Will Cruz Azul's bounceback season be sidetracked? Whither goest Necaxa?

Cementeros captain Juan Escobar might be shown the door; Rayos transfer plans go awry

Cruz Azul's Juan Escobar got into a shouting match with new coach Martín Anselmi and now his spot on the Cementeros roster is at risk just ahead of Opening Weekend in Liga MX.
Cruz Azul's Juan Escobar got into a shouting match with new coach Martín Anselmi and now his spot on the Cementeros roster is at risk just ahead of Opening Weekend in Liga MX. / Jam Media/GettyImages
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Chaos and confusion at Cruz Azul

As if Cruz Azul doesn’t have enough problems, it now appears as team captain Juan Escobar could face dismissal.

Escobar – a stalwart defender for the “La Máquina” since summer 2019 and a key member of the club’s championship-winning side in 2021 – could see his time at La Noria coming to an end.

The 28-year-old defender objected to not getting the start in the Cementeros’ preseason match against Querétaro last Saturday. After the game, the Paraguayan back-liner cursed out new coach Martín Anselmi and a heated argument ensued.

Although the pair did not exchange blows, management is reportedly weighing a severe punishment and Escobar’s position on the team is now unclear.

Anselmi insisted that Escobar be released immediately, but new GM Iván Alonso and club president Víctor Velázquez are seeking a less severe off-ramp.

The versatile Escobar was the most consistent player during the disastrous Apertura 2023 season and his locker-room leadership has been praised.

Another factor complicating this discussion is that Cruz Azul presently has nine foreigners on its roster and Liga MX rules stipulate that only seven can be on the pitch at the same time.

With six of those foreigners playing defense and three in attack, the decision to jettison Escobar could be presented as a numbers calculation instead of simply as a disciplinary measure. 

Meanwhile, up in Aguascalientes …

Necaxa’s dreams of climbing out of the Liga MX cellar seem unlikely to be fulfilled as Rayos management failed in its bid to bring two league champs aboard.

América made fullback/winger Salvador Reyes and winger Leo Suárez available but “los Hidrocálidos” declined to meet the players’ wage demands. Necaxa ended the talks and now must look elsewhere to improve its locker room.

One player being targeted is former Rayo Alejandro Mayorga (“Record” columnist David Medrano suggests that negotiations with the Chivas are advancing). If a contract is signed, Necaxa’s problems at left fullback would be solved, but there are holes all across the roster.

Another target for “los Electricistas” is River Plate midfielder José Paradela. The 25-year-old Argentine spent last season on loan with Deportivo Tigre. 

The Rayos also have permission to recruit Pumas forward Gustavo del Prete who is excess to needs at UNAM now that Rogelio Funes Mori is in camp. Del Crete is reluctant to move to Aguascalientes, but the 27-year-old Uruguayan has been told he will not be on the Pumas roster this season.

Next. Of 'new' stadiums and 'Chicharito' rumors. Of 'new' stadiums and 'Chicharito' rumors. dark

Elsewhere in Liga MX

FC Juarez announced the arrival of Angel Zaldívar from Chivas. The 29-year-old striker was on loan to Atlético de San Luis the past two seasons and the Guadalajara native scored 5 goals as a back-up forward with the Tuneros.