The new Liga MX season kicks off on Friday but today – Jan. 4 – is the first day new players from outside the league can be officially registered.
No doubt Cruz Azul hurried to the window to turn in paperwork for the two newest Cementeros – Argentine forwards Augusto Lotti and Ramiro Carrera, both of whom were acquired from Atlético Tucumán last month.
Despite winning the Copa por México trophy last week, “La Máquina Azul” had reason to be critical of the league rules and the Copa organizers because the tournament rules prohibited players not officially registered with the league.
As such, Lotti and Carrera were prevented from seeing any game action during the preseason. It will be interesting to see how soon they are inserted into the line-up and/or used as substitutes. The Cementeros open the Clausura 2023 on the road in Tijuana where they’ll take on the Xolos.
Liga MX transfer news and roster notes
Staying in La Noria, Cruz Azul winger Uriel Antuna is reportedly entertaining a second offer from Greece powerhouse Panathinaikos. The club turned down the first bid but the Cementeros front office is holding out for a bigger package.
It appears likely Antuna will remain in Liga MX at least another six months. At 25, the Durango native is hopeful of another chance with a team across the pond. Antuna played for Groningen in the Eredivisie in 2017-2018, then starring with the LA Galaxy before arriving in Mexico City.
Pachuca and Luis Chávez turned down an offer from Monterrey and the star midfielder will remain with the Tuzos for another season with hopes of attracting a bid or two from a European club.
Chávez has been a star in the middle of Pachuca’s line-up the past two seasons (finalists in the Clausura 2022 and Liga MX champs last season), earning his first call-up to El Tri last April.
The 26-year-old late bloomer was arguably Mexico’s best player in Qatar, prompting speculation that he’d be moving to Europe. Rumors were sparked when Bayer Leverkusen mentioned him in a tweet during the World Cup, but nothing came of that.
Over at Club América, the potential release of stalwart defender Bruno Valdez sparked a social media spat.
Valdez, 30, has been at the heart of the Aguilas’ back-line for six years, even becoming the all-time top-scoring defender in America’s storied history. But “Los AzulCremas” have too many foreigners on their roster – Liga MX regs cap foreign players per squad at 10 – and Valdez, a Paraguayan, appears to be the odd man out after the club acquired 22-year-old Mexico international Israel Reyes.
On Tuesday night, TV commentator Andrés Vaca tweeted that Valdez was out, adding that it was long overdue. Valdez responded that Vaca should be released by Televisa as “he leaves a lot to be desired.”