Cruzeiro Esporte Clube

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Full name Cruzeiro Esporte Clube
Nickname(s) "Raposa" (Fox)
"Time do Povo" (Team of the People)
"Celeste" (Azure)
"La Bestia Negra" (The Black Beast)
Founded January 2, 1921; 98 years ago (1921-01-02)
Stadium Mineirão, 64,700 capacity
President Gilvan Tavares
Head coach Deivid
League Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
Campeonato Mineiro
Brasileirão, 8th
Mineiro, 3rd
Website Club home page
Current season

Cruzeiro Esporte Clube (Brazilian Portuguese: [kɾuˈzejɾu esˈpoɾtʃi ˈklubi]), commonly known as Cruzeiro and nicknamed Raposa (English: Fox), is a Brazilian multisport club based in Barro Preto, Belo Horizonte. Although they compete in a number of different sports, Cruzeiro is mostly known for its association football team. It plays in the Campeonato Mineiro,[nb 1] the state of Minas Gerais's premier state league, as well as in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A,[nb 2] the top tier of the Brazilian football league system. Cruzeiro are one of the five Brazilian clubs to have never been relegated, along with São Paulo, Flamengo, Internacional and Santos.

The club was founded on January 2, 1921 by sportsmen from the Italian colony of Belo Horizonte, some members of Yale Atlético Clube and many Italian immigrant workers decided to create a new club called Societá Sportiva Palestra Italia. As a result of the Second World War, the Brazilian federal government banned the use of any symbols referring to the Axis powers in 1942. The club board members rebaptized the club with the name of a leading national symbol: the Cruzeiro do Sul's constellation. Cruzeiro play their home games at the Mineirão stadium, which currently holds up to 62,547 spectators. Cruzeiro's regular kit colours are blue shirts and white shorts with blue socks (although the team has worn white socks with their home kit for certain periods of time). Penalty are the kit manufacturers currently.

Cruzeiro is one of Brazil's most successful clubs, despite your low age (comparing to with the others Brazil's biggest clubs) having won the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A for the first time in 1966, after defeating Santos' Os Santásticos in the final series.[1] Cruzeiro has won the Brasileirão again in 2003, 2013 and 2014, obtaining the best campaign in the present format of the competition. Cruzeiro has also won four Copa do Brasil titles and the Campeonato Mineiro 37 times. Cruzeiro won the defunct state competitions Taça Minas Gerais five times, the Copa dos Campeões Mineiros twice, Copa Sul Minas twice, the Torneio Início 10 times and the Supercampeonato Mineiro once. A Raposa also obtained many international laurels such as two Copa Libertadores, two Supercopa Libertadores, one Recopa Sudamericana, one Copa de Oro and one Copa Master de Supercopa. Cruzeiro is the only Brazilian and South American club to complete the Domestic Treble, a feat accomplished in 2003 after winning the Campeonato Mineiro, the 2003 Copa do Brasil and the 2003 Brasileirão.

Cruzeiro hold a long-standing rivalry against Atlético Mineiro. It has contributed many key and famous players towards Brazil's FIFA World Cup squads such as Piazza, Tostão, Nelinho, Ronaldo, Luisao, Maicon, Cris, Jairzinho, Edílson among so many others.


Cruzeiro's history is traced back to the Italian community living in Belo Horizonte, a city where already some Italian immigrants lived[2] 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.

In the sporting goods and footwear Augustine Ranieri's factory, located on the street of Caetés, it was decided the foundation of the club should tackle the three major capital: Atlético Mineiro, America-MG and Yale. Was born at that moment, the Società Sportiva Palestra Italia, established on January 2, 1921.[3]

The meeting was attended by 95 founders present the shield and uniform that made reference to the Italian colors, and whose SSPI description would be recorded in the center shell. Another definition was right that only members of the Italian colony could wear the shirt time. Aurelio Noce was elected the first President.[3]

The Palestra Italia emerged as the representative of the Italian colony. And is characterized as a team of Italian descent, Palestra also stood out by having elements of the Belo Horizonte working class, unlike Atlético and América, who had their consisting squad of college students coming from influential and wealthy families of the city.[3]

A Cruzeiro squad before playing a game v. Flamengo in 1923.

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.[4][5] Until 1925 the club would only allow Italian men to participate.[6]

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.[7] However the first official match of Palestra was in a 3–0 win over future archrivals Clube Atlético Mineiro.[8] In 1927, in a Mineiro's Championship match. On January 1942, Brazil entered World War II[9] 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.

