Cruz Azul hires Paco Jemez as manager

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The former Granada manager will become the first Spanish coach to lead the Mexico City club, which is looking to return to the playoffs after missing out several seasons in a row.

Spanish coach Paco Jemez will take over at Cruz Azul, the Mexico City-based team announced Monday.

Jemez was fired after just six matches in charge of Granada, but the capital club believes he'll have more success in Liga MX, where Cruz Azul has failed to make the postseason ever season since the 2014 Clausura.

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"Francisco Jemez Martin, better known as Paco Jemez, finally has arrived at an agreement with the directors to manager Cruz Azul FC ahead of the Clausura 2017-Apertura 2017 season," the team wrote in a statement. "The ex-coach of Rayo Vallecano and Granada CF became the best option in accordance with his plan to work with the first team as well as the youth teams of the club, thanks to the qualities and experience he has as a manager. Paco Jemez becomes the first Spanish manager to direct the club."

Jemez steps in for Tomas Boy, who was in charge of the team between Oct. 2, 2015 and Oct. 22, 2016 and failed to take the team to the postseason. Cruz Azul is one of Mexico's four "grandes," the biggest teams in the league and historically the most successful. La Maquina were the only team in the quartet that missed out on the Liguilla this season.

The mutual interest between the Spaniard and the club after Boy's departure was no secret, with Jemez giving multiple interviews expressing interest in the job throughout November and the club's official social media outlets often sharing those articles, while club directors said a deal was close but not yet sealed. Monday's announcement confirms that the 46-year-old will indeed take over.

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