Think a soccer player’s career ends in his mid-thirties — if he’s lucky? Well, Cuauhtémoc Blanco is out to prove you wrong. The 41-year-old has made a return to Mexico’s top flight, making a substitute appearance for Puebla in their 1-1 draw with Veracruz on Saturday.
Blanco spent most of his career wth Club América, debuting in 1992 at age 19. He spent an incredible 15 seasons with Las Aguilas, scoring 135 goals and helping them win the clausura in 2005 and the CONCACAF Champions League in 2006. He went out on loan a few times, but he always returned to Mexico.
Until 2007, that is. That’s when Chicago Fire paid a handsome sum to tempt Blanco to Major League Soccer. He stayed for two seasons before heading out on loan to Santos Laguna. From that point on, Blanco remained in Mexico.
But playing for Santos in 2008 was the last time that Blanco experienced first-division soccer, spending his recent seasons in Mexico’s second tier. He considered retirement, but Puebla convinced him to sign on for one season, almost certainly his last as a player.
Speaking to reporters after the draw with Veracruz, Blanco said, “I’m happy and grateful to the Puebla fans and team owners who gave me this chance to come here…I lacked a goal to take the three points.”
Next time out, Puebla face Blanco’s former club, America, where the forward is something of a hero. Maybe he’ll mark the occasion by scoring against them.