The championship was as much about Barcelona of Guayaquil – the country’s most popular and successful club – fighting to avoid relegation for the first time, as it was about the successes of the Quito clubs: Deportivo on the home front and LDU internationally.

Barcelona finished the second phase, in which the 12 teams in the top flight are divided into two groups of six, in fourth place in Group One, and so failed to make it to the third stage, in which eight teams were divided into two groups. They ended up in 10th place, their worst ever finish.

Neither Barcelona nor El Nacional, who have 13 league titles apiece, made it to the third stage. Having avoided relegation they were idle on the pitch but with time to plan for the future.

The period between 1987 and 1998, when Barcelona won the league five times, has been followed by 12 barren years. Carlos Alfaro Moreno, a former idol at the club, said: “Barcelona have to start again from scratch. The only thing that’s left at Barcelona is the name, their great history, their stadium and their fans.”

Deportivo Quito retained their title, beating Deportivo Cuenca 4-3 on aggregate in the Final after a 3-2 victory in the second leg. In the decider, substitute Daniel Mina put Quito ahead in the 69th minute and Michael Arroyo increased the lead four minutes later, just after Cuenca midfielder Holguer Matamoros had been shown the red card.

Cuenca then got back on level terms in the space of three minutes with goals by Edison Preciado and Ismael Villalba, before Arroyo struck the winner with three minutes remaining.

LDU, surprise winners of the Libertadores Cup and runners-up at the Club World Cup in 2008, won another two South American trophies. They beat Sudamericana Cup holders Internacional in the Super Cup, and Fluminense 5-4 on aggregate in the 2009 Sudamericana Final.

Player of the season
Claudio Bieler (LDU Quito)
The Argentinian striker
was the league’s top scorer with 22 goals and has been a key figure in all the success the club have enjoyed over the last two years.

Coach of the season
Jorge Fossati (LDU Quito)
The Uruguayan carried on the work of predecessor Edgardo Bauza to bring the club two more international trophies and earned himself a lucrative job with Brazil’s Internacional for next year.