10 things you didn’t know about Club America
Everything you need to know about City’s first opponents on our pre-season tour of the United States…
Pep Guardiola’s men face off against Club America on Wednesday July 20, with kick-off at NRG Stadium in Houston scheduled for 6.30pm local time (01.30am UK).
The match is available to watch live on CITY+, while you can also follow minute-by-minute updates on mancity.com and the official Man City app.
But what do you know of our Mexican adversaries? Check out ten interesting facts about Club America below…
Club America are one of the most successful teams in Mexico, as evidenced by their hugely impressive national record.
Their first league title came in 1924/25 when they were still operating as an amateur team but, after turning professional, their first Liga MX title came in 1965/66.
In total, they have won the domestic title 13 times, more than any other team in the country, while they are also one of only two teams to have never been relegated from the top flight.
Equally impressive is Wednesday’s opponents’ record when it comes to domestic cups, of which they have also won 13.
They have won the Copa Mexico more times than any other team (six), with their most recent success in 2019, the same year they won their sixth and final Campeon de Campeones title.
Club America has also won ten international titles – a continental record.
They have won the CONCACAF Champions Cup seven times, more than any other team, with other trophies in the form of the Copa Interamericana (two) and the CONCACAF Giants’ Cup (one) – which are now competitions dissolved.
This means that alongside Egyptian club Al Ahly, they hold the distinction of being the outright winners of their domestic league, cup competition and confederation!
Wednesday’s opponents have been known by several different nicknames over the years.
The most commonly used today is ‘Aguilas’, translating to Eagles, which was first coined in 1981 following a rebranding campaign.
However, during the early years of the Club they were also known as Estudiantes (students) having been created as a result of a merger between two different colleges.
Azul-Cremas, meaning “blue-creams”, was a nod to the team’s kit colors.
Home is where the heart is
Club America’s stadium has hosted some of football’s most iconic moments over the past 50 years.
As Mexico hosted the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, the Azteca Stadium saw some of the finest talents in the beautiful game grace its turf, including Pelé and Diego Maradona.
The stadium has hosted the final on every occasion, meaning it was the site of Carlos Alberto’s famous team goal against Italy which sealed a third World Cup title for Brazil’s iconic side. 1970 – widely regarded as one of the greatest international teams of all time.
It was Argentina’s turn 16 years later when they edged West Germany 3-2 in that year’s showpiece, but Albiceleste had also faced England there in the last eight – a match where Maradona lit up the tournament with a mesmerizing solo goal and the infamous ‘Hand of God’s Goal.
With a capacity of over 87,000, the stadium is sure to provide a truly memorable atmosphere during Wednesday’s pre-season friendly.
The Eagles also broke new ground in South America’s most famous tournament, the Copa Libertadores.
Alongside their rivals Guadalajara, they became the first Mexican team to take part in the Copa Libertadores in 1998.
Club America’s best performance in the competition was a semi-final, which they achieved three times in 2000, 2002 and 2008.
At the bar
Club America’s longest-serving manager is also their first, Rafael Garza Gutierrez.
One of the club’s founders, ‘Récord’, went on to enjoy seven separate stints in the seat – the first three as player-manager – while playing for Mexico in the first-ever World Cup in 1930.
Incredibly, there were 32 years between Gutierrez’s first (1917) and last (1949) stay in the dugout!
Cristobal Ortega is the record holder for Club America appearances, having played 711 times for the Eagles between 1974 and 1992.
Their top scorer, on the other hand, is Luis Roberto Alves, who found the net 190 times in two separate spells at the Azteca stadium in the 1980s and 1990s.
As for the current squad, Bruno Valdez is the club’s longest-serving player, with 217 times since he left Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno in July 2016.
However, it’s captain Guillermo Ochoa who has made the most appearances – with 399 to his name across two separate spells of 2004-2011 and 2019-present.
Between the sticks
The Club America captain is one of his national team’s most recognizable figures.
Having started at the Club in 2004, Ochoa spent eight seasons plying his trade in Europe with Ajaccio, Malaga, Granada and Standard Liège, before returning to the Azteca stadium in 2019.
He has also appeared in each of the last four World Cups for Mexico having made his international debut in 2005.
Ochoa made an astonishing 129 appearance for El Tri, meaning he currently has just one game to become the most capped goalkeeper in his country’s history.
Previous meetings with the City
Wednesday’s showdown won’t be the first time Manchester City and Club America have faced off.
The two teams first met in July 2010, with City claiming a penalty shootout victory after a 1-1 draw in Atlanta, Georgia.
Emmanuel Adebayor grabbed City’s goal that day, while it was Patrick Vieira who scored the decisive spot-kick in the Georgia Dome.
And our most recent encounter came the following pre-season, when goals from Ryan McGivern and Shaun Wright-Phillips handed Roberto Mancini’s men a 2-0 victory in San Francisco, Calif.
The Super Clasico
Mexico’s two most successful teams, Club America’s biggest rivals are Guadalajara, with their fixtures known as ‘El Super Clasico’.
They first locked horns in 1943, with Guadalajara – also known as Chivas – picking up a 1-0 win, but Wednesday’s opponents currently top the head-to-head results, with 88 wins against 77 for their rivals, while 79 games have ended. .
The two have also helped break new ground for Mexican football over the years, becoming the first two teams in the country to participate in the Copa Libertadores, while remaining the only teams never to be relegated from the top flight.
Beyond Guadalajara, the other rivals of Club America are: Nacional (Classico Capitalino) and Cruz Azul (Clasico Joven).