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Atlético Morelia
Atlético Morelia logo.svg
Full name Club Atlético Morelia
Nickname(s) Los Canarios (The Canaries)
Founded June 4, 1950; 74 years ago (1950-06-04)
Ground Estadio Morelos
Morelia, Michoacán
Ground Capacity 35,000
Chairman José Luis Higuera
Manager Norberto Scoponi
League Liga de Expansión MX
Apertura 2023 7th (Quarter-Finals)

Club Atlético Morelia is a Mexican football club based in Morelia, Michoacán. Founded on 4 June 1950, the club currently plays in the Liga de Expansión MX. The club play their home games at Estadio Morelos.

From 1981 to 2020, the club played in Mexico top-flight football league, winning the Invierno 2000 championship. On 2 June 2020, it was officially announced that the club would be relocating to Mazatlan. Following the events, Mazatlán would be considered a new team, competing in Morelia's place in Liga MX.

Morelia has won the Liga de Expansión championship, in the Clasura 2022 season. It was the clubs second title, in a second division league.



In 1950 "Oro Morelia" changed the name to Club Deportivo Morelia. Morelia was among the teams that founded the Segunda División. After the 1956–1957 season, in which they ended up in second place, they were officially promoted into the Primera División to replace Puebla. After an unsuccessful season, in 1968 Atlético Morelia was relegated back to the Segunda División. During mixed 1968–1971 seasons, C.A. Morelia appointed Nicandro Ortiz as chairman. Ortiz acquired the team and strengthened its position in the league.

The 1978–1979 season thrust Morelia into contention for promotion; in 1980, Atlético Morelia played under manager Diego Malta who helped his team towards the Mexico Championship and finally promotion to the Primera División in 1981.

In 1986 before the World Cup in Mexico Atletico Morelia played friendlies against Germany Losing 2-1 and against the URSS again losing 4-1.

In 1996 the major broadcast company TV Azteca bought the team. By 2000 the club started playing under the Monarcas moniker.

Although the team had played Mexican professional football for 70 years, it had never won a first division tournament until winter 2000, when the club raised the cup after beating Toluca on penalties. The team was crowned champions away in the Bombonera Stadium. On the day after the victory, a crowd that some estimate at 100 thousand people welcomed the team as it paraded along Morelia's main avenue, Avenida Madero on their way to the stadium where the crowd congregated as the team raised the cup and the fans congratulated the team for its first ever first division trophy.

After missing the playoffs for three consecutive tournaments, Morelia finished in third place in the general table in the Apertura 2009. Morelia defeated Santos Laguna in the first round, 4–2 on aggregate. Morelia was then defeated by Cruz Azul in a semi-final that was filled with controversy due to Cruz Azul player Joel Huiqui intentionally using his hand to hit the ball away and prevent Morelia midfielder Wilson Tíago from scoring. (Huiqui later played for Morelia.) With a 2–1 aggregate score, Morelia was eliminated. Morelia qualified for the 2010 Copa Libertadores by ending in third place in the classification phase. It was the second time that Morelia participated in the Copa Libertadores, the first being in 2002. Morelia was the Runner-up of the Clausura 2011, after a hard-fought final against Pumas. Pumas won the tie 3–2 on aggregate, taking the trophy home.

In 2010, Morelia became the SuperLiga champion, with a 2–1 victory in the finals over the New England Revolution in which Miguel Sabah scored both Morelia goals.

On November 5, 2013 Monarcas Morelia won their first Copa MX title in a 3–3 match that went to penalties, where they would take the victory. This title also allowed them to participate in the inaugural edition Supercopa MX, which they won against Tigres UANL with a global score of 5–4.

