Chile legend Marcelo Salas has insisted that the current Universidad de Chile team is good enough to deserve the label of one of the best in the nation's history, eclipsing even the Colo Colo outfit that lifted the Copa Libertadores in 1991.
That Cacique team, directed by Croatian coach Mirko Jozic, made history by becoming the first, and to date only, Chilean side to win South America's most prestigious club trophy. Colo Colo triumphed 3-0 on aggregate over Olimpia to take the title, thanks to two goals from Luis Perez, who is currently interim coach at the club.
Jozic lifted three national titles as well as the Libertadores with the Cacique during a four-year stay; but Salas, who started and ended his career with Universidad de Chile and won the Primera Division in 1994 and 1995, believes that the Azul team of 2012 has to be considered better.
"I think that if we put this U against Colo Colo of '91, the U would win, without trying to disrespect Colo Colo. This U team is enjoying a much better period than that Colo Colo side ever did," Salas explained in a press conference held on Tuesday.
Jorge Sampaoli's men, who won both the Apertura and Clausura championships in 2011 and also lifted the Copa Sudamericana, face Argentine champions Boca Juniors in the semi-finals of the Libertadores. Despite his praise, Salas believes that the in-form Chileans should be wary when facing the Buenos Aires giants .
"The U have a great chance against Boca, but they are a fearsome rival. There can be no room for errors. The players have to perform at their best and they should trust in themselves, because this is an historic moment for the club."
Universidad earned their place in the last-four with a penalty shootout victory over Libertad, after drawing 2-2 on aggregate.