Around six months later, the president Ennes Cyro Poni called a general assembly for October 7 and suggested the name Ypiranga. Between October 3 and 7, the local media published the new name thinking it would be approved. In assembly, the counselors and associates kept professional system and approved changing club's name and colors. Yale and Ypiranga were suggested, but Cruzeiro Esporte Clube was chosen to honor the biggest symbol of Brazil, the constellation of Crux. The idea was from Oswaldo Pinto Coelho. However, the club kept playing as "Palestra Mineiro" until 1943, when the local Federation approved the new statutes.[10] The approved colors were blue and white.

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 1966 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.[11][12] 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.[11][12]

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.[13] The 1980s was the only decade Cruzeiro did not participate once in the Copa Libertadores since the tournament's creation in 1960.[14] The club were invited to Europe in 1988 by Scottish side Celtic to play a friendly as part of the Glasgow club's centenary celebrations.[15]

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.[11][12][16] 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.[11][12][16][17]

From 2003 to 2012 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.[18] After a disastrous 2011 season, escaping relegation only in the last round after a triumphant 6–1[19] against arch-rival Atlético de Vespasiano, Gilvan Tavares became president for the 2012-2013-2014 triennium. 2012 was slightly better than 2011, but still Cruzeiro won no titles. In 2013 Cruzeiro lost Campeonato Mineiro again, despite displaying a good game against smaller clubs. Copa do Brasil started promising but Cruzeiro was knocked out by future champion Flamengo in the quarterfinals. After the elimination Cruzeiro went all in to Campeonato Brasileiro and was crowned champion for the third time, this time four rounds before the championship ended, playing an offensive and intense game that led many, including press[20] and runner-ups,[21] to attribute the title many rounds before the mathematical confirmation. Cruzeiro's 2014 season was even more successful. It started with Cruzeiro winning the Campeonato Mineiro without losing a single match in the whole competition. In the Copa Libertadores da America, Cruzeiro was knocked out, in the quarter finals, by future champion San Lorenzo de Almagro, being the last remaining Brazilian team in the competition. This loss did not prevent Cruzeiro to lead the Campeonato Brasileiro for almost the whole competition, being crowned champion for the fourth time and becoming the second team not from Rio de Janeiro nor Sao Paulo to win the Campeonato Brasileiro twice in a row. Cruzeiro also got to the final of the Copa do Brasil, but was humiliated, losing both matches to rival Atlético Mineiro.



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.[22] 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.[22] 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".[22]

In 1942 Cruzeiro played one game under the name Ypiranga, and for this game a blue shirt with a central horizontal stripe was used.[22] 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.[22] 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.[22] There was a change 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.[22]

In 1984 Cruzeiro had the first ever company logo on its shirt; it was the shirt manufacturer's logo, which was Topper.[22] In the same year Cruzeiro had its first shirt sponsor, Medradao. Medradao was only used on the away shirts[22]


The Southern Cross or Crux, is common on a number of other flags and insignia

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.[23] 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.[23] In 1923, the crest lost its rhombus shape and instead just had the green letters S, P and I.[23] 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.[23]

The crest introduced in 1940 would be the last for Palestra, because the club would soon become Cruzeiro.[23] 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.[23] 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.[23] In the same year, Cruzeiro removed BELO HORIZONTE from the crest; this format was used until 2005.[23] In 2006 to honor its successful 2003 season, a crown was added on top of the crest, to symbolize the triple crown.[23]

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.[23] This was done until 2000, when the actual crest was once again used.[23] 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.[23] Since 2007 the club has used the "loose stars" design on home shirts.[23] It should be noted that none of these designs actually became the official club crest.

Kit History

Period Kit manufacturer Master Sponsors Premium Sponsors Standard Sponsors Number Sponsors
1984 Topper Medradão
1985 Frigorifico Perrella
1986 Adidas BDMG
1989 Coca-Cola
1990–95 Finta
1996 Energil C
1997 Rhumell
1998 Gelmax, Telebingão Campeão
1998–99 Topper
2000–01 FIAT Ceras Grand Prix
2001–03 Lousano
2004–05 Siemens
2006 Puma Xerox
2007 Aethra
2007 Construtora Tenda
2008 FIAT
2009 Reebok Banco Bonsucesso
2010 Banco BMG Ricardo Eletro Questão de Estilo Jeans/Hypermarcas
2011 Netshoes
2012 Olympikus Guaramix
2013 TIM
2015 Penalty Cemil/Vilma Alimentos 99Taxis/Voxx Suplementos



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.