Relegation struggles

After 15 years, a dismal 2014–15 campaign left Monarcas as one of the last teams in the relegation table, an aggregate of a club's most recent points totals that decides which teams will be relegated. As a result, Enrique Meza was chosen to be the coach for the Apertura 2015 season. Meza had already saved Morelia before, in the 1995–96 season. After no notable improvement in team performance, Meza was let go from the position of head coach in 2016, with Roberto Hernandez taking over as interim manager. Hernandez's tenure would coincide with the signing of Peruvian forward Raul Ruidiaz on loan from Universitario. The signing of Ruidiaz would prove to be crucial to the club's fortunes, as he would go on to score 20 goals throughout the 2016-2017 Liga MX season, finishing as top scorer with 11 goals in the Apertura and 9 goals in the Clausura. In the following season, Morelia was in danger of being relegated on the final match day of the Apertura, residing in last place in the relegation table and needing a victory over Monterrey to avoid the drop. Tied 1-1 in injury time, Raul Rudiaz scored a crucial winner that moved them out of the relegation zone, with Jaguares de Chiapas being relegated in their stead. Ruidiaz's goal additionally qualified them for that season's liguilla, its first since the 2016 Clausura.


On May 23, 2020, various news outlets in Mexico reported the club would be relocating from Morelia to Mazatlán, Sinaloa and would be called Mazatlán F.C. The club's owner, Grupo Salinas, reportedly were asking for $400 million MXN per year from the Government of Michoacán to keep the team in the city. The move was very unpopular among supporters, former players, and the sports media across Mexico. Despite stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 7,000 fans took to the streets of Morelia to protest the team's move.

On June 2, 2020, the club and Liga MX announced the club's relocation to Mazatlán, just two days before the club's 70th anniversary.

Rebirth of Atlético Morelia

On June 26, 2020, Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla announced Atlético Zacatepec would be relocating to Morelia due to financial problems. The next day in a press conference at Estadio Morelos, it was announced the club would be called Club Atlético Morelia, the club's name for over 25 years before Grupo Salinas changed it in 1999. It was announced the ownership group would consist of former Guadalajara President José Luis Higuera as well as various businessmen from the state of Michoacán. The ownership group acquired the rights to the club's name and logo, both which were owned by Grupo Salinas.



The club's colors are generated from the city's flag which are yellow and red, which are the same colors in the Spanish flag, because the city is a novohispana city.

In the club's beginnings the club went under the name of Oro and were known as the canarios (canary) until 1999 when the club changed its name to Monarcas, due to the 3 monarchs found in the city's flag, which has been used from its foundation.


Estadio Morelos
Monarcas Morelia Stadium, Estadio Morelos

Towards the end of the 1980s it was decided that their stadium (Estadio Venustiano Carranza) was lacking capacity and that a new stadium with a greater number of seats needed to be constructed. On April 9, 1989, after several construction delays, Stadium Jose Maria Morelos and Pavón (located on the outskirts of the Quinceo mountain) was opened, and the inaugural game was between Atlético Morelia and Club América. The stadium has an official capacity of 45,000, although on inauguration in 1989 it is estimated that more than 50,000 were in attendance. Morelia won the match with the score 2–1. In 2011, the stadium was given a new look, seeing as the FIFA U-17 World Cup was taking place in Mexico.



Position Staff
Chairman Mexico José Luis Higuera
Vice-chairman Mexico Raymundo López Olvera
Director of football Mexico Christian Barrientos

Source: Liga MX

Coaching staff

Position Staff
Manager Argentina Norberto Scoponi
Assistant managers Uruguay Hebert Birriel
Mexico José Roberto Muñoz
Mexico Victor Herrejón
Goalkeeper coach Mexico Oscar Resano
Fitness coach Mexico Humberto Corona
Physiotherapist Mexico Francisco Arias
Team doctors Mexico Vicente Villalva
Mexico Julio Cambrón


2012 squad.

Morelia has had some notable players in their history. Marco Antonio Figueroa is the club's all-time leading scorer with 130 goals. Adolfo Bautista, Rafael Márquez Lugo, Moisés Muñoz, Miguel Sabah, Joel Huiqui, Adrián Aldrete, Enrique Pérez, Édgar Lugo and Elias Hernandez, are some of the players that were called up to the Mexico national team while playing with the team. Raul Ruidiaz was the first Morelia player to achieve a Liga MX top scoring title.

