Monterrey: The New Capital of Mexican Football

Has the city of Monterrey overtaken Guadalajara and Mexico City as the center of Mexican football?

From a purely economic perspective, Monterrey is one of the most affluent cities in not only Mexico, but all of Latin America. The city is a major business hub in the northeastern region of the country and is home to a number of domestic and international companies. Much like the economic influence the region has exerted on the rest of Mexico, the region’s clubs have demonstrated a parallel in the context of the nation’s football. The Monterrey Metropolitan Area has two football teams in the Liga MX, Club de Fútbol Monterrey, commonly as Rayados, and Tigres de UANL. The preeminence that both clubs have shown in both domestic and international competitions, coupled with their economic pull and big names, serves as evidence for the rise of Monterrey as the new capital of Mexican football.

Given the area’s significant wealth and recognition as one of Mexico’s most developed regions, perhaps the economic power that both Tigres and Monterrey have shown should be unsurprising. According to transfermarkt, Monterrey and Tigres have the squads with the highest market values in Liga MX. While Chivas and América, the historic powers of Mexican football, have expensive squads as well, in this context neither can match Rayados or Tigres.

With the likes of Gignac and Vargas in its ranks, Tigres boasts the most expensive squad in Liga MX.

This fact signals a shift toward the northern region of Mexico in the balance of the country’s footballing power. Monterrey has gained ground on the traditional hubs of power, Guadalajara and Mexico City, as the capital of Liga MX. Although economic strength and spending aren’t the only components that contribute to success on the pitch, their influence is unarguable.

This influence has been evident in the context of the clubs’ participation in both domestic and international competitions. In the past eight years, no other Mexican city has been involved in as many finals as Monterrey. The ascendancy of the city’s clubs has not been limited to the league in the Clausura and Apertura tournaments, but includes the CONCACAF Champions League, Copa MX, and Copa Libertadores.

Monterrey won three CONCACAF Champions League titles under Victor Manuel Vucetich.

Under manager Tuca Ferretti, Tigres has consolidated its position as one of the top teams in Mexico. In addition to their success in the league, Tigres won the Copa MX in 2014, reached the final of the Copa Libertadores, and reached the final of the CONCACAF Champions League on two occasions. Prior to Tigres’ dominance, Rayados had their own period of superiority from 2009 to 2013. Under the command of Victor Manuel Vucetich, they won two Apertura titles, an accomplishment they complemented with three CONCACAF Champions League titles.

Both Monterrey-based clubs have also been able to attract big names relative to other clubs in Liga MX. While América and Chivas may boast well-known names like Oribe Peralta and Alan Pulido, neither of those players can match the international pedigree of a player like André-Pierre Gignac. Players like Edwin Cardona, Carlos Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas, and Gignac have the recognition and international stature that players in other Mexican clubs simply do not. Little by little, the recruitment of these stars is not only improving the level of Liga MX, but further establishing Monterrey’s status as the seat of Mexican football.

As Liga MX fans have come to see, it has become customary for Monterrey’s clubs to not only attract the biggest names, but enjoy the most success. Should this trend continue, Monterrey’s status as the capital of Mexican football will become even harder to dispute.