Wonderkid Factory | Part 35 | Diego Mena: Record Envigado Appearances Holder

The streets of Envigado were coated with orange and black ticker tape stuck to the floor with wasted champagne and Aguardiente as a result of copious days and nights spent celebrating little Envigado FC becoming back-to-back Champions of South America in 2038.

The club’s fans were in a state of shock at the massive overachievements of their homegrown heroes. But their manager Robinho Lazaró didn’t know whether to be shocked, joining in with the many parties he’d been invited to, or smugly gloating in his glory. And he largely chose the latter, professing to anyone who’d listen that he was indeed “a special one.”

Unsurprisingly, some of his best players were wanted by clubs across the Américas and, in some cases, Europe’s top clubs but, as usual, only attracted derogatory bids. Two players Lazaró did allow to leave were winger Cristian Gutiérrez, who was increasingly injury prone and wanted silly money to renew his deal so joined Sporting for £1.3m, and backup striker Jhon Medina, who failed to meet his potential despite scoring 65 in 154 league games and moved to Sport Boys in Peru for £100k. Their finances were also boosted by former left-back Andrés Mira signing for Dortmund from Wolfsburg for £33.5m, which earned Envigado around £10m.

Star man Mateo Acevedo had raised concerns about wanting to earn more money elsewhere. So, with the finances looking good, Lazaró broke the bank to lock the attacker down for his prime years. Now 26, Acevedo signed a new three-year deal worth £50k a week to stay at Envigado until 2041.

However, a disappointing youth intake saw a first without a single “elite talent” and nothing above 4-star potential, to the extent it’s not worth showing a single graduate. Lazaró had already decided to release his head of youth development and replaced him with a Brazilian, so we’ll how that goes.

More Silverware Up For Grabs

The 2039 season began by defending their Recopa Sudamericana and Colombian Súperliga titles. First up was the Recopa against Fluminense, in which they did well to earn a 0-0 in Brazil but an exhausted squad lost the home leg 3-0. They also drew the first leg of Súperliga at home to Millonarios but an 87th-minute strike by winger Norberto Beltrán in the return leg earned a 3rd-successive success.

Apertura Season 18 Kicks Off

Envigado were now massive favourites to retain their titles at 8/11 to win Liga BetPlay, well ahead of Millonarios (9/1) and Nacional (12/1).

They started well as midfielder Yelkin Montero and all-time leading goalscorer Edisón Borrero scored in a 2-0 win at Santa Fe. Acevedo scored his 200th league goal for Envigado before Borrero, who leads him by 20 goals, added two in a 3-0 win over Depor in their first game back at Polideportivo Sur since their epic Copa Libertadores defence.

That saw them make a strong start to the campaign, including young striker Yan de Armas scoring twice in a 5-0 win at home to Tolima and Acevedo and Borrero braces in a 4-0 beating of Boyacá Chicó. Much-needed rotation saw a couple of defeats but Acevedo and Borrero both bagged braces again in a 5-0 win at Petrolera, which took them top with five games remaining.

They slipped to a couple more draws in their games in hand but Borrero scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Once Caldas that confirmed first place. In that game, Diego Mena, who came through the Envigado youth academy in 2026, surpassed the legendary Juan Manuel Zapata’s league appearances record of 444.

The league stage was concluded by a fully rotated team winning 3-0 at Nacional then a 6-2 win at Independiente. That saw Envigado win the league stage by seven points, scoring an easy league-high 51 goals. Borrero was the league’s top scorer with 15 followed by Acevedo’s 11, while Acevedo had a league-high 8.12 average rating from 13 games.

Second Copa Libertadores Defence Begins

Envigado’s second Copa Libertadores defence began with a group alongside Boca Juniors, compatriots Junior FC and Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno, which was more favourable than usual.

They got the perfect start as a Borrero hat-trick led a 5-0 home win over Cerro Porteno, which was backed up by a 2-0 win at Junior. Then the toughest game took them to La Bombanera where they played out a classic with Boca, whose striker scored a hat-trick but Rodolfo Vega’s header and a Borrero brace earned a point.

They qualified as an own goal then Juan José Vizcaino and Borrero earned a dominant 3-1 win at home to Boca, who were bottom of the group with just one point! And the group was sealed as Bahoque scored twice inside four minutes then Acevedo matched the feat in a 4-2 win over Junior. Lazaró fully rotated for the trip to Paraguay and they still won 5-0 thanks to a brilliant de Armas hat-trick and assist.

Seeking 7th Successive Apertura Title

Apertura got a post-season group alongside Nacional, Deportivo Cali and Junior FC. They began at home to Cali, who missed a penalty after half an hour and were made to pay as the league’s leading striker Borrero bagged a brace for a 2-0 win. He scored again along with Gianfranco Bahoque and de Armas in a 3-0 in over Junior then a 2-1 win at Nacional. Three late goals earned a 3-1 win at Cali before a de Armas brace and Acevedo sealed qualification in a 3-1 victory over Nacional, in which Vega suffered a broken leg. And they stayed undefeated as a fully rotated squad drew 1-1 at Junior.

That teed up a Final against América, against whom Envigado had won the last seven meetings and had only lost once in the last 19. That trend continued with an easy 3-0 win in the away leg as Yaliston Hernández scored early on before a de Armas brace. Hernández again headed home the opener before Borrero scored on his return from injury and they eased to victory.

Envigado won a 7th successive Apertura and a 9th Liga BetPlay title in a row!!

Borrero leads the Envigado charts with 26 goals in 29 games followed by Acevedo’s 16 goals and 13 assists in 30 games. While 18-year-old de Armas has impressed with 12 goals, the exciting Vizcaino has 12 assists and Montero and Juan Fernando Rivas both have 10 assists.

The latest success moves Envigado to 19 total Colombian titles, just one behind Millonarios’ all-time record of 20. Could Lazaró equal it in the second half of 2039? Join us on Monday to find out!


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