Former Santos Laguna manager Pedro Caixinha will take over at Cruz Azul, the Mexico City club announced Tuesday.
Most recently at Rangers in Scotland, Caixinha had the most success of his managerial career leading Santos to the Clausura 2015 title before leaving abruptly in the following tournament. From there, the Portuguese tactician took the reins at Quatari club Al-Gharafa, then moved to Rangers. Terms of the contract were not announced.
Cruz Azul recently snapped a six-tournament postseason drought with a Liguilla appearance but failed to score against crosstown rival Club America in either leg of the quarterfinals and was eliminated because of America's better regular-season finish. That led the club and Spanish coach Paco Jemez to mutually part ways, clearing the path for Caixinha to return to Mexico.
"Cruz Azul Futbol Club and the coach Pedro Caixinha have arrived at a contractual agreement to direct Los Celestes. La Maquina will be the sixt team he will coach during his professional career," a club news release read.
The team is one of Mexico's four historic 'grandes', the label put on the club's that historically have had the most success. That hasn't been the case in recent years, though. The team's last domestic title came in 1997, though it also won the 2013–14 CONCACAF Champions League. Jemez boosted the club to some extent but Caixinha still will have his work cut out for him if the goal is a championship. His work at Santos, where he took a team known for developing and selling young players, likely attracted Cruz Azul's leadership, with the club relying heavily on foreign imports in recent seasons.
His first task may be to convince goalkeeper Jesus Corona to stay in the capital or replace him. The Mexico international reportedly is the object of affection from Chivas and may be tempted to close out his career in his hometown. Caixinha also has been linked with a move for center back Carlos Izquierdoz, who he coached at Santos Laguna.