Pedro Caixinha was hired to end the embarrassing league title drought currently haunting Cruz Azul. His tenure came to an end this week.
The Cementeros’ infrastructure is crumbling. Cruz Azul was tipped to be a title contender ahead of the Apertura 2019, but the Mexico City club is trying to pick up the pieces during the FIFA break, hoping to prop up the club and restore its title hopes. Cementeros fans have been waiting to celebrate a league title since 1997.
Cruz Azul team president Ricardo Peláez was brought on board in May 2018, and Cementeros fans hoped he could replicate the success he enjoyed at bitter rivals América. He led the Aguilas to two league crowns (Clausura 2013 and Apertura 2014) as well as two consecutive Concacaf Champions League titles (2015 and 2016).
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Already on the bench for the Cementeros was the intense Pedro Caixinha, a coach that Cruz Azul had long tried to hire. Caixinha had experience in Liga MX, guiding Santos Laguna to the Clausura 2015 title and a runner-up finish in the 2013 Concacaf Champions League. Cementeros management had tried to pry him from Scottish club Rangers in 2017, but were unsuccessful. They finally hired Caixinha ahead of the Clausura 2018 season and six months later Peláez took over the front office.
Peláez was insistent. He declared his desire to win a title at Cruz Azul … with Caixinha as his coach. That is no longer possible.
And there have been hints that Peláez might not get a chance to fix the mess in the Cementeros locker room. There are reports that he could be on his way out, too, as he was the primary supporter of the Caixinha project.
The first season with the Peláez-Caixinha team in place, the Cementeros finished the regular season in first place and rode their No. 1 seed to the Final. The Apertura 2018 season ended in bitter disappointment, however, as Cruz Azul lost to their hated rivals, América.