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Losing Liga MX to America shows Cruz Azul has neglected its youth ranks

La Maquina's meteoric rise from underachiever to title contender was stalled by young talents like Edson Álvarez and Diego Lainez.
17 Dic 2018 – 01:24 PM EST
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Promising winger Roberto Alvarado is not a product of "La Noria". Crédito: Mexsport.

It should not be normal for such a powerhouse like Cruz Azul to make it to the Liga MX finals with just one starter coming through its own grassroot levels. And that was Julio Cesar Dominguez, who is now well past his thirties.

Roberto Alvarado, the skilfull winger who has made the most of his first tournament at Cruz Azul by earning call-ups to Mexico's national team, was brought to La Noria training camp from Necaxa. He actually proves that the team got improved by means of a sound policy of signings including Pablo Aguilar and Elias Hernandez.

Reaching the last stage so quickly of course must be seen as a huge achievement for sporting director Ricardo Pelaez. However, the lackluster and disappointing way in which Cruz Azul lost to America also proves that money is not enough at trying to lift the trophies that matter.

In stark contrast to the side managed by Pedro Caixinha, the 'Eagles' fielded a couple of bright lads who already have two years plying their trade at Mexico's top-flight: Edson Alvarez and Diego Lainez.

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It is not that Cruz Azul lacks a youth structure. Last Friday, in Vigo, north of Spain, the Mexican centre-back Nestor Araujo was found spearheading Celta's defensive line during the goalless draw against Leganes in one of the world's most demanding soccer leagues: La Liga.

However, terrible choices made at La Noria caused Araujo's early exit from the club that raised him as a footballer. Javier Aquino did not quite triumph in Spain during his brief spell at Villarreal, but instead of coming back home to Cruz Azul, he was lured by Tigres and is now one of Liga MX's top guns.

Reaching the Apertura 2018 finals is but the first step towards full recovery. Cruz Azul badly needs homegrown talent able to put up a real fight when it comes to now-or-never situations. Players who feel the blue shirt as a second skin are those who wear it competitively when they are mere kids.

It is now time for a side like Cruz Azul to pump young and blue blood again.

RELACIONADOS:AméricaCruz AzulMexico