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Club America Fans Still Love Cuauhtemoc Blanco

Estadio Azteca in Mexico City is full of hooligans. Fans of Club America, which plays its home games at Azteca, do not particularly care about the concept of “boundaries” or “crossing the line.” They throw bags of urine (among other things) at people.

However, it appears that C.A. fans still have a soft spot for Cuauhtemoc Blanco, the 42-year-old beer-bellied attacking mid who spent most of his career with the club. Hostility is the name of the game in Azteca, but when Blanco's new team, Puebla, visited last month, and Blanco (the second-leading-scorer in C.A. history) was inserted late in the contest, there was nothing but love from the crowd, who gave him a spine-tingling standing ovation.

Some players have a special connection to a single club. Steven Gerrard and Liverpool, Messi and Barcelona, and Rooney and Manchester United are all examples. Sometimes, though, that player, for whatever reason, leaves the club. And sometimes he leaves for a team in the same league and has to come back. How do the fans react in that situation? Well, ask Frank Lampard, for one. The former Chelsea great didn’t exactly receive the hero’s welcome he probably deserved when he returned to his old stomping grounds.

Photo: @alrightpresh | Twitter

Lots of legends return to their former clubs to find that their heroic deeds of the past have been replaced by messy memories of their departures.

A player leaving a club he played for for a long time can make fans kind of feel like they are being dumped by a significant other. It hurts, and there’s not really any way to reconcile the pain without stooping to insanely low levels and telling the player you don’t love them anymore.

So what makes the Blanco situation different? Why do C.A. fans still love him and cheer when he gets put into games — even when he’s playing against America?

Maybe he’s just a lovable dude, but ultimately the reason doesn’t matter. It’s just nice to see fans actually embracing a player after he’s left, and thanking him for his service rather than resorting to vitriol and hate.

It’s worth noting here that he game was actually tense. It was knotted 0-0 when Blanco entered in the 77th minute. Club America is about a jillion times better than Puebla, so nobody would have faulted the fans for being a little tense. Instead they opened their hearts and let Blanco in, and by extension the rest of us, with their generosity.

I bet the reaction would have been a lot different if he had scored though.


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