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|Full name||Cruzeiro Esporte Clube|
|Nickname(s)||A Raposa (The Fox)
Os Celestes (The Celestials)
|Founded||1921, as Societá Sportiva Palestra Italia|
|Stadium||Independência, Belo Horizonte
|League||Campeonato Brasileiro Série A|
Cruzeiro Esporte Clube (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɾuˈzejɾu esˈpoɾtʃi ˈklubi]) is a Brazilian football team, from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, and are one of the only five clubs to have never been relegated, along with Santos, São Paulo, Flamengo and Internacional. Founded on January 2, 1921, they are only one of three clubs to have participated in every edition of the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. Cruzeiro has been Brazilian champions twice, domestic cup champions four times (a record shared with Grêmio), and Mineiro champions 35 times. It is the only Brazilian team to have won the domestic triple crown of Brazilian football or treble, for winning the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, the Copa do Brasil, and the Campeonato Mineiro in the same year, accomplishing this feat in 2003. Internationally they are the second most successful team in Brazil with seven international championships, including two Libertadores, the equivalent to Europe's Champions League. Cruzeiro has the 6th largest fan base in Brazil with around 8 million supporters, mainly in the state of Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo and Federal District.
Cruzeiro is a member of Clube dos 13, a group of the leading Brazilian clubs and is among FIFA's Classic Club. They play their home games at the Mineirão stadium. Although the club's main focus is football, Cruzeiro also supports a long distance running and a men's volleyball department 
Cruzeiro's history is traced back to the Italian community living in Belo Horizonte, a city where already some Italian immigrants lived and their desire to set up a football club. Similar to the Italians of São Paulo (who founded Palestra Itália, now known as Palmeiras) the people of Belo Horizonte wanted the Italian colonies in Minas Gerais to have its own club as well.
The idea of the club being created took a big step when Yale, a sports team from the city went through an administrative crises. When some players left Yale over a dispute (Yale, which itself had connections to the Italian community), some went on to found the all Italian, Sociedade Esportiva Palestra Itália of Belo Horizonte. On January 2, 1921, about 72 Italians had appeared for the foundation of the Sociedade Esportiva Palestra Itália, (Italian: Societá Sportiva Palestra Itália). The adopted colors were the same as of the Italian flag: green, red, and white. The first uniform of the club was a green jersey, white shorts and red stockings. On the club's shield, in the form of a rhombus, were the initials SSPI. Until 1925 the club would only allow Italians men to participate.
Palestra debuted in the Prado Mineiro Stadium with a 2–0 win in a friendly on April 3, 1921, against a combination from Nova Lima. The Nova Lima team united players from two teams from the city: Villa Nova, and Palmeiras, another team form Nova Lima. However the first official match of Palestra was in a 3–0 win over future archrivals Clube Atlético Mineiro.
On January 1942, Brazil entered World War II and a decree of the federal government forbade the use of terms from enemy nations in entities, institutions, establishments, etc. With this, the Italian name was removed and the club could no longer call themselves Palestra Italia. The name was changed to Sociedade Esportiva Palestra Mineiro. The new name did not last long and was changed to Ypiranga by club president Ennes Cyro Poni. But because Ennes Cyro Poni did not consult any of the clubs directors before changing the club's name and because the club lost on their debut, the name only lasted one game. In a meeting between the club's directors, the name Cruzeiro Esporte Clube was approved. Cruzeiro is the constellation of the Southern Cross, and can only be seen from the southern hemisphere, therefore not related to Italy. The club's colors changed to a blue shirt and blue stockings, and white shorts. Only, however, in November 1942, did Cruzeiro Esporte Clube play its first official game under its new name. The game happened on November 11, 1942, against América with Cruzeiro winning 1–0.
