Liga MX: Prodigal son returning to Monterrey

Playmaking midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro is on the verge of finalizing a deal to return to Liga MX with Monterrey. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Playmaking midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro is on the verge of finalizing a deal to return to Liga MX with Monterrey. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
Liga MX Pizarro
The Tigres eliminated Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals last season but the Guerreros might have to wait for their chance at revenge as Liga MX officials are pondering postponing their season-opening match due to Covid infections. (Photo by Alfredo Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

The Clausura 2022 is scheduled to kick off in a few days, but several season openers could be in jeopardy as Covid infection cases have hit both Monterrey clubs with postponement of Saturday’s Tigres at Santos match already under discussion.

The Tigres have already confirmed at least three players have contracted the virus while reports out of the Rayados camp indicate striker Rogelio Funes Mori and midfielder Celso Ortiz are under observation.

It would be no surprise if the new Omicron variant takes a toll on Liga MX teams and it could wreak havoc on the schedule, but we can’t project or predict how league officials will react.

For now, we’ll continue focusing on roster turnover as transfer operations become official this week. And with the Liga MX winter window open until Feb. 5, we expect considerable action over the next four weeks.

Latest Liga MX moves and rumors

Rodolfo Pizarro has spent the past two years in MLS after winning Liga MX titles with Pachuca (CL 2016), Guadalajara (CL 2017) and Monterrey (AP 2019). Chivas fans have been praying for the playmaking wizard to return to the flock, but – alas – they will not get their wish.

The 27-year-old talisman underwent a team physical in Monterrey and is expected to be unveiled as the new quarterback of the Rayados offense. Pizarro did not have much luck with Inter Miami (7 goals, 8 assists in 47 games) and he believes he’ll have a better chance of making Mexico’s roster for Qatar 2022 if he plays in Liga MX. Coach Javier Aguirre will give him every chance to lead the Rayados back to Liga MX glory, and if he does, you can bet “Tata” Martino will take notice.

In Mexico City, América is still busy modifying its roster, thus far only adding two new pieces – offensive midfielder Diego Valdés and defensive midfielder Jonathan dos Santos. Last week, the Aguilas were said to be closing in on Ecuador international Joao Rojas, a 24-year-old left winger who has played for Emelec and Aucas in his home country, but those whispers have died down.

Over the weekend, Necaxa midfielder Alejandro Zendejas was linked to a move to “los AzulCremas.” Zendejas led the Rayos with 6 goals last season and ESPN reported that América was offering striker Federico Viñas and/or midfielder Fernando Madrigal in return.

At the same time, Aguilas GM Santiago Baños was trying to finalize a deal sending out-of-favor winger Leo Suárez to Santos in a transaction that will only sharpen the knives of Baños’ critics.

América purchased the Argentine winger from Spain’s Villarreal two years ago for just over 1 million dollars. The Aguilas have rescinded Suárez’s contract and are sending him to Santos Laguna for free.

To be sure, the 25-year-old did not pan out with América and he missed most of last season due to ankle surgery, but ownership can’t be too happy about squandering so much money. This move marks the third time in a year that Baños has canceled a contract and sent a player out for free (striker Nicolás Castillo was sent to Necaxa last week and winger Andrés Ibarguen moved to Santos Laguna last year).

But the goal is to make room for another foreign player and club officials are talking to Uruguayan Brian Ocampo. The talented 22-year-old would fill the final spot targeted by coach Santiago Solari – attacking right winger. The speedy Ocampo played last season with his country’s Nacional with whom he has recorded 3 goals and 14 assists in 49 games.

Odds & Ends

Veteran striker Martín Barragán has returned to Liga MX after spending last season in second division with Club Atlético Morelia joined Puebla. The Atlas academy product, now 30, scored 8 goals in 16 games with Morelia and could find plenty of playing time after the Camoteros traded away Christian Tabó and Daniel Álvarez.

Liga MX Transfer Tidbits. dark. Next

Finally, defensive midfielder Rafa Carioca has reportedly asked the Tigres to move him. The 32-year-old has been a stalwart in front of the defense since 2017, winning two Liga MX crowns and a Concacaf Champions League title with the Tigres.