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Aldo de Nigris and Víctor Manuel Vucetich come down with a case of sour grapes

A video circulated of them together at a restaurant criticizing Rayados’ front office over the Funes Mori situation.

Atlas v Monterrey - Torneo Clausura 2023 Liga MX Photo by Alfredo Moya/Jam Media/Getty Images

Rayados president ‘Tato’ Noriega is said to be in the middle of a team rebuild. After letting go of Vucetich and assistant de Nigris after their sad Clausura 2023 exit to the hands of Tigres, this season was Funes Mori’s turn to go. The interesting part here, however, is that the striker was the one who forced his way out; not the other way around.

It’s rumored Noriega has defined a certain player character type and identified the players and coaches who no longer fit the description who can help win the club championships rather than shy away in the big moment, as they’ve done so frequently of late. He wants to bring back a gritty version of Rayados and not the finesse one we’ve seen over the past years. And you know what? If that’s the case, he has every right to do so, no matter who disagrees.

It’d be one thing if Vuce and de Nigris had won them titles left and right and were suddenly let go, but the fact they performed so poorly during their 3 liguillas and were eliminated in embarrassing fashion, along with players who just weren’t ready to perform, completely justifies ‘Tato’ in any move he sees fit to make.

In the video, they both agree on the fact that the “forms” in which Rayados conduct their decisions are bad. ‘Vuce’ argues that you can’t let your historic and top goalscorer go just like that. The issue here is that... they didn’t. Funes Mori mentioned to reporters as he left the city that front office had indicated to him in private meetings they wouldn’t be renewing his contract and his future wasn’t with Rayados, but he was to remain on the club roster until that point. Or at least he wasn’t being let go for this season.

It was, in fact, Funes Mori who forced his exit by rescinding his current contract with La Pandilla in order to have full liberty and control in his search for a new club. He actually mentioned he already knew of this at least six months back, but decided to wait out the Apertura 2023 to have a full season to prepare mentally for this move. So the reason his exit was so sudden was because he forced it, not the other way around. And he made sure to let everyone know this was his call.

So why the disappointment from de Nigris and Vucetich? Well, this sounds more like a good ol’ case of sour grapes to me rather than anything else. They were clearly not happy when they were let go after last season and thought they deserved more than just 3 seasons. Despite 3 very good regular season results, their playoff oustings were shameful to say the least. In the Clausura 2022, a bad performance in the repechaje at home against San Luis led to a 2-2 draw and them eventually losing in PKs.

The Apertura 2022 saw them reach the semifinal where they wet the bed in the first leg in Pachuca with a 5-2 loss, making it nearly impossible to come back in the second leg. That ended their season. Finally, the Clausura 2023 saw them reach yet another semifinal, this time earning a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Uni against Tigres, meaning they had the edge at home for the second leg. ‘Vuce’ decided to sit back with one of the top 3 rosters in all of Liga MX and do nothing, like a relegation team would do. It ended up biting him and costing him yet another playoff series. Three bad playoff exits and ‘Tato’ had seen enough.

If the rumor that Noriega has only just begun his rebuilding plan, I aplaud him. It’s said other players that have outstayed their welcome such as Joao Rojas, ‘Ponchito’ González, Stefan Medina, and others are next. And if ‘Vuce’ and company think they can live off of titles they won a decade ago and deserve to be there forever needless of winning, then they’ve gotta check themselves. Rosters like Rayados don’t have the luxury to win once every certain amount of years; they’re expected to win every single season/tournament they play in. If some fail to recognize that, then that’s on them.