First-team squad

No. Position Player
1 Mexico GK Antonio Torres
2 Mexico DF Juan Vega
3 Mexico DF Diego García
4 Mexico DF José Saavedra
5 Uruguay MF Santiago Viera
7 Mexico MF Omar Islas
9 Paraguay FW Gustavo Ramírez
10 Mexico MF Fernando Illescas
11 Mexico DF Ulises Cardona
12 Mexico GK Daniel Espinosa (on loan from Puebla)
13 Mexico MF Ángel Tecpanécatl
15 Mexico DF Edwin Quezada
No. Position Player
17 Mexico FW Joao Maleck
18 Mexico DF Enrique Cedillo
19 Mexico FW José Alonso Flores
21 Mexico MF Christopher Engelhart
22 Mexico MF Paul Galván
23 Mexico DF Leobardo López
25 Chile FW Sergio Vergara
30 Mexico MF Edson Chávez
32 Mexico GK Alfredo González
34 Mexico MF Paulo Romero
35 Mexico MF César Quiróz

Out on loan

No. Position Player
8 Venezuela FW Jesús Ramírez (at Nacional)
No. Position Player
5 Mexico MF Sergio Vázquez (at Aguacateros CDU)

Reserve teams

H2O Purépechas
Reserve team that plays in the Liga TDP, the fourth level of the Mexican league system.

World Cup players

The following players were called to represent their country at the World Cup whilst playing for Morelia:

Olympic players

The following players were called to represent their country at the Summer Olympic Games whilst playing for Morelia:

  • Mexico Pablo López (1964)
  • Mexico Rafael Márquez Lugo (2004)

Top Goalscorers

Atletico Morelia
Rank Player Goals
1 Chile Marco Antonio Figueroa 130 Goals
2 Brazil Alex Fernandes 71 Goals
3 Mexico Miguel Sabah 64 Goals
4 Uruguay Carlos Miloc 59 Goals
5 Mexico Rafael Márquez Lugo 58 Goals
  • Includes top scorers from both Atletico Morelia & Monarcas Morelia
  • Does not include international competition goals



  • Primera División: 1
    • Invierno 2000
    • Runner-up (3): Apertura 2002, Clausura 2003, Clausura 2011
  • Segunda División/Liga de Expansión MX: 2
    • 1980–81, Clausura 2022
    • Runner-up (2): Guardianes 2021, Clausura 2023
  • Copa MX: 1
    • Apertura 2013
    • Runner-up (2): 1964–65, Clausura 2017
  • Supercopa MX: 1
    • 2014
    • Runner-up (1): 2015


International record

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
1988 CONCACAF Champions' Cup Preliminary round Belize Coke Milpross 9–0 2–0 11–0
First Round United States Washington Diplomats 2–1 2–1 4–2
Fourth Round Costa Rica Alajuelense Walkover1
2002 Copa Libertadores Pre-Libertadores Mexico América 1–3 0–2 2nd
Venezuela Trujillanos 1–0 2–0
Venezuela Caracas 3–0 1–3
Group 5 Argentina Vélez Sarsfield 0–0 3–2 1st
Uruguay Nacional 4–2 3–3
Peru Sporting Cristal 4–0 1–0
Round of 16 Ecuador Olmedo 3–2 5–0 8–2
Quarter-finals Mexico América 1–2 1–2 2–4
CONCACAF Champions' Cup First Round Costa Rica Saprissa 2–0 1–1 3–1
Quarter-finals United States Chicago Fire 2–0 1–2 3–2
Semi-finals United States Kansas City Wizards 6–1 1–1 7–2
Final Mexico Pachuca 0–1
2003 CONCACAF Champions' Cup Round of 16 Guatemala Comunicaciones 4–0 0–1 4–1
Quarter-finals United States Columbus Crew 6–0 0–2 6–2
Semi-finals Mexico Necaxa 6–0 0–0 6–0
Final Mexico Toluca 3–3 1–2 4–5
2007 SuperLiga Group B United States D.C. United 1–1 4th
United States Houston Dynamo 1–1
Mexico América 2–3
2010 Copa Libertadores Group 6 Argentina Banfield 1–1 1–2 3rd
Uruguay Nacional 0–0 0–2
Ecuador Deportivo Cuenca 2–1 0–2
SuperLiga Group B United States Chicago Fire 5–1 2nd
Mexico Pumas UNAM 2–2
United States New England Revolution 0–1
Semi-finals United States Houston Dynamo 1–0
Final United States New England Revolution 2–1
2011 CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary round Haiti Tempête 5–0 2–0 7–0
Group A Costa Rica Alajuelense 2–1 0–1 2nd
Honduras Motagua 4–0 2–0
United States LA Galaxy 2–1 1–2
Quarter-finals Mexico Monterrey 1–3 1–4 2–7
2014 Copa Libertadores First Stage Colombia Santa Fe 2–1 0–1 2–2 (a)
2015 Copa Libertadores First Stage Bolivia The Strongest 1–1 0–2 1–3

