Mexican soccer legend Cuauhtémoc Blanco will now try to translate his success into politics as he prepares his bid for mayor in the city of Cuernavaca – the capital and largest city in the state of Morelos, an hour’s drive away from Mexico City.
The 42-year-old, still actively played with Puebla in Mexico’s Liga MX, and will now wear the jersey of Mexico’s Social Democratic Party (PSD) after a long career in soccer clubs such as América, Real Valladolid, Veracruz, and the Chicago Fire. Blanco also made 120 appearances for the Mexican national soccer team, scoring 39 goals.
Blanco presented his candidacy Thursday, but according to Mexican newspaper El Universal, his campaign could face some major obstacles. For example, to be able to run, the law says Blanco should have resided in the state of Morelos for 10 years and have lived in the municipality of Cuernavaca for five. According to the report, constitutional technicalities like these could leave Blanco warming the bench.
However, the Mexican soccer star presented a document that proves his Cuernavaca residency. He also took the opportunity to accuse former mayor, Manuel Martínez, of “stealing everything.”
The party’s president told Milenio Noticias he was also considering reaching out to other soccer stars such as former Real Madrid star Hugo Sánchez so they could join the campaign and raise PSD’s profile.
The opposition has fiercely criticized the PSD for incorporating Blanco into their ranks and have denounced it as a desperate measure to attract votes.
But Blanco is no stranger to controversy and criticism. Over the course of his 23-year career, Blanco has faced numerous scandals, ranging from publicly insulting other nations to punching ESPN sports anchor David Faitelson, as well as his physical altercations with other players and inciting fans quite literally to riot.
In 2004, he played a key role in one of most notorious moments in the history of Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, infighting a brawl at the end of Club América’s loss to Brazilian club São Caetano:
Although beloved by Mexicans, Blanco has always been criticized and mocked for being an excellent actor on the field. He was a master at faking fouls and deceiving the referee to get much-needed penalty kicks – a skill that will come in handy as he enters political life.
Blanco was also known for bringing unlikely magic to Mexican soccer. The man was able to control the ball with both his hump and his butt. Moreover, fans went wild whenever he performed his legendary signature cuautemiña (a move where Blanco would hold the ball with his two feet and jump past defenders).
Whether you like him or hate him, as a candidate one thing is for sure: if Blanco shows the same creative brilliance at the ballot box that on the field, he will win by a landslide.