Fernando Pieruccetti, more popularly known as Mangabeira, created the club's mascot, a raposa (fox). Mangabeira was inspired by the club's ex-president, Mario Grossa. "He was a director who let no one trick him. He was sly, agile, intelligent and skillful like a fox."[25][26] In the 2000s, Cruzeiro has made the Raposão (Big Fox) its biggest mascot, appearing at all home games and cheering with the crowd while wearing the club's colors. Raposão has won in 2010 the Rede Globo's Competição de Mascotes (Mascot Competition) in their Sunday sports show Esporte Espetacular. The program reunited 20 mascots from the biggest Brazilian team and had them competing in series of challenges. Raposão won all of them.


Name Tenure
Brazil Aurélio Noce 1921–22
Brazil Alberto Noce 1923–24
Brazil Américo Gasparini 1925–26, 1928
Brazil Antonio Falci 1927, 1929–30
Brazil Braz Pelegrino 1927–28
Brazil Lidio Lunardi 1931–32
Brazil José Viana de Souza 1933
Brazil Miguel Perrela 1933–36
Brazil Romeo de Paoli 1936
Brazil Osvaldo Pinto Coelho 1936–40
Brazil Ennes Cyro Poni 1941–42
Brazil João Fantoni
Brazil Wilson Saliba
Brazil Mario Torneli
Brazil Mário Grosso 1942–47
Brazil Fernando Tamietti 1947, 1950
Brazil Antônio Cunha Lobo 1947–49
Brazil Antônio Alves Simões 1949
Brazil Manoel F. Campos 1950
Brazil Divino Ramos 1951
Brazil José Greco 1952–53, 1955
Brazil Wellington Armanelli 1954
Brazil José Francisco Lemos Filho 1954
Brazil Eduardo S. Bambirra 1955–56
Brazil Manoel A. de Carvalho 1957–58
Brazil Antonio Braz Lopes Pontes 1959–60
Brazil Felicio Brandi 1961–82
Brazil Carmine Furletti 1983–84
Brazil Benito Masci 1985–90
Brazil Salvador Masci 1990
Brazil César Masci 1991–94
Brazil Zezé Perrella 1995–2002
Brazil Alvimar de Oliveira Costa 2003–08
Brazil Zezé Perrella 2009–11
Brazil Gilvan Tavares 2012–present

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Brazil GK Fábio (Captain)
2 Brazil DF Mayke
3 Brazil DF Léo (Vice-captain)
4 Brazil DF Bruno Rodrigo
5 Brazil MF Willians
6 Brazil DF Fabrício
7 Argentina MF Sánchez Miño
8 Brazil MF Henrique (Vice-captain)
9 Brazil FW Willian
10 Uruguay MF de Arrascaeta
11 Brazil MF Alisson
12 Brazil GK Rafael
13 Brazil DF Douglas Grolli
16 Brazil MF Judivan
17 Brazil MF Uillian Correia
18 Brazil MF Gabriel Xavier
19 Brazil FW Douglas Coutinho
23 Brazil DF Fabiano
No. Position Player
26 Brazil DF Dedé
27 Brazil DF Manoel
31 Brazil DF Alex
32 Brazil GK Alan
33 Brazil MF Bruno Edgar
34 Brazil MF Marcos Vinícius
35 Brazil FW Allano
37 Brazil MF Marinho
39 Brazil FW Vinícius Araújo (on loan from Valencia)
40 Argentina MF Ariel Cabral
Brazil GK Lucas França
Brazil DF Bruno Viana
Brazil DF Antônio Carlos
Brazil MF Bruno Nazário
Brazil MF Élber
Argentina FW Pisano
Brazil FW Rafael Silva

Reserve team

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Brazil GK Lucas Romão
Brazil DF Bruno Lavandoski
Brazil DF Hugo Sanches
Brazil DF Breno Lopes
Brazil DF Rafael Donato
Brazil MF Gabriel Moura
No. Position Player
Brazil MF Luiz Fernando
Brazil MF Matheus Santos
Brazil MF Thiago Souza
Brazil MF Alex
Brazil FW Cesinha
Uruguay FW Gonzalo Latorre


Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Brazil GK Georgemy (loan to Portugal Estoril)
Brazil GK Elisson (loan to Coritiba)
Brazil DF Thiago Carvalho (loan to Ceará)
Chile DF Eugenio Mena (loan to São Paulo)
Brazil DF Pará (loan to Paranaense)
Brazil MF Éber (loan to Portugal Maritimo)
Brazil MF Eurico (loan to Ponte Preta)
Brazil MF Lynneeker (loan to Portugal Maritimo)
Brazil MF Willian Farias (loan to Vitória)
No. Position Player
Brazil MF Luiz Fernando (loan to Mirassol)
Brazil MF Rodrigo Souza (loan to Náutico)
Brazil MF Souza (loan to Japan Cerezo Osaka)
Brazil MF Valdivia (loan to Náutico)
United States MF Luís Felipe Fernandes (loan to United States Fort Lauderdale Strikers)
Brazil FW Hugo Ragelli (loan to Ponte Preta)
Brazil FW Neílton (loan to Botafogo)
Brazil FW Pedro Paulo (loan to Portugal Rio Ave)
Brazil FW Roni (loan to Náutico)
Colombia FW Duvier Riascos (loan to Vasco da Gama)
Cameroon FW Diederrick Joelother=loan to Santos

First-team staff

Position Name Nationality
Head Coach Deivid  Brazilian
Assistant Coaches Pedrinho  Brazilian
Geraldo Delamore  Brazilian
Goalkeeping Coach Robertinho  Brazilian
Fitness coaches Alexandre Lopes  Brazilian
Quintiliano Lemos  Brazilian
Eduardo Freitas  Brazilian
Physiologists Eduardo Pimenta  Brazilian
Rodrigo Morandi  Brazilian
Physiotherapists André Rocha  Brazilian
Charles Costa  Brazilian
Ronner Bolognani  Brazilian
Doctors Sérgio Freire Júnior  Brazilian
Walace Espada  Brazilian
Leonardo Corradi  Brazilian
Masseurs Alisson Lima da Silva  Brazilian
Geraldo Doka  Brazilian

Notable players

Former coaches

Records and statistics

Most Appearances

The player with the most appearances for Cruzeiro is their current goalkeeper and team captain, Fábio with a stunning record of 654 appearances since 2005, beating former midfielder Zé Carlos, with 619 appearances, between 1965 and 1977.[28] In third place on that list is 1971's Bola de Ouro Winner, "The Prince" Dirceu Lopes, while the fourth place belongs to former Brazilian international and 1970 FIFA World Cup champion Wilson Piazza. The fifth overall player, and second goalkeeper with the most appearances for Cruzeiro is the notorious Raul Plassman, who played a total of 557 games with the team. 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.[28]

Top Goalscorers

Brazilian hall-of-famer and 1970 FIFA World Cup winner Tostão has scored the most goals for Cruzeiro, 249 between 1963 and 1972, having appeared on 378 matches for Cruzeiro (12th overall). He beats Dirceu Lopes by 25 goals on that list, which also has old-timer Niginho (207 goals) closing the top 3, being the only ones with over 200 goals for Cruzeiro. 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.[29] Nelinho holds the record for most goals scored from penalties: 38; and the record for goals scored from fouls: 42. Walter Montillo's 39 goals make him the non-Brazilian with the most goals for Cruzeiro, a record that would belong to Bolivia national football team vice-captain and striker Marcelo Moreno with 48 goals or Spanish 1930's striker Fernando Carazo, with 44 goals, had they not become Brazilian nationals.[29]





Trebles and Doubles

Trebles – Domestic Triple Crown

State, Cup and League: 2003¹[31]

DoublesDomestic Double

State and League: 1966
State and League: 2014

Continental Double

State and Supercopa Sudamericana: 1992
State and Copa Libertadores: 1997

Other Featured Campaigns

Copa Libertadores de América:

Runners-up (2): 1977 and 2009
Third place (2): 1967, 1975

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A:

Runners-up (5): 1969, 1974, 1975, 1998, 2010
Third place (5): 1973, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2008
Fourth place (3): 1968, 1987, 2009

Copa do Brasil

Runners-up (2): 1998, 2014
Semi-finalist (1): 2005

Supercopa Sudamericana:

Runners-up (2): 1988 and 1996

Supercopa Masters:

Runners-up (1): 1992

Campeonato Mineiro:

