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Liga MX

Tigres: Mexico’s Modern Dynasty

Tigres Liga MX
MONTERREY, MEXICO - DECEMBER 10: Andre Pierre Gignac of Tigres lifts the trophy to celebrate after winning the second leg of the Torneo Apertura 2017 Liga MX final between Monterrey and Tigres UANL at BBVA Bancomer Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

They did again and this time it was against their fiercest rival, Tigres UANL defeated Los Rayados de Monterrey over two games 3-2 aggregate to wrap up the 2017 Apertura Championship of Liga MX.  It was their fourth Apertura final in a row and their third win in a row going back to 2015.

Winning a title three years in row hasn’t happened at the top level of Mexican football since Chivas of Guadalajara won four in a row from 1959-1962. Throw in back-to-back Campeon de Campeones trophies and it’s hard to argue with the fact that in the modern Mexican game Tigres has carved out a dynasty for themselves. For Tigres fans trophies are becoming as common as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West.

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The architect of the dynasty has been manager Ricardo Ferretti who returned to the club in 2010 for a third stint with the team. Ferretti lead Tigres to a Apertura title in 2011 their first in 29 years and since then the trophies have followed. Ferretti has pushed an attacking style of football which has translated to a goal differential of +183.

Defeating the team’s biggest rival with a Mexican title on the line may been Ferreti’s greatest accomplishment so far since his arrival back in 2010. Down 1-0 and 2-1 on aggregate in Monterrey’s stadium where they went undefeated during the season. Tigres rewarded their manager’s faith who said he wasn’t worried about their stadium because his team was the last one to win there. The come-from-behind victory to win the title is a testament to their manager’s confidence in their overall skill.

Ferretti’s ability to find talent is what has turned los Felinos into a modern dynasty. To shore up the defense one of Ferretti’s first signings in 2010 was a Brazilian center back Juninho. Since joining UANL, Juninho has turned himself into one of Liga MX’s best defenders. As team captain Juninho has been there to lift the slew of trophies that the team has collected.

Ferretti also brought in Nahuel Guzman to keep balls out of the net. Guzman an Argentinian national has been in net for them in all of their finals. It was his saves in the 2015 and 2016 Apertura finals that won the titles for Tigres when the matches were decided by penalties. Guzman was named Liga MX’s best goalkeeper in 2016.

But perhaps Ferretti’s best acquisition was the signing of French forward that has spearheaded Tigres attack since his arrival. Andre-Pierre Gignac has been the best player on Tigres and Liga MX since his arrival in 2015, Gignac has scored 66 goals over all competitions in his three years with the club. Gignac led the 2016 Apertura in goals scored and was awarded the Balon de Oro as Liga MX’s best player in 2016.

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With league and cup trophies in Mexico there is just one trophy left for Tigres to win, a continental trophy. In 2015 Tigres became just the third Mexican team to reach South America’s top final for club football, the Copa Libertadores. Tigres lost against Argentinian giants River Plate.

The last two years in a row Tigres has made it to the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League, the highest level for club soccer in North and Central America. In 2016 and 2017 they lost both finals to fellow Mexican clubs Club America and Pachuca. In 2018 Tigres will have a chance to finally lift the continental trophy, starting in February Tigres will begin their quest for continental glory.

With another trophy in hand as long as Tigres remains healthy it looks like there will be many more finals and trophies in their future, cementing Tigres as a modern day dynasty in Mexican football.

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