1 Morelia refused to play the series which resulted in their disqualification.


  • Uruguay Carlos Miloc (1979–80)
  • Hungary Árpád Fekete (1982)
  • Mexico Antonio "Tota" Carbajal (1984–94)
  • Mexico Jesus Bracamontes (1989–90), (1991–93)
  • Uruguay Carlos Miloc (1995–96)
  • Mexico Enrique Meza (Feb 24, 1996 – June 30, 1996)
  • Mexico Tomás Boy (Sept 6, 1996 – June 30, 1997)
  • Argentina Eduardo Solari (1997–98)
  • Mexico Tomás Boy (July 1, 1998 – June 30, 2000)
  • Mexico Luis Fernando Tena (July 1, 2000 – Oct 22, 2001)
  • Argentina Miguel Ángel Russo (Oct 27, 2001 – Feb 16, 2002)
  • Argentina Rubén Omar Romano (Feb 24, 2002 – Feb 22, 2004)
  • Argentina Antonio Mohamed (Feb 24, 2004 – June 30, 2004)
  • Uruguay Eduardo Acevedo (2004–05)
  • Brazil Ricardo Ferretti (Jan 1, 2005 – Dec 31, 2005)
  • Mexico Sergio Bueno (Jan 1, 2006 – Feb 6, 2006)
  • Argentina Darío Franco (Feb 10, 2006 – June 30, 2006)
  • Mexico Hugo Hernández (July 1, 2006 – Sept 18, 2006)
  • Chile Marco Antonio Figueroa (Sept 22, 2006 – June 30, 2007)
  • Mexico José Luis Trejo (July 1, 2007 – Oct 22, 2007)
  • Mexico David Patiño (Oct 22, 2007 – March 16, 2008)
  • Mexico Luis Fernando Tena (March 17, 2008 – Feb 19, 2009)
  • Mexico Tomás Boy (Feb 20, 2009 – June 30, 2012)
  • Argentina Rubén Omar Romano (July 1, 2012 – Feb 18, 2013)
  • Argentina Carlos Bustos (Feb 18, 2013 – Jan 26, 2014)
  • Mexico Eduardo de la Torre (Jan 27, 2014 – March 1, 2014)
  • Mexico R. Hernández (interim) (March 2, 2014 – March 10, 2014)
  • Argentina Ángel David Comizzo (March 10, 2014 – Sept 3, 2014)
  • Mexico José Guadalupe Cruz (Sept 3, 2014 – Dec 1, 2014)
  • Mexico Alfredo Tena (Dec 4, 2014 – Feb 15, 2015)
  • Mexico R. Hernández (interim) (feb 15, 2015 – May 8, 2015)
  • Mexico Enrique Meza (May 17, 2015– October 23, 2016)
  • Argentina Pablo Marini (Dec 2, 2016- Feb 6, 2017)
  • Mexico R. Hernández (Feb 07, 2017– Feb 24, 2019)
  • Argentina Javier Torrente (Feb 28, 2019 - August 18, 2019)
  • Argentina Pablo Guede (August 18, 2019 - June 1st 2020)
  • Argentina Ricardo Valiño (June 26, 2020 - May 28, 2022)
  • Argentina Gabriel Pereyra (May 29, 2022 – February 27, 2023)
  • Mexico Carlos Adrián Morales (February 27, 2023 – October 20, 2023)
  • Mexico José Roberto Muñoz (interim) (October 20, 2023 – December 5, 2023)
  • Mexico Israel Hernández Pat (December 5, 2023 – February 21, 2024)
  • Argentina Norberto Scoponi (February 22, 2024 – )

See also

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