Tigres, Monterrey are Mexico's top two teams - Andre-Pierre Gignac
MONTERREY -- France international Andre-Pierre Gignac believes Tigres belong at the top of the Mexican game, and that the CONCACAF Champions League final against city rival Monterrey pits Liga MX's two best teams.
Liga MX's "big four" is often talked about and refers to traditional clubs Chivas, America, Cruz Azul and Pumas, the last three of which are from Mexico City.
"When they talk of the four big teams, they don't talk about Tigres," said Gignac in an interview with ESPN's Futbol Picante. "I respect America a lot, Chivas a lot, Pumas and Cruz Azul, there's no doubt about that."
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"But what've they done in the last 10 years, aside from America? Today, which are the two best teams in Mexico? They are from Monterrey."
Tigres are 1-0 down from last week's first leg against Rayados, but go into Wednesday's second leg at Monterrey's Estadio BBVA Bancomer in the knowledge that Gignac is now fully fit after a spell out injured.
"He played 90 minutes against Puebla [last weekend], he's infinitely improved his physical state and he's ready to be taken into consideration tomorrow from the start," said Tigres coach Ricardo"Tuca" Ferretti in a news conference on Tuesday.
Gignac told ESPN that he is ready to face Monterrey in the 120th Clasico Regio, but that Ferretti has "absolute power" over whether he starts in a game he believes will be tricky.
"They are difficult games. The return is going to be an even game like the first one," said Gignac.
Monterrey striker Rogelio Funes Mori told reporters that the intense rivalry between the two Nuevo Leon rivals compares to River Plate against Boca Juniors in terms of passion.
"Here in Nuevo Leon everything stops," said the former River Plate forward. "The Clasico Regio doesn't have any reason to envy River versus Boca. I think both have a lot of passion and it produces a lot of adrenaline in people."
Tigres' Argentine midfielder Guido Pizarro agreed, but stressed that there is a healthier atmosphere in a Clasico Regio.
"There's a lot of passion here, but not the craziness, the aggressiveness that there is in Argentina," said Pizarro. "At times it gets dangerous and hopefully it doesn't reach that point [in Mexico]."