With the inauguration of the Mineirão in 1965, Cruzeiro entered one of the most successful periods in its history, in which the club won five Campeonato Mineiro titles in a row, and went on to win its first national title, the 1968 Taça Brasil (the highest honor in Brazilian football at that time) beating Santos of Pelé in the final. Cruzeiro won the first leg 6–2 at the Mineirão, and the second leg 3–2 in São Paulo. In the 1974 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Cruzeiro were runner-up for the first time, after losing to Vasco in the finals. Later in 1975, Cruzeiro were runner-up in the Campeonato Brasileiro once again, this time losing to Internacional. In 1976, Cruzeiro won its first Copa Libertadores de América, over River Plate of Argentina. Cruzeiro went on to be runners-up of the same competition in 1977, being defeated in the finals by Boca Juniors, also of Argentina. After winning the 1976 Copa Libertadores, they participated in the 1976 Intercontinental Cup, now renamed the FIFA Club World Championship, for the first time and tied Bayern Munich 0–0 at the Mineirão, but lost 2–0 to Bayern in the Olympiastadion.
After tasting success in the 1960s and 1970s, Cruzeiro entered a dark period in the 1980s. With the exception of a couple of Campeonato Mineiro wins, the club won no other championships in the 1980s, and had its worst performances in the Campeonato Brasileiro, 33rd in 1984 and 29th in 1985. The 1980s was the only decade Cruzeiro did not participate once in the Copa Libertadores since the tournament's creation in 1960.
In the 1990s a new era began, and a 15 year sequence of at least one title per year was initiated. This included six of the club's seven international championships and a Campeonato Brasileiro (2003). In December 2010 the CBF (the governing body of Brazilian football) also recognized Cruzeiro as Brazilian champion of 1966, for having beaten Santos of Pelé: 6-2 in Belo Horizonte and 2-3 in São Paulo. The club's biggest exploit in the 21st century happened when it won the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. With 100 points earned during the season, and just over 100 goals scored in 46 matches, it was one of the most successful campaigns ever by a club in a Brazilian championship. In 2003, besides winning the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Cruzeiro also won the Copa do Brasil and the Campeonato Mineiro, to become the first Brazilian team to win the triple crown.
Since 2003 Cruzeiro have only won one major tournament (four times): the Campeonato Mineiro (2004, 2006, 2008, 2009). However the club finished in the top five of the Campeonato Brasileiro in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, guaranteeing a spot in the Copa Libertadores for four consecutive years (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011). In 2010, after a great campaign in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A, Cruzeiro took the second place and qualified for the Copa Libertadores da America for 2011. Cruzeiro's biggest success in recent years was reaching the finals of the 2009 Copa Libertadores, however, they lost to Estudiantes de La Plata 2–1.
When Cruzeiro was still known as Palestra Italia, the home shirt colour was green. The first home kit was an improvised dark green shirt, with white shorts and green stockings. Cruzeiro used this kit in their first professional game on April 3, 1921, in the Prado Mineiro Stadium, with a 2–0 win over the Villa Nova/Palmeiras combined team, of Nova Lima. In 1928 the shirt became a lighter tone of green, with a white neck design and red cuffs. The shorts continued to be white, but the green stockings now had red and white details, similar to that of the Italian flag. This particular uniform was used up until 1940. The light green color of the shirt would later give the team the nickname "periquito", Portuguese for parakeet. In 1940 there was a big change to the shirt. The shirt began to feature horizontal stripes, with the club crest in the center. This was the shirt used to win the 1940 Campeonato da Cidade – now known as the Campeonto Mineiro – after the club had been unable to win the tournament for ten years. The club also began to be called "tricolor" instead of "periquito".
In 1942 Cruzeiro played one game under the name Ypiranga, and for this game a blue shirt with a central horizontal stripe was used. In 1943 Cruzeiro played its first game under its current name. The shirt used then was an all blue shirt with a large white v-neck (scapular) design. The shorts and stockings were white. In 1950, due to bad stadium lighting, Cruzeiro began to use an all white shirt during night games. The shirt, which featured blue details and blue shorts and white stockings, was used for nine years. In 1956, Cruzeiro used, for a short while, a new shirt that was made up of white and blue horizontal stripes. The uniform was not used in many games. There was a change in the to the shirt in 1959; the shirt became all blue, a design that would influence later shirts. In the 1959 shirt, instead of using its normal crest Cruzeiro simply used the five stars, in the crest, loose on the shirt. The shirt made its debut in the Estádio dos Tecelões, in a friendly match against Renascença, on September 19.
