Tigres UANL might be on some folks’ radar this year because one Jonathan Bornstein will be practicing his craft with the Monterrey squad this season.
Tigres is a team that has its heart (and wallet) in the right place, but haven’t really put it all together in a while. A long while. It’s been 30 years. Since that time, they have been relegated, promoted, lost a few finals, won a few Interligas, and have spent, spent, spent. Players are paid well, but haven't paid dividends.
They play at the Estadio Universitario, better known as el Volcan. In a league where sellouts are rare, it is rare if the Volcan is not sold out. Tigres fans are some of the most loyal and passionate in Mexico, and they generate one of the best atmospheres in Mexico or any other league.
And then there is the coach.
Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti is entering his 5th decade of involvement in the MFL. The Brazilian came to Mexico as a midfielder and played for a handful of teams in his 16 year career. He made the most hay with Pumas, winning 2 titles. The last goal of his career gave Pumas a victory in the 1991 Final vs. their crosstown rivals, America.
As a coach, Tuca has enjoyed success in the majority of his stops. He has won titles with Pumas and Chivas and was an assistant on Mexico’s 1994 World Cup team.
After winning the C09 title, his Pumas players shaved off his trademark mustache.
He is also great with a quote.
When Mexico’s national team was coachless, he was asked if he would like the position.
“The only post that holds no interest for me is the National team coach. If I was offered the street sweeper position, then maybe.”
“I have been in the mix 4 times, and even if I was the last coach on earth, I wouldn’t do it.”
Looking for Tigres reinforcements:
“We were looking for (Pumas midfielder) Leandro but we didn’t sign him. We also were looking for Messi, but they didn’t sell him even though he would just be a bench player. Oh well, we would have had a great bench.”
And of course, the quote that has the most legs:
“The Mexican National team is not adequately preparing for the World Cup. Why don’t they go play in Spain? Or England? Or Africa? Not these desperate Mickey Mouse* games that no one sees anymore but the poor paisanos who are over there (the US).”
*He called ‘em “partidos moleros” which has now been ingrained in the Mexican futbol lexicon — used to describe any useless, money grab excuse for a game against less than stellar opposition. Usually played in the US and scheduled on non Fifa-sanctioned matchdays. So you can imagine how much play the phrase gets every year.
Tigres has the players and the coach to figure in this year’s title hunt. History has shown, though, that they have had it all before, but never mounted any serious challenges. Will this season be different?
Bornstein will miss the first game because of an injury. He should be back next week.