Guadalajara needs a front office wizard to fight off relegation woes and the former America and Cruz Azul personnel man could be the guy.
The Chivas made it official Monday, presenting Ricardo Pelaez as their new sporting director. Mariano Varela will continue in that role until the end of the Apertura 2019 season and, in January, will assume the role of sports coordinator and delegate. Chivas president Amaury Vergara was delighted to inform everyone of the news.
Who is Ricardo Palaez?
Ricardo Palaez has become an important figure in Liga MX, as well as with the Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF). He enjoyed an outstanding playing career, beginning at America before moving to Necaxa for 10 years where he still holds the career record for goals scored (158). He finished up his playing career with another year in América, with his final two years spent with Guadalajara.
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
Pelaez spent several years as a TV commentator before moving into front office roles. His biggest role was as the national team’s sporting director during the 2014 World Cup cycle, while he also enjoyed great success as Club America’s sporting director – his first front office job.
He had his greatest success at America where his first move was to hire Miguel Herrera as coach in 2011 just weeks after his appointment. Together they bred a winning culture which resulted in four finals during Pelaez’s six years in charge. America won the Clausura 2013 and Apertura 2014 Liga MX crowns as well as consecutive Concacaf Champions League titles (2015 and 2016).
When Mexico were struggling to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the FMF first hired Miguel Herrera who led them to Brazil by winning a two-legged play off against New Zealand. The FMF then hired Pelaez in December 2013 to act as El Tri’s sporting director and the duo helped Team Mexico become a pleasant surprise, qualifying for the knockout round with wins over Croatia and Cameroon and a spectacular scoreless tie against host Brazil. Unfortunately, El Tri came up short against Holland in the Round of 16.
His biggest achievements with America and Cruz Azul were the teams he put together. One example of his influence and prowess came when he was at Cruz Azul. Winger Elias Hernandez was set to leave Leon before the Apertura 2018 and Pelaez swooped in and convinced the playmaker to accept Cruz Azul’s offer though he was on the verge of signing with Guadalajara. He’s responsible for the Cementeros project that was led by controversial coach Pedro Caixinha, winning a Copa MX and a SuperCopa MX while also reaching the Apertura 2018 final.
Hopes are now high for Chivas fans and can anyone blame them? Their luck has been dreadful, but if the front office allows Ricardo P. to work his magic and doesn’t turn his term in Guadalajara into another “Cruyff” experience …