Heed this warning, Liga MX fans, do NOT take much of what you see today from the Mexican sports media seriously. You’re gonna see some wacky stories, odd signings, and strange deals advertised on Twitter or the internet, but whatever you do, DON’T fall for them. The 28th of December is celebrated in Mexico as El Día de los Inocentes: A day for pranks, tricks, hoaxes, jokes and making family members look foolish and embarrassed. It’s essentially April Fools Day, but the sports media is much, much more involved, and reporters and fans alike are hoodwinked into believing whatever dubious news sports teams and publications put out in the name of good old traditional fun and games.
Where did the holiday come from?
The backstory of where this day originates from is actually much more brutal than what you’d imagine. In Christian lore, December 28 is known as Holy Innocents Day. It comes from the New Testament, where the Massacre of the Innocents occured during the nativity narrative of the Gospel of Matthew in which King Herod orders the executions of all male children two years old and under in Bethlehem. Yup, baby killings. Really screams fun doesn’t it? Anyway, under the Catholic Church it became a celebrated holiday in Mexico and over the years morphed into a day to play pranks on and have fun with unsuspecting victims (like a child would) who have no idea what’s going on, just like the infants that had no idea what was happening when Herod ordered the kilings. Some real morbid stuff here, guys.
Enough with all that dark stuff, show me some pranks.
Fan site Espacio Tiburon made a very convincing tweet to mirror that of the real Veracruz twitter account annoucing the arrival of striker Lucas Cavallini to the Tiburones Rojos. The Uruguayan-born Canadian has quickly become one of the more prolific goalscorers in the league, so this signing would have been a dream scenario for Veracruz fans. Sadly, they’ll have to be content with former EPL reject Colin Kazim-Richards as their new face up front.
The joke was so good, in fact, our own Eugene Rupinski fell for it.
The same outlet earlier announced the sale of the team to Grupo Carso, a conglomerate headed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim that used to own part of Pachuca and Leon. It seems legit until you see that photoshop work...
Pachuca was the first official team to get in on the fun. Los Tuzos trolled their fans through Twitter when they falsely announced the team (along with Chivas and Cruz Azul) would be participating in the 2019 Copa Libertadores. In reality, Mexican teams have not played in the prestigious South American club tournament since 2016 because of conflicting schedules. There exists a possibility of a return, but no official word yet as to when that may be.
Even Premier League club Wolves, where Mexican international Raul Jimenez resides, released a tweet on their Spanish account announcing the launch date of a new green jersey inspired by the Mexican national team that turned out to be false.
Lanzamiento de la nueva playera de los #Wolves con clara inspiración mexicana. El equipo la utilizará en el primer partido del año en Molineux y se podrá adquirir en la tienda oficial del club.— Wolves Español (@WolvesEspanol) December 28, 2018
ESPN Mexico didn’t get left behind either when “Chuyito Roso” (not a real person) reported that the LA Galaxy brotherly duo of Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos were leaving football behind to become reggaetón artists. The dos Santos brothers have received a lot of flack from media and fans alike for their poor form in the MLS and with El Tri, so quitting the beautiful game for the popular Latin music genre didn’t seem that far off honestly. Hey, fellow SB Nation writer Zito Madu believed it.
Mexican international and Levante Femenino player Charlyn Corral flipped the script and pranked media member Pedro Zamora with an awkward interview and a run-in from a “police officer” that had Zamora struggling to find his words.
Like the above video suggested, the holiday is also celebrated heavily in Spain. Here’s a couple of low-level Spanish teams who made waves with their own fake news. CE Vila Olimpica first announced Barcelona legend Xavi as its new head coach and later Merida A.D. falsely welcomed PSG and Brazil superstar Neymar as its latest signing.
❗️NOTICIA D’ÚLTIMA HORA ❗️— CE Vila Olimpica (@cevilaolimpica) December 28, 2017
Xavi Hernández, nou director tècnic de futbol per les dues properes temporades.
La Junta Directiva ja pot anunciar l’acord amb l’ex - jugador del Barça per dirigir el futbol base del nostre club les dues properes temporades. #cevilaolimpica pic.twitter.com/RUNLJS7G6c
Here’s some screenshots of the pranks Mexican newspaper Record pulled today. Among the headlines are Diego Maradona leaving Dorados to coach Chivas, Giovani dos Santos joining Club America and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah making the switch to Real Madrid.
Search around and you can find countless other examples where Mexican, Spanish and other Latin American news outlets become The Onion for today, and it’s not just sports either. It’s the one day a year journalistic integrity is thrown out the window in the name of fun and on a much larger scale than April Fools Day. So remember, on every 28th of December, if you see a headline coming from Mexico that seems too weird or crazy to be true, it probably is. ¡Feliz Dia de los Inocentes!
You can follow Antonio on Twitter @antonio1998__