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Cruz Azul: Arrival of Dueas calms Ferretti’s Resentment

Cruz Azul is one of the Liga MX teams that has been remodeling its locker rooms with less than a week till the start of the Apertura 2023 at Estadio Azteca.

Pachuca has changed its attacking lineup, moving winger Romario Ibarra to Spain’s Oviedo and striker Avilés Hurtado to FC Juárez, just eight months after lifting the Liga MX championship trophy. This came after the Tuzo family bought strikers Federico Vias and Lucas di Yorio from America and León, respectively.

Cruz Azul

As they attempt to transfer Gabriel “Toro” Fernández to UNAM, FC Juárez anticipates having space up front for Hurtado (and Spaniard Aitor Garcia). Goalkeeper Sebastián Jurado (from Cruz Azul), who will replace seasoned veteran Alfredo Talavera, is also close to joining the Bravos.

Tijuana, the second Liga MX border team, has also been active. The Xolos have added a player to each line: goalkeeper Jess Corona (from Cruz Azul), fullback Diego Barbosa (from Atlas), midfielder Fernando Madrigal (from Necaxa), and striker Carlos González (from Toluca).

There is a lot of backroom trading in La Noria.

Cruz Azul is one team that has consistently answered the phone, if not always efficiently if you believe the coach and the general manager.

Since winning the Liga MX championship just four seasons ago, “La Máquina Azul” has not been operating at full capacity. Since August of last year, four coaches have changed the dynamics in the front office (for more information, see our 7-part article titled “Deconstructing Cruz Azul”).

You’d think things would be better now that famed manager Ricardo Ferretti is in charge. You might well be mistaken. This is due to the fact that team president Victor Velázquez is making personnel decisions without consulting his coach or his general manager, which has enraged Ferretti, a well-known sourpuss.

The fact that a few prospective purchases fell through didn’t help. Prior to team physicians raising concerns about their physicals, veteran defender Matheus Doria and immature attacker Eduardo Aguirre seemed to be signed, sealed and delivered last month. Early in June, when Doria and Aguirre were sent back to Santos Laguna, the Brazilian defender issued the following warning to the Cementeros Nation: “We’ll see you on Matchday 4, and then we’ll see who’s injured and who’s not.”

Ferretti raised an eyebrow (and possibly said a few expletives) when Velázquez managed the acquisition of two unknowns, though, as neither player was on his want list. Both Diber Cambindo and Kevin Castao, a midfielder from Colombia, are now on the Cruz Azul team.

Velázquez acknowledged earlier this week that “Tuca” had requested three more reinforcements, though he did not commit to providing them. He immediately complied with one of the requests though, and Jess Dueas will now transfer from FC Juárez to La Noria.

Dueas will team up once more with Ferretti, who he previously played for at FC Juárez and Tigres, where the two of them shared five Liga MX championships. Additionally, defender Carlos Salcedo, who also played for Ferretti at Tigres (winning one Liga MX title) and FC Juárez, will be a familiar face to Dueas in the locker room.

Cruz Azul continues to pursue a few targets.

Alan Pulido, a striker who spent his early career playing under “Tuca” for seven seasons, is one of the players Ferretti has requested.

Cruz Azul has made a sizable bid for Sporting KC’s star player, but the MLS team is negotiating a contract extension, and Guadalajara is pleading with the former Chivas hero to remain loyal to the team (he led Liga MX in scoring in his final season with “El Rebao Sagrado” and won a championship with them in 2017). Pulido promised to make his choice public at the beginning of July.

Willer Ditta, a defender from Colombia who competes for Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, is the other player Ferretti is interested in signing. While some reports claim the 26-year-old is nearly ready to sign with Cruz Azul, others claim the negotiations are still in progress.

There have been plenty of rumors spread, particularly considering that it is still unclear exactly who is in charge of the front office.

When word got out that previous GM Jaime Ordiales was back with the team despite being a major cause of the dysfunction and a favorite target of fan anger, GM Oscar Pérez was already being frozen out.

Nicolás Freire, a defender who has been charged with stirring up trouble in the Pumas locker room, was reportedly the subject of interest from the Cementeros, according to rumors.

There were a few departures as well.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight that there was quite major house-cleaning done to make way for the acquisitions indicated above while Ferretti waits to see what his final roster will look like.

The winter saw the release of three longtime Cementeros: goalkeeper and captain Jess Corona (14 years), midfielder Rafa Baca (nine years), and academy product Julio César Dominguez (17 years). Dominguez will play defense for Atlético de San Luis this season, while Baca is still unsigned and Corona has moved to Tijuana.

The following players left the team: defenders José “Shaggy” Martnez, a fan favorite, Iván Morales, and Gonzalo Carneiro, who were both handed outright releases; little-used left back Jaiber Jiménez; and forwards Michael Estrada, Iván Morales, and Michael Estrada.

Additionally, midfielder Misael Dominguez was sent to Necaxa, forward Ramiro Carrera was transferred to Atlético de San Luis, and defender Jordan Silva was sent back to his native Argentina to play for Atlético Tucumán.

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Amelia Jhon

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