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
Pedro Caixinha (center) poses with Santos team president Dante Elizalde (left) and academy director Eduardo Fentanes (right) during his presentation as the new coach of Santos Laguna. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Portuguese coach Pedro Caixinha returns to Liga MX where he hopes to repeat the glory he enjoyed during his first term at Santos Laguna (2012-2015) and erase the stigma of his collapse while at Cruz Azul (2018-2019).

The unknown Caixinha arrived in Torreón from Nacional Madeira in Portugal in 2012 and found success right away, taking the Guerreros to the Liga MX semifinals in his first season, to the Concacaf Champions League and Liga MX finals (losing both) in his second season.

In 2014, Santos won the Copa MX and in May 2015 “los Laguneros” won the Liga MX title with Caixinha becoming the third European manager to win a Liga MX title (Hungarian Arpad Fékete won titles with Chivas and Club Deportivo Oro and Bora Milutinivoc led Pumas to a league championship).

Caixinha was 54-46-31 before leaving for distant shores, first Qatari club Al-Gharafa then Scotland’s Rangers.

Caixinha was back in Liga MX in 2018 and scored big with the Cementeros in his first season, guiding “La Máquina” to a Copa MX trophy as well as the No. 1 seed and a spot in the Finals where they lost to América.

It went downhill from there. Cruz Azul lost to América in the quarterfinals the following season and the Cementeros were just 2-4-2 in the Apertura 2019 when Caixinha was sent packing. Not only had he exasperated management, but the irascible coach had gotten in hot water with Liga MX officials after a press conference outburst sprinkled with sexist comments.

The 51-year-old manager told reporters at his presentation last week that he has learned from his past mistakes, guaranteeing that he’d be more even-tempered on the pitch and with the media.