Will Pachuca undergo makeover after return to prominence?

Tuzos threesome of Sánchez, Idrissi and Rondón could be on the move
Pachuca midfielder Erick Sánchez exults during the trophy presentation ceremony after the Tuzos won the Concacaf Champions Cup on June 1.
Pachuca midfielder Erick Sánchez exults during the trophy presentation ceremony after the Tuzos won the Concacaf Champions Cup on June 1. / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

After nearly denying holders América a chance at back-to-back Liga MX titles, Pachuca “settled” for a huge consolation prize - the Concacaf Champions Cup trophy.

By proclaiming regional superiority, the Tuzos earned an invitation to the newly expanded FIFA Club World Cup. Instead of just seven participants — winners of the six continental club cups plus a team from the host country – the 2025 edition will feature 32 teams.

The new format will feature 12 club teams from Europe, six from Conmebol and four each from Concacaf, the Asian Football Federation and the Confederation of African Football, while the Oceania Football Confederation and the host country (in this case, the United States) will get one slot each.

Unfortunately for Tuzos fans, the Pachuca squad that takes the field next year in the United States will likely look completely different than the team that barnstormed through two tournaments last season.

Pachuca's bounceback season

After missing the Apertura 2023 playoffs, Pachuca added Venezuela striker Salomón Rondón, pairing him with Moroccan winger Oussama Idrissi who had arrived to Liga MX a few months earlier.

Along with peripatetic midfielder Erick Sánchez and a plethora of young home-grown players, the Tuzos came roaring out of the Clausura 2024 gate. Guillermo Almada had the team occupying the top of the Liga MX table in early February after a 4-0-1 start.

After Pachuca defeated América on Matchday 7, Liga MX observers were convinced this team was not a fluke. Not only were the Tuzos scoring at a high rate, they were playing an attractive style of football. Almada had the team pressing all over the field from time-to-time, exerting extreme pressure and attacking vertically.

As the Tuzos marched deeper into the Concacaf Champions Cup, their league performance suffered and the team finished in 7th place. Pachuca was forced to survive two play-in games to reach the quarterfinals where they came within a minute of eliminating América.

Rondón finished as co-scoring leader and Idrissi led Liga MX in assists. Rondón also won the Golden Boot in the Concacaf Champions Cup, scoring twice in Pachuca's 3-0 win over Columbus Crew in the final.

Is a facelift in Pachuca's future?

Heading into the Clausura 2024 – with the Club World Cup a full year away – it seems likely that Sánchez, Rondón and Idrissi could all be playing elsewhere.

Sánchez is the most recent star to emerge from the Pachuca academy and he appeared destined to make a move to Europe with Ajax in the running. Now it seems that América is on the verge of outbidding Sevilla and Toulouse for Sánchez's services.

Tuzos management is eager to accept the windfall, but insists it will defer to Sánchez's wishes. So we'll have to wait and see what "Chiquito" decides after he returns to Mexico following El Tri's Copa América obligations.

América had also inquired about Idrissi, but Pachuca ownership said "Sure, but you have to buy out his contract," which at $10 million dollars seemed to discourage the Aguilas. Then the deep-pocketed Rayados of Monterrey came calling, but nothing has been heard on that front in a couple months.

As for Rondón, the 34-year-old veteran's three-year contract does not include a buy-out clause, so he could entertain offers if that is his desire. Because of his age, there might be fewer suitors. In addition, earlier this month, Rondón declared that his goal is to play in a Club World Cup, so Pachuca fans will be hoping he not only stays in town but that his fine form continues for another year.

Losing Sánchez and Idrissi would be disappointing to be sure, but Almada is successfully cultivating talent from the club's proud academy.

Players like Bryan González earned his first invitation to the national team this spring and he is with El Tri as it prepares for the Copa América . Youngsters like defender Jorge Berlanga, winger Emilio Martínez, midfielders Alan Bautista and Owen González all produced adequately when called upon by Almada and the demanding coach summoned them with regularity.


So although some of the prominent faces might change, the Tuzos seem to have a promising future and a very stable present that should allow Pachuca fans to dream of more hardware.