El Tri, Chicago Fire Legend Cuauhtémoc Blanco Retires


It looks like someone else will need to pick up the Cuauhtemiña. On Tuesday night its name sake Cuauhtémoc Blanco, the legend of both Mexican club football and El Tri, played his last match. Although he did not whip out his world famous trick, where he would jump between two defenders with the ball locked between his feet, he did go out a winner with his club side Puebla beating Chivas da Guadalajara 2-0 in the Copa MX.

Blanco, whose storied career spans over two decades, spent the majority of his footballing career with Club America. Over the course of three terms with America (1992-1997,1998-1999, and 2002-2007,) he would register over 153 goals, the second-highest mark in the club’s history. He would also spend time in Mexican soccer with BUAP (2013-2014,) Dorados (2012) Irapuato (2010-2011,) Necaxa (1997-1998,) Veracruz (2004 and 2010,) Santos Laguna (2008,) and Puebla (2014-2015). He also spent some time in La Liga with Real Valladolid, but scored just three goals in 25 appearances.

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Through his playing career in the Mexican Primera Division would win one Liga MX title (the Clausura with America in 2005,) and two Copa MX titles (Dorados-Apertura 2012 and Puebla). He would also be named the MVP of Liga MX four times (1997–1998, 2004–2005, 2005–2006, and 2006–2007) and won the Golden Boot in 1998.

In addition to his playing career in Mexico and Spain, Blanco was a prominent figure in Major League Soccer during the late 2000’s. The second-highest player in league history at the time, next to only David Beckham, Blanco made a name for himself with the Chicago Fire scoring 16 goals in 48 appearances. He would be named the MVP of the 2008 MLS All-Star Game and would win Goal of the Year in 2007 with a cracking strike against Real Salt Lake:

While he might be remembered fondly in Chicago, he was the foil for the rest of the United States while playing for the Mexican national team. Blanco made over 120 appearances with Mexico and is the third-highest soccer in Mexican men’s national team history with 39 goals.

He was a member of El Tri’s 1998. 2002, and 2010 World Cup squads and became the first-ever Mexican national team player to score in three World Cups. He would also win two Gold Cups (1996 and 1998,) the 1998 FIFA Confederations Cup and helped guide Mexico to a third-place showing at the 2007 Copa America.