, Rey de Copas