Toluca rejected a million-dollar offer from Cruz Azul for Cardozo
The former Toluca star tells ‘AS Mexico’ how, in two months, he won the hearts of Cruz Azul fans.
Former Toluca striker José Cardozo recounted to AS México how he won the hearts of the Cruz Azul fans during the brief time he spent at the club in 2001. He confessed that he felt proud to wear the Cementeros’ blue colours: “During the two months that I defended that shirt in the Copa Libertadores, I felt at home, very comfortable. I have great respect for the colors of Toluca, where I was very happy, but when they allowed me to join La Máquina as a reinforcement in the Libertadores and taste that atmosphere in the game against River Plate at the Azteca, I got goosebumps,” he related to AS Mexico this week.
Cardozo recalls that time in his career it as if it were yesterday - as if he was enjoying the almost 23 years that separate him from those moments with Cruz Azul. “It was something unimaginable,” he continued. “I came to a team which already had a great group of players, so it wasn’t easy. I joined along with Sergio Almaguer as reinforcements - we joined a squad with players of the stature of [Francisco] Palencia, [Héctor] Adomaitis, Don Juan, José Alberto Hernández, La Vitola, Víctor Gutiérrez, Conejo Pérez, Matute, Pinheiro... All of them great colleagues who helped me to click right away and compete with a huge team that only needed to put the seal on that great competition to raise the profile of Mexican soccer in a tournament like the Libertadores”.
Cardoza and the big four: América, Chivas, Pumas and Cruz Azul
Apart from his short time as a reinforcement at Cruz Azul, Cardoza explained why he never played for any of the big four clubs in the Liga MX. “I think I played in a team as big as them - the 10 titles which Toluca won in short tournaments speaks for itself. A lot of the time, greatness comes from winning titles. Quite often in Mexico, greatness is gauged by how many fans a club has, but Toluca has earned the right to be considered great as the side which has won the most short tournaments. At Cruz Azul, I adapted as soon as possible because I arrived with clear objectives. They welcomed me with open arms. I was accepted and welcomed into the locker room right from the first training session and I fitted in there. And as I say, it seemed that I had played there for a long time. I told myself, ‘Wow, how can you land in a perfect place like this?’ -they called on me just because that particular piece of the team was missing, they needed a No.9″.
While other players have buckled under the pressure after joining a club of the magnitude of Cruz Azul, Cardoza said he never felt under pressure during his time there. “I just fitted in right from the start. I felt comfortable at the club,” he explained.
Games which won the hearts of Cruzazulinos
“I played a total of eight games, they even gave me recognition. That is something which I value a lot - that in two months I could have earned the recognition of great fans like Cruz Azul’s. I even know that they made an offer to sign me on a permanent basis, but Toluca wouldn’t sell me; also I didn’t push for it to happen. A deal didn’t happen and I was happy to stay on with Toluca, so everything turned out great”.
Offers from other clubs
“América and Tigres also made offers but no deal was done. Toluca was never interested in selling me, there was never a plan for that”.
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