It was never likely and now the speculation can end: Luis Suárez is not coming to Liga MX.
The fabled Uruguay striker – and Leo Messi’s best friend – has signed with Brazil’s Gremio as he plays out his career. After his contract at Atlético de Madrid ended last summer, Suárez returned home to play with his first club – Nacional.
As a free agent again, “El Pistolero” listened to an offer from Cruz Azul, but opted to play for the Brazilian club based in Porto Alegre.
Now the Cementeros can get on with registering the newest members of their attack force – the Argentine duo of Augusto Lotti and Ramiro Carrera.
Front-office slip-ups have hurt ‘La Máquina’
Last season, Cruz Azul fumbled the summer transfer window, basically condemning rookie coach Diego Aguirre to failure.
GM Jaime Ordiales missed out on most of Aguirre’s preseason wish-list, finally supplying some missing pieces in mid-season. But by then it was already too late as the Cementeros had sunk to the bottom rungs of the Liga MX ladder.
Ordiales is gone now – in charge of Team Mexico … a head-scratcher to be honest considering how he mismanaged Cruz Azul – and legendary former Cementeros goalie Oscar Pérez is now helping run the front office.
But in the interim, the club really dropped the ball.
Club teams whose players compete in a World Cup are entitled to financial compensation simply by submitting a registration form to FIFA. Three Cruz Azul players took part in Qatar 2022 – Charlie Rodríguez and Uriel Antuna for Mexico and Michael Estrada with Ecuador, so the Cementeros were in for a bit of a windfall … except nobody submitted the form. D’oh!
And through no fault of their own, the two newest members of “La Máquina” (the aforementioned Lotti and Carrera) have not been able to participate in the Copa por México because Liga MX does not open official registration of foreign players until Jan. 4, two days before the Clausura 2023 kicks off.
We’ll continue to examine the fallout resulting from the front-office shenanigans at La Noria as the season progresses.
Chivas declare intent to chase its 13th Liga MX title
Guadalajara fashioned a second-half comeback victory over Tigres that earned a spot in the Copa por México final with a game to spare.
Despite making the playoffs each of the past five seasons, the Chivas have never gotten a sniff at the Liga MX Finals, falling in the Wildcard round three times.
Not much was expected of “the most popular club in Liga MX” this season, but owner Amaury Vergara shook up the front office and long-time Real Madrid skipper Fernando Hierro is now in control.
Hierro’s selection of little-known Veljko Paunovic as the new coach was met with harrumphs and snickers, but the 45-year-old Serb has the Chivas playing like champs.
The Chivas defeated Tigres 2-1 to clinch top spot in Group B of the preseason Copa por México (a round-robin tourney featuring nine other Liga MX clubs). Guadalajara remains the lone perfect team (3-0-0) and the 9 points earns guarantee first place.
The week-long training camp in Spain earlier this month appears to have imprinted a solid tactical foundation and Paunovic is making the most of the roster though it is relatively unchanged from last season.
Mexico City-born Daniel Ríos – a 27-year-old forward who spent the past three years with MLS side Nashville SC – was presented this week as the club’s first acquisition ahead of the Clausura 2023.
Ríos came up through the Chivas system, debuting in Liga MX in in 2015 as a 20-year-old. He then bounced around Mexico’s second division before joining North Carolina FC, a second-division franchise in the United States. He toiled in the lower circuit three years before signing with Nashville in its inaugural MLS season in 2020.
On Friday, the Chivas announced that the long-awaited Víctor Guzmán-for Jesús Angulo trade was near completion. Angulo, a playmaking midfielder, officially joined León while Guzmán’s contract was being finalized.
Guzmán – another former Chivas academy product – is a two-time Liga MX champ with Pachuca for whom he has toiled since 2016.