Paco Jemez has departed as Cruz Azul manager after one year in charge, the team announced Monday.
The Spanish coach arrived in Mexico City in November 2016, taking charge of Cruz Azul in the 2017 Clausura. That tournament saw La Maquina finish in 11th with 21 points, extending their long postseason drought.
This year, the team got off to a long undefeated start and edged into the Liguilla for the first time since the 2014 Clausura. Drawn with crosstown rival Club America, Cruz Azul played to a scoreless draw in both legs of the quarterfinal and was eliminated because of America's better regular-season finish.
Jemez's contract was up and will not be renewed, though it's unclear if the manager, the club or both elected to make that decision.
"Prof. Francisco Jemez's performance was satisfactory and the club appreciates the effort of his staff," a club news release read. "We them wish the best of success and express our thanks for contributing professionally with the club."
Rumors have linked Cruz Azul – one of Mexico's four "grandes" as a well-supported and historically successful team – with ex-Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha, who previously coached in Mexico at Santos Laguna. No matter who is brought in, club legend and all-time top scorer Carlos Hermosillo says more than a coaching change is needed to return the club to its former glory.
"This is the reflection of what Cruz Azul has been this season. We're not fooling ourselves." Hermosillo said after the Liguilla elimination.
"There were opportunities. That's why we're not upset with Paco Jemez but rather with the whole structure, with the president Billy Alvarez.
"Hopefully he creates a system where there's a dedication to signing top-quality players."