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 lock horns with Club America on Wednesday 20 July, with kick-off at Houston’s NRG Stadium set for 18:30 local time (01:30 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 how much do you know about our Mexican opponents? Find out courtesy of ten interesting facts about Club America below…
Club America are one of Mexico’s most successful sides, as demonstrated by a hugely impressive domestic record.
Their first league title came in 1924/25 when they were still operating as an amateur outfit but, after turning professional, their first Liga MX title came in 1965/66.
In total, they have won the domestic title on 13 occasions, more than any other side in the country, while they are also one of only two teams to have never been relegated from the top flight.
Wednesday’s opponents’ record is equally impressive when it comes to domestic cups, of which they’ve also won 13.
They have won the Copa Mexico more times than any other side (six), with their most recent success coming in 2019, the same year that they won their sixth and final Campeon de Campeones title.
Club America have also won ten international titles – a continental record.
They have won the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup on seven occasions, more than any other side, with further silverware coming in the form of the Copa Interamericana (two) and the CONCACAF Giants Cup (one) – both of which are now disbanded competitions.
It means that, alongside Egyptian club Al Ahly, they hold the distinction of being the outright record winner of their national league, cup competition, and confederation!
Wednesday’s opponents have been known by a few different nicknames over the years.
The most commonly used today is ‘Aguilas’, translating to the Eagles, which was first coined in 1981 following a rebranding campaign.
However, during the Club’s early years, they were also known as Estudiantes (students) having been established as a merger between two different colleges.
Azul-Cremas, meaning ‘blue-creams’ meanwhile, was a nod to the team’s kit colours.
Home is where the heart is
Club America’s home stadium has played host to some of football’s most iconic moments over the past 50 years.
With Mexico hosting the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, the Azteca Stadium has seen some of the beautiful game’s greatest talents grace its turf, including both Pele and Diego Maradona.
The stadium hosted the final on each occasion, meaning it was the site of Carlos Alberto’s famous team goal against Italy which sealed a third World Cup title for the iconic Brazil side of 1970 – widely considered one of the greatest international outfits of all time.
It was Argentina’s turn 16 years later when they edged out West Germany 3-2 in that year’s showpiece, but Albiceleste had also played England there in the last eight – a match where Maradona lit up the tournament with a mesmeric solo goal and infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal.
With a capacity of over 87,000, the stadium is sure to provide a truly memorable atmosphere in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly.
The Eagles also broke new ground in South America’s most famous tournament – the Copa Libertadores.
Alongside rivals Guadalajara, they became the first Mexican side to compete in the Copa Libertadores in 1998.
Club America’s best showing in the competition has been a semi-final finish, something they’ve achieved on three occasions in 2000, 2002 and 2008.
At the helm
Club America’s longest serving manager is also their first, Rafael Garza Gutierrez.
One of the Club’s founders, ‘Récord’ would go on to enjoy seven separate spells in the hotseat – the first three as a player-manager – while also turning out for Mexico at the first ever World Cup in 1930.
Incredibly, there were 32 years between Gutierrez’s first (1917) and final (1949) time in the dugout!
Cristobal Ortega is Club America’s record appearances holder, turning out 711 times for the Eagles’ between 1974 and 1992.
Their leading scorer on the other hand is Luis Roberto Alves, who found the net 190 times across two separate spells at the Azteca Stadium in the 1980s and 1990s.
In terms of the current squad, Bruno Valdez is the club’s longest serving player, featuring 217 times since he made the switch from 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 from 2004-2011 and 2019-present.
On the subject of Ochoa…
Between the sticks
Club America’s captain is one of his national team’s most recognisable figures.
After starting out at the Club in 2004, Ochoa spent eight seasons plying his trade in Europe at Ajaccio, Malaga, Granada and Standard Liege, before returning to the Azteca Stadium in 2019.
He’s also featured at each of the last four World Cups for Mexico after making his full international debut in 2005.
Ochoa has made an astonishing 129 appearance for El Tri, meaning he currently sits just one match shy of becoming the most capped goalkeeper in his nation’s history.
Previous meetings with City
Wednesday’s showdown won’t be the first time that Manchester City and Club America have faced each other.
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 would grab City’s goal that day, while it was Patrick Vieira who would slot home the deciding spot kick at 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, California.
El Super Clasico
The two most successful sides in Mexico, Club America’s biggest rivals are Guadalajara, with their encounters known as ‘El Super Clasico’.
They first locked horns in 1943, with Guadalajara – also known as Chivas – claiming a 1-0 win but Wednesday’s opponents currently lead the head-to-head results, with 88 wins to their rivals’ 77, while 79 matches have ended all square.
Both have also helped to break new ground for Mexican football over the years, becoming the first two sides from the country to compete in the Copa Libertadores, while they remain the only teams to have never been relegated from the top flight.
Beyond Guadalajara, Club America’s other rivals are: Nacional (Classico Capitalino) and Cruz Azul (Clasico Joven).