In 1984 Cruzeiro had the first ever company logo on its shirt; it was the shirt manufacturer's logo, which was Topper. In the same year Cruzeiro had its first shirt sponsor, Medradao. Medradao was only used on the away shirts
The first Palestra Itália crest was a rhombus whose top half was red and bottom half was green (both colors of the Italian flag). In the center of the crest was a white circle with the letters P and I inside it. The following year, 1922, the club's crest maintained its rhombus shape, but was now completely white, with the letter P, S and I, inscribed within it in green. In 1923, the crest lost its rhombus shape and instead just had the green letters S, P and I. From 1928-1939 the crest was identical to the first crest in 1921. Just one year later the crest became a little different: the top half was green and the bottom half was red, similar to the crests from 1921 and 1929–1939, but instead of green letters in its center, it now had the letters S, P and I in yellow.
The crest introduced in 1940 would be the last for Palestra, because the club would soon become Cruzeiro. Cruzeiro's first crest was introduced in 1950 and was very simple: a blue circle, with a white border, inside of which were five white stars, positioned to look like the Southern Cross. This first crest was used for over nine years, until 1959. In 1959 the crest changed, now with a white border around the crest with the words "-CRUZEIRO ESPORTE CLUBE-BELO HORIZONTE" in blue. This version of the crest was used until 1996, making it the longest-used crest by Cruzeiro. In the same year, Cruzeiro removed BELO HORIZONTE from the crest; this format was used until 2005. In 2006 to honor its a successful 2003 season, a crown was added on top of the crest, to symbolize the triple crown.
Cruzeiro has not always used its official crest on its shirt. In 1959, instead of using its crest, the club opted to simply put the five stars from the Southern Cross on its shirt. This was done until 2000, when the actual crest was once again used. In 2002 and in part of 2003 the loose stars were used. Part way through 2003 a new shirt that contained the actual crest was introduced, but instead of just using the regular crest the shirt featured two Copa Libertadores trophies on top of the crest. In 2004 a similar design was used, but now featured a crown, symbolic of the Triple Crown on top of the two trophies. Since 2007 the club has used the "loose stars" design on home shirts. It should be noted that none of these designs actually became the official club crest.
The club's anthem, Hino ao Campeão, was written by Jadir Ambrósio in 1966, in homage to the team of his heart. He never meant for it to become the official anthem, but once fans started hearing it they liked it enough to adapt it as the new anthem. Cruzeiro have also had another anthem that was originally written by Arrigo Buzzacchi and Tolentino Miraglia when the club was still Italian, (-1925), and when it was still called the Palestra Itália. The anthem was published in newspapers in Brazil on May 5, 1922 it was called Hino ao Palestra.
Fernando Pieruccetti, more popularly known as Mangabeira, created the club's mascot. The mascot is a raposa (fox). Mangabeira was inspired by the clubs' ex-president, Mario Grossa. "He was a director who let no one trick him. He was sly, agile, intelligent and skillful like a fox." In the 2000s, Cruzeiro has made the Raposão (the big fox) its biggest mascot, appearing at all home games and cheering with the crowd while wearing the club's colours.
Note: In Brazil it is not customary to use fixed numbering on kits for players. This means players may change numbering often when playing Campeonato Mineiro and Campeonato Brasileiro games, and the starting eleven usually use the numbers 1-11. Jersey numbers to be used in 2011 Copa Libertadores games, which require fixed numbering.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Youth and reserve players with first team experience
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan: Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Assistant coach||Humberto Ferreira||Brazilian|
The player with the most appearances for Cruzeiro is Zé Carlos with 619 appearances between 1965 and 1977. The goalkeeper with the most appearances for Cruzeiro is Raul Plassman, who played a total of 557 games for Cruzeiro. Current goalkeeper Fabio is third on the list, with 366 games, as well as being the current player with the most appearances. The non-Brazilian with the most appearances for the club is the Argentine Roberto Perfumo who made 138 appearances for the club between 1971 and 1974.
