MEXICO CITY – Long after he gained fame as the bad boy of Mexican soccer, former forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco has traded in his prior vulgar language for the more measured discourse that corresponds to his current role as a politician.
The 45-year-old Blanco is enjoying success in that transformation, having been elected governor of the central state of Morelos last Sunday as a representative of Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s left-wing National Regeneration Movement (MORENA).
“I’m going to work for the most needy,” Blanco said after his latest electoral victory, adding that he would bring the same passion to the people of Morelos as he did to Mexico’s national team because he does not want more injustice.
Blanco was elected governor after serving for two years as the mayor of Morelos’ capital, Cuernavaca.
Blanco, who played much of his club career for Mexico City side America, was considered Mexico’s most irreverent soccer player of the past several decades, as well as one of its most talented.
He competed in the 1998 World Cup in France and also came back from a serious knee injury to help Mexico qualify for the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan. His final participation in soccer’s premier event came at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
An in-your-face competitor who possessed outstanding technical skill, Blanco scored 38 goals as a member of El Tri.
One of his most memorable achievements was to spur a struggling Mexico to a berth in the 2002 World Cup.
In 2001, Blanco came back from a broken leg that had kept him out of action for six months and scored five goals in his team’s last four qualifying matches to secure qualification for Mexico out of the CONCACAF region.
He also helped lead Mexico to the knockout stage in South Korea/Japan, although El Tri lost 2-0 in the round of 16 to the United States.