After last week’s Liga MX draft in Cancun, the Monterrey-based giants Tigres have bid farewell to one of their most standout players in recent memory - Lucas Lobos.
The 32-year-old Tigres captain has left Los Auriazules after six excellent seasons with the side which he won the 2011 Apertura Liga MX Championship, and most recently, the 2014 Clausura Copa MX.
During his six seasons with Tigres he racked up an impressive 67 goals in 178 games and will hope to be remembered for his positive exploits rather than a disappointing final 12 months. Since last summer he has only managed to score three goals and he finished the campaign on the bench after a worrying drop in form in the second half of the Clausura.
After the reception received at Monterrey airport recently it appears the diminutive playmaker will get his wish. Hundreds of fans turned out to give him their thanks for helping to lift the championship for the first time in almost 30 years and to wish him all the best for his future endeavours.
A lot are disappointed that he is leaving. Although his place in the team was threatened and fans had voiced displeasure over his recent performances, his position as a Tigres club legend is in no doubt. All Tigres fans would have preferred that he finished his career with them.
Several fans have laid the blame for his departure at the door of manager Tuca Ferretti. The Brazilian’s own position at Tigres is still under threat, and many believe he would have already been sacked if it wasn’t for the Copa MX triumph. Lobos is seen as a victim of the pressure on Ferretti to alter things after failing to qualify for the postseason, and it is no surprise that the fans feel frustrated that a man who might not be in charge for much longer has been allowed to make such a big decision.
In truth, the Tigres team has needed a rejuvenation for the past eighteen months. Carlos Salcido, Alan Pulido, Israel Jimenez, Jorge Torres Nilo, Palos and Damian have all left or are expected to leave the club this summer, with rumors abound that the Brazilian former Man City, Real Madrid, and AC Milan striker Robinho could join.
The former Tigres captain has joined CONCACAF Champions League runners-up Toluca, though with the talent at their disposal he is not guaranteed a place in their side. Isaac Brizuela is in El Tri’s squad, Sinha has enjoyed an Indian summer, and Mathias, Rojas and Rios all started frequently in the Clausura.
Lobos is 33 in August and probably doesn’t have long left at the top level. While he is unlikely to be a regular starter at Toluca, to Tigres fans he will always be a hero.