Brazilian hall of famer Tostão has scored the most goals for Cruzeiro, 249 between 1963 and 1972. Ninão holds the record for goals scored in a single match: 10 in Cruzeiro's 14 x 0 win over Alves Nogueira during Campeonato da Cidade on June 17, 1928. Nelinho holds the record for most goals scored from penalties: 38; and the record for goals scored from fouls: 42. Víctor Hugo Aristizábal's 28 goals make him the non-Brazilian with the most goals for Cruzeiro.
- Domestic Double
- Continental Double
- Domestic Treble
¹ Only in Brazil to have this done
Cruzeiro's first stadium was the Estádio do Prado Mineiro, which belonged to the Federação Mineira de Futebol (FMF). The clubs first game at the stadium was 2–0 win over a Villa Nova/Palmeiras combine team from Nova Lima on 3 April 1921. Cruzeiro would use the stadium until 1923 when the club built its own stadium, Estádio do Barro Preto. On July 23, 1923 Cruzeiro debuted at the stadium in a 2–2 tie with Flamengo. In 1945 the stadium went through renovations and would become at that time the largest stadium in the state with a capacity of 15,000 and later on would become known as Estádio Juscelino Kubitscheck (or Estádio JK). Cruzeiro would use the stadium until 1965, when the Mineirão was opened. In 1983 the stadium was torn down and one of the club's social clubs (Sede Campestre) was built there.
Since 1965 Cruzeiro play their home games at Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, often referred to as just Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, MG. Cruzeiro shares the stadium with rivals Clube Atlético Mineiro. The stadium does not belong to Cruzeiro, rather it belongs to the state of Minas Gerais (through a land grant from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) and is administrated by the "Stadiums Administration of the state of Minas Gerais" (Administração de Estádios do Estado de Minas Gerais (ADEMG)). The stadium, which was built in 1963, had an original capacity of about 130,000, but over the years that capacity has been reduced, and currently it seats 64,800. Named after former Minas Gerais governor José de Magalhães Pinto, it took over 4,000 workers to build the stadium. The period after the stadium's inauguration is often called Era Mineirão ("Mineirão Era"), which saw Cruzeiro gain national and international prominence. Cruzeiro also holds the attendance record at the stadium, when 132,834 spectators watched Cruzeiro beat Villa Nova in the 1997 Campeonato Mineiro final.
Cruzeiro have had plans to build a new stadium, especially under president Alvimar de Oliveira Costa's tenure. However the state of Minas asked Cruzeiro to stay at the stadium, and after president Zezé Perrella came to the presidency in 2009, plans for a new stadium virtually disappeared.
The Mineirão was selected as a host stadium for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with renovations beginning on June 25, 2010 and is projected to be completed by December 2012. After the stadiums closing, Cruzeiro began playing home games at the Arena do Jacaré and Ipatingão stadiums, both outside the city of Belo Horizonte. Independência stadium is also being renovated and Cruzeiro will start playing homes games there in 2011 until the Mineirão is ready in 2012.
The club has private ownership of other facilities though, including two training facilities (Toca da Raposa I, which serves the youth division and Toca da Raposa II for the senior squad), an administrative headquarters and two social club facilities. Cruzeiro has often been praised for having one of the leading infrastructure systems in Brazil.
Cruzeiro's bylaw refers to the club being a non-profit organization, where the real owner are sócios (literally, "partners") or members (who pay an annual fee). This means that unlike some European clubs and North American sport franchises, the club cannot be sold (Article 1, § 4). Cruzeiro also acts as a social club, which sócios get access to. Currently there are six thousand paying sócios (twenty thousand including family members). Sócios are not to be confused with sócios do futebol ("football members") who pay an annual fee for privileges such as season tickets, but are not allowed to vote for club officials. Those who have been sócios for over a year, form the "general assembly" (Assembleia Geral) and may vote for club officials (Article 5). After two years of membership, sócios can nominate themselves for the "consul" (Conselho) (Article 16). Only members who have been part of the consul for at least ten years may run for the presidency and vice-presidency (Article 26, § 1). Politician Zezé Perrella is the current club president.
