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Cruz Azul has trebled Chivas' spending, and results suggest it's paying off

Orbelin Pineda dribbles the ball during Cruz Azul's Liga MX match against Puebla.
Orbelin Pineda was Cruz Azul's biggest signing ahead of the Clausura.

To overhaul the squad last season and come out on top over rivals Chivas, Cruz Azul made the decision to invest three times the amount of money, resulting in the Mexico City squad gaining the upper hand on its Pacific coast rivals in Liga MX.

Specifically, Cruz Azul has invested just over $45 million in the past two half-year tournaments. Some 14 players in total have arrived; 11 via acquisitions and three on loans. This change in transfer policy is in large part due to the arrival of Ricardo Pelaez to the sports management department at Cruz Azul. As a result of his hire, manager Pedro Caixinha's requests for new players have been heard, resulting in this initial success.

From the start, the team signed six players: Ivan Marcone ($4m), Elias Hernandez ($6m), Igor Lichnovsky ($2m), Roberto Alvarado ($2.5m), Pablo Aguilar ($2m), Milton Caraglio ($6m) and Antonio Sanchez ($250,000). There were an additional three signings that didn't involve a transfer fee: Martin Zuniga, Andres Renteria and Misael Dominguez.

In total, Cruz Azul's first transfer window under Pelaez saw the club spend nearly $25m. But the spending didn't stop there.

For the Clausura 2019, Pelaez has brought on an additional four players to the tune of $20m: Orbelin Pineda ($13m), Jonathan Rodriguez ($4m), Alexis Gutierrez ($400,000) and Peruvian Yoshimar Yotun ($4m).

Comparatively, Chivas were miserly with their funds, to the tune of just $18.5m over the same time period. During the Clausura 2018, the team only bought one player (goalkeeper Raul Gudino, $1m). All the other reinforcements were returning after the completion of their loans: Jorge "Chaton" Enriquez, Mario de Luna, Alejandro Zendejas and Miguel Angel Ponce.

Unsurprisingly, Chivas' refusal to open their wallet resulted in the team missing three tournaments without making it to the Liguilla.

However, Chivas' tune seems to have changed, as both manager Jose Cardozo and the club hierarchy are finished with being on the outside of the Liga MX playoffs looking in. To do this, they've integrated a number of new players: Luis Madrigal on loan; Alejandro Mayorga, Ronaldo Cisneros and Carlos Villanueva returning from loans; and purchases of Alexis Vega ($7.9m), Dieter Villalpando ($3m), Hiram Mier ($2m), Jesus Molina ($3m) and Tony Alfaro ($250,000).

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