Mexican clubs dominate the region of North and Central America. Teams from the country have continually won the CONCACAF Champions League from 2006 to 2021. The hegemony of the Mexican teams was interrupted in 2022 by the American Seattle Sounders.
The top division of football in the country is called Liga MX. The 18 teams comprise four clubs that are referred to in the media space as the “Big Four”: America, Cruz Azul, Guadalajara, and UNAM (Universidad Nacional). Outside the Big Four, Toluca and Leon are highly popular with fans. The following text highlights Mexico’s most successful teams as well as the country’s main derbies.
Mexican football clubs are known for their results. Even online betting sites for ipl offer betting on matches taking place in Latin America. The odds aren’t any lower than in the Indian premier league.
América is one of the oldest clubs in Mexico. They were founded in 1916 and are based in Mexico City, the capital. They have an eagle on their coat of arms, which is the club’s mascot. The team plays its home games at the legendary Azteca Stadium.
America’s main achievements:
- 7 CONCACAF Champions League victories;
- several World Club Championships;
- 13 Mexican Cup finals won;
- 13 Mexican Clausura titles.
The club is considered one of the founding members of the country’s top football division. For a long time, the rivalry between América and Guadalajara, Mexico’s most popular team, was seen as a veritable war.
The Mexican football stars Guillermo Ochoa, Miguel Luyun, Cuatemoc Blanco, and Miguel Alvarez all played for Amerika. Latin Americans Ivan Zamorano and Cristian Benitez spent productive years of their careers here.
In December 2013, Mexican newspaper Reforma published a study claiming that the Americas are liked by around 25% of all fans in the country. The club was also voted as the most hated team in Mexico, with around 41% of respondents giving this assessment. The team is second only to Corinthians of Brazil and Boca Juniors of Argentina in the number of supporters among clubs in both Americas.
Guadalajara is the second most popular team in Mexico. Only this side and rival AC América have never been eliminated from the top flight. A feature of Guadalajara is a ban on foreign players. The club has a strong football school, whose graduates include Javier Hernández “Chicharito,” Carlos Salcedo, and Carlos Vela. Guadalajara’s founders were originally from France, which is why the club’s colors echo the French flag (blue, red, and white). The team’s nickname is Chivas (goats).
Guadalajara is the most successful Mexican club on the international stage: they have reached the Libertadores Cup final once and the semi-finals twice. In 2020. Forbes conducted a study that ranked Guadalajara as the most valuable Mexican club. The brand value is $311 million – the 6th position on the North American continent.
Guadalajara plays in a modern stadium that opened in 2010. Today, the arena is called Estadio Chivas. The opening match at the venue was a friendly between Guadalajara and Manchester United. The match ended in a 3-2 win for the Mexicans, with Javier Hernández’s Chicharito being the first man to score in the arena.
UNAM, known as the Pumas or National University team, is the second most popular team in metropolitan Mexico City. The team plays its home games at the Stadio Olimpico Universitario. The Pumas football school produced such star players as Eduardo Herrera, Jesus Gallardo, and Jorge Campos.
UNAM was founded in 1954 and initially played in amateur student leagues. The team colors are sky gold. This coloring is a tribute to the University of Notre Dame coaches who instilled in the Pumas an American style of play.
The Olimpico Universitario stadium can seat 72,000 spectators and is situated next door to the student campus. Interestingly, the arena bowl, in parallel with the players’ training sessions, is used by the university’s physical education students. In 1968 the Universitario Olimpico was the main arena for the Mexico City Summer Olympics.
In the first decade of the 21st century, UNAM enjoyed a boom and regularly won trophies. After 2011, the club fell on hard times as the owners began to sell key players to cover their debts. Today Pumas are runners-up in the middle of Mexican football. In the 2021-2022 season, the team and Mexico City finished seventh in the table. Despite their lack of titles, the student club remains in the top four of the most popular teams in the country.
Cruz Azul is another football club from Mexico City. They were originally based in Hidalgo but quickly relocated to the capital. The team’s traditional colors are blue and red, with an emphasis on the blue of the uniform.
Cruz Azul’s main achievements:
- Nine wins in the Mexican national championship;
- 6 CONCACAF Champions League titles;
- first CONCACAF club to reach the final of the Libertadores Cup.
According to the International Federation of Football History 2014, Cruz Azul is ranked 99th among the strongest clubs on the planet. In the CONCACAF zone, the team is in third place. In terms of the number of fans in Mexico City, the brand is second to America but seriously outclasses UNAM’s student body.
The team has played in the Ciudad de Los Deportes arena for more than two decades but moved to the legendary Azteca in 2018. Today, Cruz Azul shares Mexico’s main stadium with the Americas. There is a clause in the management’s plans to build a new arena, but for now, the intention remains only on paper.
Since the club’s inception, Cruz Azul’s fan base has consisted of cement factory workers. The team’s popularity peaked in the 1970s when the Blues won six national trophies. “Cruz Azul is considered the big underdog in Mexican football: from 1997 to 2021; the team failed to win any domestic championship. Cruz Azul’s main rival is the metropolitan team América.
Deportivo Toluca is not in the big four, but in the number of wins in the national championship (10), it is second only to Nacional America and Guadalajara. The club has two Mexican Cups and two CONCACAF Champions League titles to its credit.
In 2022, the team boasts a fan base of approximately 4 million, which is the 7th highest in the country. Toluca plays their home games in the Estadio Nemesio Dias arena, with a capacity of around 27,000. In the Clausura 2022, the team sits in a modest 15th place.
Mexico’s major derbies
There are two types of derbies in the country: dominance in the city and supremacy in all of Mexico. Here are the top 5 hotly contested clashes in the country’s top flight:
- Young derby. The battle between two of the capital city’s most popular and hated teams, America and Cruz Azul, is always in the spotlight for fans. The heat of the clash is heightened by the fact that the teams share the Azteca Stadium.
- Capital city derby. Another battle for Mexico City – the clash between America and UNAM. The statistics are not in favor of the students: America has won about half as many face-offs.
- Tapatio Classico. “Los Tapatios” is the term for the people living in Guadalajara. The two most popular clubs in the city are Chivas Guadalajara and Atlas. Chivas has 11 national championships to their name, while Atlas has just one. It seems unequal, but Guadalajara fans know that their club’s biggest defeat in history came at the hands of Atlas (0-18).
- Clásico de Regiomontana. This is a clash of teams from the city of Monterrey. The opponents are Monterrey and Tigres. During each derby, the third most populous city in Mexico shuts down all infrastructure. Only members of the opposing fan groups take to the streets. The Monterrey side has ousted the metropolitan clubs from the Mexican throne over the last ten years. While Monterrey has won the CONCACAF Champions League three times, the Tigres have qualified for the Libertadores Cup final.
- National Classico. Mexico’s main derby is the meeting between America and Guadalajara. These teams remain the most successful football brands in Mexican history. Unsurprisingly, every derby broadcast on national television smashes the popularity record.
Mexican clubs are in the limelight all the time. Teams from the country are considered the strongest in North and Central America, competing successfully with the Latin American giants. The best indicator of championship strength is the national team’s performance. Mexico regularly emerges from the group stage at World Cups.