América’s stud midfielder earned MVP honors for the second year in a row as the Liga MX handed out its Golden Ball Awards.
As Opening Night of the Apertura 2019 season came into view, Liga MX celebrated its annual Golden Ball Awards (at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles). The July 13 ceremony recognized the league’s best players and coaches during the Apertura 2018 and Clausura 2019 seasons.
América hardman Guido Rodríguez was the big winner of the night, outpointing fellow Argentine Guido Pizarro (Tigres) to win the Best Defensive Midfielder Award, while also going home with the MVP Award for the second year in a row. Rubens Sambueza won in 2017, so Aguilas players have won the last three MVP trophies.
More from Viva Liga MX
- Guillermo Ochoa is out 4-6 weeks
- The Clásico Regiomontano is Heating Up
- Pumas: In Search of Regaining a Top Spot
- Why the United States Is Set to Overtake Mexico on the World Stage
- Erick Gutierrez is out once again
G-Rod’s smothering defense and timely scoring helped América win the Apertura 2018 championship, its record 13th Liga MX title. Rodríguez joined strikers Luis García, Jared Borgetti and Humberto Suazo, goalie Oswaldo Sánchez and midfielders Sinha and Lucas Lobos as two-time winners.
Also taking home some hardware for América was Agustín Marchesín who was named Best Goalkeeper. Fellow Argentine keeper Nahuel Guzmán (Tigres) finished second in the voting.
Striker André-Pierre Gignac was the only Tigres player to win a trophy, despite the team’s title-winning performance in the Clausura 2019. The Tigres also finished second in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League to Monterrey. Gignac won the Best Striker award over Monterrey star Rogelio Funes Mori. The Frenchman won the Apertura 2018 scoring title with 14 goals and led the league with 21 goals over the past two seasons.
Funes Mori didn’t go home empty handed. Funes Mori was recognized with the Goal of the Year trophy (a bicycle kick during the first leg of the Rayados’ quarterfinal match against Santos).
Cruz Azul’s Pablo Aguilar won Best Defender over León’s Fernando Navarro, while Navarro’s teammate – Angel Mena – claimed the Best Offensive Midfielder award (with Pachuca starlet Víctor Guzmán coming in second). Aguilar led a Cruz Azul defense that was the stingiest in Liga MX during the Apertura 2018 season and was the second-toughest team to score on in the Clausura 2019. Navarro was a strong two-way player who patrolled the right flank for the league’s best defense of the Clausura 2019 and he contributed three assists to the best offense.
León also claimed the Best Coach trophy as Ignacio Ambriz earned more votes than América’s Miguel Herrera. Ambriz led the Esmeraldas to the best record in the Clausura 2019 as León set a new league record with a 12-game win streak.
Veracruz goalie Sebastián Jurado won Best Rookie despite playing for the league’s worst team, easily besting Querétaro midfielder Marcel Ruiz who struggled in the Clausura 2019 after a breakout season in the Apertura 2018.
The march toward next season’s Golden Ball Awards begins on Friday night when Tijuana visits Puebla to kick off the Apertura 2019 season.
Goal of the Year nominees
Just for fun, have a look at the other plays that were nominated for Goal of the Year:
The first one is my personal favorite:
Rogelio Funes Mori (Matchday 4 vs América-Clausura 2019)
Elías Hernández (Matchday 7 vs Puebla-Apertura 2018)
André-Pierre Gignac (Matchday 7 vs Necaxa-Clausura 2019)
Jean Meneses (Matchday 5 vs Cruz Azul-Clausura 2019)