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Pumas makes controversial signing of Leonel Lopez

Lopez will play in Pumas after playing with their hated rival, Club America last season.

Pumas UNAM Unveils New Players Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Pumas made a controversial signing for their fans as they continued their pattern of getting players struggling with playing time with the acquisition of Leonel Lopez. Lopez will be coming from Pumas’ biggest rival Club America, where he played last season on loan from Toluca. Although Lopez is a product of Leon and was a Toluca player on loan in America (where he failed to earn playing time), it is still a controversial move since not many players recently have played in Pumas after playing with America. It’s also controversial because of fan reactions, which was already apparent in the comments by fans online when it was announced.

While Pumas and America aren’t the biggest rivals in football, America is the most hated team for Pumas and the one with most animosity from their fans. While a lot of players in America have played in Pumas before and haven’t had much problems with the fans, it hasn’t been the case with Pumas. Few ex-America players had played in Pumas in recent times, and those that did have had trouble with fans. The last big case was Raul Salinas, once a top prospect with America in the team that won the Verano 2002 title that broke a 12 year drought for America. With Pumas, he had a lot of trouble with fans to the point that management invoked a meeting with the Rebel “porra” and Salinas to make a truce. Salinas though never was able to settle in at Pumas or with any team, and his career continued to decline until he retired in 2010 with Atlante’s second division team.

It’s yet to be seen what an impact Lopez will have. Lopez had shown promise in Leon and Toluca, but his time in America was a total disappointment. Unlike other signings like Johan Vasquez and Alejandro Mayorga, he never has gotten the level of promise they showed. If he is able to mesh and go back to the promise he showed in Leon it would be a good signing, however so far it’s another one in the pattern of raiding other teams for players that aren’t getting opportunities for whatever reason. It might be a sound decision if it pays off, but for a big team like Pumas is supposed to be it’s kind of a low point to not be able to make any big signing and resort to the discount bin.