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Aldo De Nigris said his late brother's spirit helped him along in the playoffs.

Monterrey forward Aldo De Nigris was dealt a blow before the Liguilla kicked off when older brother and former Monterrey star Antonio De Nigris died of heart problems in Greece.

While initially there weere fears that Aldo De Nigris would not be able to play, he insisted Antonio would not want him to miss a game.

Nearly three weeks later, Aldo De Nigris is a hero in Monterrey. De Nigris scored a goal in Monterrey's 2-1 win over Cruz Azul and helped Monterrey claim the Apertura 2009 championship.

He credited his late brother for the breakthrough.

"We went through some very difficult times," De Nigris told reporters after Sunday's game. "We picked up the character that he demonstrated, that he taught me. He was with me in this game, in all these games. I felt him on the field, his spirt and it showed on the scoreboard."

De Nigris scored four goals in Monterrey's run to the title, the third in club history. His goal on Sunday was particularly memorable. With the score tied 0-0, Humberto Suazo whipped a cross to De Nigris, who buried a header into the back of the net.

De Nigris tore off his jersey to reveal a shirt with Antonio's portrait on it.

Still, the moment and the victory were bittersweet, he said.

"Honestly, it was something undescribable," De Nigris said. "It's such a tremendous joy but difficult at the same time."

Ultimately, though, De Nigris said the feelings he went through during this playoff run won't subside anytime soon.

"My brother is my angel," he said, "and he will be with me my entire life."

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