Cruzeiro was the fifth richest Brazilian club in 2009 in terms of revenue with about R$121.3 million. This is a 29% increase from a 2008 revenue of R$94.1 million and a 56% increase from a 2007 revenue of R$77.6 million. Much of Cruzeiro's revenue comes through the selling of players, between 2004 and 2008 the club sold R$181 million (€68.6 million) worth of player, ranking third in Brazil (although player sales for other teams were considered between 2003 and 2008). Cruzeiro also relies on sponsorship and currently has three shirt sponsors: Banco BMG (front and upper back), Ricardo Eletro (sleeves) and Questão de Estilo Jeans (lower back) and although the club does not release any official figures on sponsorhip, the deals are speculated to be worth a total of about R$15 million annually. Kit supplier Reebok reported pays R$8 million annually. From ticket sales the club will make around R$27 million in 2010. In 2009 ticket sales generated R$18 million
Cruzeiro is one of the most financially stable Brazilian football clubs. As of 2009 Cruzeiro debts total R$97.7 million (€43.8). This puts the club 13th among the most in-debt club in Brazil. Among Brazil's most prominent clubs only São Paulo has less debt. The club's current debt is also a decrease from a 2008 debt of R$131.6 million (€50.8). In 2009 the club was ranked as the seventh most valuable club in Brazil, being worth R$ 139 million (€55 million). In 2008, the annual salary for the clubs players totaled €6.2 million, significantly less than its European counterparts.
Cruzeiro is the best supported club in the state of Minas Gerais, with about 30% of the state's population being a supporter of the club. Most surveys have put the club's fan base between 3%-4% of the overall Brazilian population (other surveys have put the fan base between 2.9%-5.3%). Considering a population of 190 million people, that would mean approximately 5.7-7.6 million (and 5.5-10 million) supporters.
Cruzeiro's fan base is also known as "Nação azul" ("blue nation") or "China azul" ("blue China") given its large size and growth in the last decades. Curiously, this nick was given by the Atlético-MG fan Roberto Drummond, who recognised in one of his articles the growth of Cruzeiro's fan base and he even predicted the hegemony of Cruzeiro's fan base in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais and in Brazil. This prediction has been proved since all the researches by the main institutes show Cruzeiro to have a much larger fan's base the Atlético-MG.
Cruzeiro's fan base in the state of Minas Gerais has grown throughout the years. In the 1930s the club trailed rival Atlético, who had 46.2%, while Cruzeiro had 35.9% of the popular support. That gap would decrease in the 1960s, though even in the 1980s Atlético still had a larger fan base. In the early 70's however most of the younger fans were already for Cruzeiro  Surveys in the 1990s showed Cruzeiro's fan base as the new number one in the state, a gap which has increased in the 21st century. In 1998, 26% of the people of Minas Gerais were for Cruzeiro, against 16% for Atlético-MG. In 2005, 32,8% of the people of Minas Gerais were for Cruzeiro, and 16,9% for Atlético-MG. In 2009, 31% of the people of Minas Gerais were for Cruzeiro and 15% for Atlético-MG.
Originally Palestra's support came from the Italian immigrant community. The working class identity remained when the club became known as Cruzeiro, and the supporters spread beyond the Italian community. The club's main rival is Atlético Mineiro, but other rivals include América, Vasco de Gama, São Paulo, Palmeiras (the other major team in Brazil with Italian origins), Corinthians, and Grêmio. A 2010 survey showed Cruzeiro's fan base had an average monthly family income of R$1,342.45. For comparison this is slightly lower than Atlético Mineiro (R$1,353.28). The highest was Internacional (R$ 1.657.69), and the lowest was Flamengo (R$ 1.149,09).
On July 14, 2008 law number 9,590/2008 sanctioned "Cruzeiro and Cruzeirense Day" in Belo Horizonte which will be celebrated every 2 January.
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