Liga MX’s Old-School Idols Give Way to the League’s New Era

The Liga MX is in a constant state of transformation; maybe more than ever before. The league has been flooded with talent, in great measure due to the ever-growing buying power that allows teams to buy better and more versatile players.

At a time of economic crisis for a majority of the Mexican population, Liga MX clubs are investing more than ever in improving their rosters. Soccer club owners seem untouched by the signs of economic hardship: the constant devaluation of the peso against the dollar, the hike in gasoline and electricity prices in addition to other basic services, the incomprehensible spike in the prices of common food products (like limes, or more recently avocados).

Between player sales and loans, 75 transactions – adding up to 52 million dollars – were registered during the last Liga MX draft, with highlight arrivals like Enzo Roco to Cruz Azul for 1$1.2 million dollars, and Argentinian player Marcelo Barovero valued at $4.4 million dollars.

According Transfermarket, this apparent splurge on players means that the league now has the third-highest value in the Americas at $619 million dollars, coming in behind Brazil and Argentina. This has translated into the arrival of players whose quality and talent is pushing out stalwarts who for more than a decade were considered icons of the league.

Old school idols like Gerardo Torrado, Lucas Lobos, Dante López, Israel Castro, Ángel Reyna, Héctor Mancilla, Daniel Ludueña, and Omar Bravo had to give up their spots to accommodate the arrival of well-known international players. In the seemingly unanimous opinion of experts, analysts, fans, and sports journalist, the Liga MX is seeing its best years in a long time.

Guido Pizarro
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This is perhaps most evident with Tigres, who were only recently able to afford to let go of players of the caliber of Egidio Arévalo, a starter for the Uruguayan National Team, in favor of another highly talented player – Argentine Guido Pizarro.

The same thing occurred with the signing of Frenchman Andrè-Pierre Gignac, which left then-Copa Libertadores top-scorer Joffre Guerrón with no playing opportunities, forcing him to make a move to Cruz Azul in search of more playing time. This is not to say that Tigres is the only Liga MX team with a surplus of human and economic resources – their city rivals Monterrey don’t fall far behind. The surplus of players in their rosters generates loans and sales to other clubs with smaller budgets, which means that players who have been important in the league tournament after tournament in the last decade are now relegated to the bench or even out of the league itself.

Tigres ($66 million) and Monterrey ($54 million) have never had rosters with such a high economic value, and this has stimulated other teams to hire new players, and let go of older players who at this point were more a symbol of good memories than real change makers in the current tournaments.

Gerardo Torrado, Lucas Lobos, Israel Castro, Ángel Reyna, Daniel Ludueña, Dante López, and Omar Bravo, are also more than a generation of players  leaving the Liga MX – they also symbolize a transition to the modernization of the tournament, where only the youngest and strongest will prevail. The days of sentimentality and nostalgia are behind us; fervent competition and the unrestrained search for glory lie ahead.

LigaMX is living a new era.