Omar Gonzalez, Rafael Marquez light up Twitter as Liga MX Clausura nears
In the new year, there's still a little time before the Liga MX Clausura season begins, so fans are biding their time speculating on social media about what drama the league will offer this year.
New player signings are always a topic of interest, as fans scrutinize the available information to guess if a new acquisition will be a success or not. Perhaps no player signing made a bigger splash than Omar Gonzalez, the former Major League Soccer player newly signed as a defender to Pachuca.
However, it wasn't the credentials of Gonzalez (though he has World Cup experience and a LA Galaxy MLS Cup MVP to his credit) that garnered as much attention as did the manner in which the club unveiled Gonzalez at their official announcement.
The 6-foot-5 Gonzalez, in costume, is a near-match for original Darth Vader actor David Prowse, who is only an inch taller. The creative unveiling of Gonzalez, coupled with the popularity of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, made the player one of the top trending topics on Twitter and was featured in news clips around the world.
The sudden fame of his presentation aside, Gonzalez seems to be adjusting to his new assignment with Pachuca, at least, if this picture of his daughter in full Tuzos regalia is anything to go by.
Another popular player who returns to Liga MX this year is Rafael Marquez. In a bit of a nostalgic bookend to his impressive career as a player, he had returned to his boyhood club, Atlas.
Many are curious as to how much Marquez has to offer as a player still, and whether it's enough to make Atlas a title contender again.
As far as titles go, no Liga MX organization has won more than Club America, but that 13th title is proving both elusive and troublesome. Coach Ignacio Ambriz is on thin ice even before the season starts because he failed to lead the team to any sort of title last season. A repeat of that will no doubt push him out of the club.
Pushing to bolster their player roster, Club America have reportedly decided that striker Radamel Falcao, who has struggled in England with Chelsea, would be ideal for their club.
However, the plot thickens as apparently Falcao is also considering offers from MLS, specifically from the Columbus Crew, who reached MLS Cup last year, but fell short of the championship.
Whether with Falcao or another signing, the fortunes of the team that other fans love to hate will be followed closely in the new season. What Club America no doubt hope to emulate with Falcao (or another signing) is the success Tigres UANL have had with their French striker, Andre-Pierre Gignac. Gignac's career was revitalized with Tigres as he led the club to the Liga MX title last season.
No doubt, Gignac hopes to make a splash again this Clausura season, and he certainly began the year with a literal splash, jumping from the roof of his house in Mexico into the pool of the residence.
While viewing that moment may have given more than a few Tigres fans heart palpitations of anxiety in case their star injured himself, Gignac's tweet has nearly 5,000 likes as supporters cheered the risk-taking striker.
Even as Liga MX fans gear up for a new season, many keep one eye on compatriots abroad as well. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez has settled in at Bayer Leverkusen and is doing well in Germany, but recent speculation swirls around the status of midfielder Hector Herrera.
Herrera has proved himself at FC Porto to the point where the team counts on him as their captain. It's no wonder, when Herrera produces goals like this recent sizzler.
Of course, that sort of skill attracts attention from bigger teams, and the rumors are that Herrera may go to Italy to join Napoli or perhaps end up in England or Spain. Nothing of the sort may happen, of course, but that doesn't stop the speculation on social media.
Napoli keeping an eye on Héctor Herrera, according to reports in Italy. The Italian giants could pay a €40M clause. https://t.co/d70CAqFlVC- ⚽Selección Mexicana⚽ (@MexicoStats_Tri) December 29, 2015
All in all, 2016 is shaping up to be another busy year for Mexican fans of the beautiful game. There's always the elation of victory and championships, the heartbreak of defeat and relegation and the intrigue of player transfers to keep everyone amused by the real-life telenovela of the sport.
Andrea Canales covers both Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter @soccercanales.