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By ESPN Staff

Cuauhtemoc Blanco to leave Chicago Fire for Mexico

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico star Cuauhtemoc Blanco will leave the Chicago Fire and return home to rejoin second-division Veracruz.

In a statement on his Web site, Blanco said Thursday he will start playing again for Veracruz in January.

"We respect his desire to continue playing in Mexico during the MLS offseason and continue preparing for the 2010 World Cup, which is a top priority for him," Fire technical director Frank Klopas said in a statement. "We will continue our dialogue with his agent regarding Blanco playing for the Fire in the second half of the 2010 season and beyond."

The 36-year-old forward last played for Veracruz in 2004.

"I had a great experience in the MLS, where they treated me very well, but at this stage of my career there were some clubs from the Mexican league that wanted me to come home," Blanco said on his Web site. "I will start a new stage in Veracruz, a place where I used to play and I promised to come back."

Klopas said Blanco "remains focused" on winning the MLS Cup this year and is still "a valuable member" of the team.

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