Runners-up (31): 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1932, 1933, 1936, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1962, 1970, 1971, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2013

Grounds and facilities

Cruzeiro's first stadium was the Estádio do Prado Mineiro, which belonged to the Federação Mineira de Futebol (FMF).[32] The club's first game at the stadium was 2–0 win over a Villa Nova/Palmeiras combine team from Nova Lima on 3 April 1921.[32][33] Cruzeiro would use the stadium until 1923 when the club built its own stadium, Estádio do Barro Preto.[33][34] On July 23, 1923 Cruzeiro debuted at the stadium in a 2–2 tie with Flamengo.[33][34] 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).[33][34] 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.[33][35]

Since 1965 Cruzeiro play their home games at Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, often referred to as just Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, MG.[36] Cruzeiro shares the stadium with rivals Clube Atlético Mineiro.[37] 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,[36][37] 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.[37] The period after the stadium's inauguration is often called Era Mineirão ("Mineirão Era"), which saw Cruzeiro gain national and international prominence.[38][39] Cruzeiro also holds the attendance record at the stadium, when 132,834 spectators watched Cruzeiro beat Villa Nova in the 1997 Campeonato Mineiro final.[40]

Cruzeiro have had plans to build a new stadium, especially under president Alvimar de Oliveira Costa's tenure.[41][42][43][44] However the state of Minas asked Cruzeiro to stay at the stadium,[45] and after president Zezé Perrella came to the presidency in 2009, plans for a new stadium virtually disappeared.[46]

The Mineirão was selected as a host stadium for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,[47] with renovations beginning on June 25, 2010 and is projected to be completed by December 2012.[48] After the stadiums closing, Cruzeiro began playing home games at the Arena do Jacaré and Ipatingão stadiums, both outside the city of Belo Horizonte.[49] Independência stadium is also being renovated and Cruzeiro will start playing homes games there in 2011 until the Mineirão is ready in 2012.[50]

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),[36][51][52] an administrative headquarters[53] and two social club facilities.[54][55] Cruzeiro has often been praised for having one of the leading infrastructure systems in Brazil.[36]

Administration and finances

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).[56] This means that unlike some European clubs and North American sport franchises, the club cannot be sold (Article 1, § 4).[57] Cruzeiro also acts as a social club, which sócios get access to. Currently there are six thousand paying sócios (twenty thousand including family members).[58] 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.[59] Those who have been sócios for over a year, form the "general assembly" (Assembleia Geral) and may vote for club officials (Article 5).[57] After two years of membership, sócios can nominate themselves for the "consul" (Conselho) (Article 16).[57] 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).[57] Politician Zezé Perrella is the current club president.[60]

Cruzeiro was the fifth richest Brazilian club in 2009 in terms of revenue with about R$121.3 million.[61] This is a 29% increase from a 2008 revenue of R$94.1 million[62] and a 56% increase from a 2007 revenue of R$77.6 million.[63] 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).[64] 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.[65][66] Kit supplier Reebok reported pays R$8 million annually.[67] From ticket sales the club will make around R$27 million in 2010.[68] In 2009 ticket sales generated R$18 million[69]

Cruzeiro is one of the most financially stable Brazilian football clubs. As of 2009 Cruzeiro debts total R$97.7 million (€43.8).[70] 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).[71] In 2009 the club was ranked as the seventh most valuable club in Brazil, being worth R$139 million (€55 million).[72] In 2008, the annual salary for the club's players totaled €6.2 million, significantly less than its European counterparts.[73]


Considering a population of 200 million people,[74] that would mean approximately 5.8–7.0 million (and 6–8 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 nickname was given by the Atlético Mineiro 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 Mineiro.

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.[75] That gap would decrease in the 1960s, though even in the 1980s Atlético still had a larger fan base. In the early 1970s however most of the younger fans were already for Cruzeiro [76] 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 Mineiro.[77] In 2005, 32.8% of the people of Minas Gerais were for Cruzeiro, and 16.9% for Atlético Mineiro.[78] In 2009, 31% of the people of Minas Gerais were for Cruzeiro and 15% for Atlético Mineiro.[79]

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.[80] A 2010 survey showed Cruzeiro's fan base had an average monthly family income of R$1,342.45.[81] 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.[82]


  1. Also known merely as Mineiro. Not to be confused with the Mineirão stadium.
  2. Also known by its nickname Brasileirão.


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External links