Clausura 2022: Two title-winning coaches return to Liga MX

Ignacio Ambriz has returned to Liga MX after a brief spell in Spain. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
Ignacio Ambriz has returned to Liga MX after a brief spell in Spain. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images) /
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Liga MX coaches 2022
Miguel Herrera (left) and Ignacio Ambriz (right) are two of the four Mexican coaches in Liga MX heading into the Clausura 2022. (Photo by Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Three teams will kick off the Clausura 2022 with “new” coaches, and all three managers are quite familiar to Liga MX fans.

Two of the three have a Liga MX title on their resume, while the other is jumping from one Liga MX team to another.

Ignacio Ambriz has taken the Toluca job almost a year after guiding León to its eighth Liga MX title while Pedro Caixinha is back in charge of Santos Laguna, a team he led to the Clausura 2015 championship.

Caixinha is taking over for Guillermo Almada who was out of a job for only eight days, inking a deal with Pachuca in place of Paulo Pezzolano.

From Esmeralda green to ‘Choricero’ red

Ignacio Ambriz is back in Mexico after his failed term with Huesca in Spain. The former León coach was 4-3-5 when he was sacked by the second division club on Oct. 25. Toluca hired “Nacho” on Dec. 3, four days after sacking Hernán Cristante following a home loss in the wildcard playoff.

Cristante was fired rather unceremoniously. The coach met with management on Nov. 30 to plan activities ahead of the Clausura 2022, then was informed by phone a few hours later that he was out. This came just a week after the front office had announced that the legendary former Diablos Rojos goalie would be retained after steering the “Choriceros” to the playoffs twice.

The ousted manager could complain that ownership handed him a mediocre roster while paying big bucks for players on other Liga MX teams. Yep, you read that right.

Goalie Alfredo Talavera was loaned out to UNAM in summer 2020 and the Diablos have been paying his 1.9 million-dollar salary. “Tala” has excelled for the Pumas, playing at an MVP level throughout the Guardianes 2020 while leading “los Felinos” to the Liga MX final that season.

“Los Choriceros” were also paying Emmanuel Gigliotti’s wages while he played for Ambriz at León, earning a Liga MX winner’s medal there (Guardianes 2020), defeating Talavera and the Pumas in the process.

Team owner Valentín Díez also picked up the tab for Felipe Pardo while he labored at Pachuca for a year, before returning to the Diablos last summer.

Ambriz will hope some of Diez’s cash gets shared with players in the Diablos locker room as he looks to transform Toluca into a title contender. “Nacho” will be coaching his eighth Liga MX team, posting 181-112-137 record in 430 games in Mexico.