Every soccer fan has a team they immediately think of when it comes to a club that always seems to mess up just when things are going their way. Who knows, maybe it’s the team you support.
However, spare a thought for Liga MX side Cruz Azul, whose ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is so legendary in Mexico — they have lost the last six Liga MX finals they have appeared in since their last title in 1997 — that their name has long been a literal byword for failure, so much so that it has now inspired a song by a famous Mexican singer entitled “I Cruz Azuled it with you.”
The verb “cruzazulear” (“to Cruz Azul”) is already on its way to being formalised in the Spanish language. The Mexican Academy of Language defines it as a neologism meaning “the act of losing a game after victory is practically assured” while in October of this year the Royal Spanish Academy has added the verb to its word observatory, which notes words that are not yet in the dictionary but are gaining wider acceptance.
Back in February, Cruz Azul appeared in ESPN FC’s Soccer Misery Index of clubs that just seem to continually let their fans down. While other fallen giants such as Hamburg, Botafogo and Manchester United also appear on that list, none of them have inspired recognised words or popular songs based on their failings.
The club’s long-suffering fans endured two more crushing blows in recent weeks. Sure, the team’s defeat by MLS side LAFC in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League (with Mexico’s own Carlos Vela scoring in the 2-1 win) was just a regular disappointment for the Mexico City-based club. But, even by Cruz Azul’s standards, what happened in the Liga MX semifinal second leg earlier this month defied belief.
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Cruz Azul had swept past a strong Tigres side in the quarterfinals and battered Pumas 4-0 in the first leg of their semifinal. Before the second leg, the prospect of a “cruzazuleada” (“a screw up”) was so remote that it wasn’t even really brought up. Surely such a big lead couldn’t be blown?
You can guess what happened next — Pumas mounted an improbable comeback to progress and leave Cruz Azul fans heart-broken and angry once again.
The almost unbelievable capitulation was the talk of Mexican sport, and provided the artistic inspiration for one love-sick Mexican singer.
Eden Munoz, singer in Calibre 50, croons “La Cruzazulie Contigo” (“I Cruz Azuled it with you”) in a song inspired by the club’s latest fiasco. The lyrics of the song, which has had almost 500,000 views on YouTube will be hard for any fan to listen to:
“I’m the king of the almost / I used to be skeptical, now I believe I’m cursed
I Cruz Azuled it, whatever / Another failure, crazy, it doesn’t hurt anymore
This situation makes me laugh / I always give my all and try to do it all right
Something always happens / And, again, I Cruz Azuled and I’m left alone.”
“Cruzazulear” has long been a popular term on social media for opposition fans. NFL games? NBA? You can bet you’ll find adverse results explained away by the sighting of a Cruz Azul shirt.
Cruz Azul isn’t exactly welcome at Mexico games, either. At the 2018 World Cup, Mexico fans tried giving Cruz Azul shirts to rival supporters to try to use the “curse” in their favour. It worked wonders against Germany and did the trick against South Korea. A loss for El Tri can always be explained away by the presence of a Cruz Azul shirt in the crowd.
Ahead of the 2018 Apertura final between Cruz Azul and Club America, Mexico City establishments offered to open up a fridge full of free beer if Cruz Azul lifted the trophy. They were confident that they wouldn’t be racking up any losses and rightfully so, with America winning the title.
So next time your club lets you down, just remember that there is always a set of supporters suffering more than you.