The president of Mexico has a message for the new champion of Liga MX, but his words for the runner-up may be even more significant.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known by his initials AMLO, recently was sworn in as Mexico's head of state. The president sent a tweet Sunday night after Club America's 2-0 victory over Cruz Azul with words for both teams.
"Congratulations to America; Encouragement to Cruz Azul. 'He who perseveres, achieves.'" he wrote.
Felicitaciones al América; ánimo al Cruz Azul. «El que persevera, alcanza».— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) December 17, 2018
While the words may feel empty now for supporters of Cruz Azul, which won its last title in 1997 and has fallen short in six finals since then, it's worth remembering who they're coming from. AMLO, the former mayor of Mexico City, had two failed presidential runs before his overwhelming victory this summer with his Morena party.
After a scoreless first leg, the teams entered the halftime break without either making a breakthrough. One finally came in the 51st minute when Oribe Peralta picked the pocket of Ivan Marcone after a poor pass from goalkeeper Jesus Corona on a goal kick. Peralta found Edson Alvarez who put his shot from outside the box into Corona's net. Alvarez added a second in the 90th minute to put a cherry on top of America's record 13th title win.
Ana Gabriela Guevara, the director of Mexico's national commission for sport CONADE, said last week that AMLO had been invited to give the trophy to the winner. However, the president said he would be returning from his ranch in Chiapas and wouldn't be able to present the champion with their award. Peralta and Paul Aguilar lifted the trophy without an assist from the 65-year-old.
Both teams that took part in the Apertura final are owned by companies that play a large role in Mexican life, with America run by television giant Televisa and Cruz Azul run by a cement company of the same name.
While America fans are set to celebrate deep into the night, AMLO may already be off to sleep. He became known for his predawn news conferences and has once again taken up the practice of daily morning briefings after assuming the presidency.