Final Liga MX coaching vacancies filled ... even Cruz Azul's!

Toluca has hired Renato Paiva; Cruz Azul to present Martín Anselmi
Volta Redonda FC v SC Bahia: Third Round First Leg - Copa do Brasil
Volta Redonda FC v SC Bahia: Third Round First Leg - Copa do Brasil / MB Media/GettyImages

Toluca has announced the hiring of former León manager Renato Paiva to fill the vacancy left by Ignacio Ambriz's surprise midseason departure.

Paiva, 53, is familiar with Liga MX after spending the Apertura 2022 in charge of the Esmeraldas though the club’s poor performance earned him a pink slip after just one season.

The Portuguese coach most recently spent nine months as boss at Brazil’s Esporte Club Bahía but was forced to resign due to poor results.

One year removed from guiding the Diablos Rojos to the Apertura 2022 final, Ambriz clashed with management following a Matchday 13 loss at León and abruptly left the club. Toluca finished the Apertura 2023 in 12th place and missed out on the Liga MX playoffs.

Another self-inflicted wound by Cruz Azul?

A month ago, beleaguered Cementeros fans heard that their favorite club had completely revamped its front office and hired a new coach. That turns out to be only half true, and even that is not necessarily worth celebrating.

We’ve written often here about the mismanagement that has devolved into chaos at Cruz Azul and how it has led to disarray in the locker room and on the pitch. The proud Mexico City franchise finished the Apertura 2023 in 16th place with a measly 17 points from 17 matches.

This week, “La Máquina Azul” was back in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Early last month, the Cementeros had announced with much fanfare that their new team president/ general manager would be Iván Alonso, a 44-year-old Uruguayan with playing and front office experience in Liga MX.

Gone were GM Óscar Pérez, the legendary Cruz Azul goalkeeper and captain, and Jaime Ordiales, formerly the chief executive for Team Mexico.

Quickly, reports surfaced that Alonso would bring in wunderkind Martín Anselmi, but before anybody could Google Anselmi, the sports media was publishing dirt about Alonso’s time as GM at Pachuca.

Tuzos officials even confirmed that Alonso had left the organization on poor terms with whispers that he might have skimmed money from player transactions.

Cruz Azul wavered but stood strong, and hired Alonso, giving him carte blanche to reboot The Blue Machine. But then Anselmi said he was staying at Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle.

That all changed this week when much-criticized club president Víctor Velázquez shuffled the chairs in the front office and presented Alonso as the new boss. Heading into the weekend, Anselmi changed course and is now poised to be the next Cementeros manager.

The columnist known as “Francotirador” (“Sharpshooter”) drew back the curtain on the new names on the Cruz Azul masthead and Cementeros Nation can’t be too pleased.

There certainly is adequate talent at La Noria. The question is: will management continue to throw a spanner into its own works?