Although the competition level warrants relevance because of the prize money, pride of showing the world which league is best plays a big role as well.
Just ask Javier Aquino from Tigres. The former Mexican National Team member is still confident that Liga MX is still better than its American counterpart.
Javier Aquino takes a shot at MLS
Every time teams from both leagues meet, whether friendly or official, the competitive level is high, and games tend to get a little bit dirty, but Aquino showed firmness in his evaluation of the rivalry.
Talking to media before the start of the Leagues Cup, Aquino explained his reasoning as follows:
“At the club level, it is very rare for them [MLS] to win a CONCACAF tournament. This shows that Liga MX is better. Maybe they have better stadiums, press campaigns, players who are more interesting, like Messi. We are still above them and it’s not about proving it and fighting against them.”
Speaking about how Tigres’ club culture is different from other clubs withing Liga MX, Aquino said that with the UANL team, there is always the expectation to win any tournament they enter:
“[The Leagues Cup] is an important tournament because in Tigres you don’t just participate. There is a demand with the institution, teammates, that any tournament that we enter, we have to try to win.”
Aquino: “Messi is a different player”
Speaking about Lionel Messi’s participation in the Leagues Cup and in his experience facing him in previous competitions, the 33-year-old player acknowledged that the Argentine superstar is at another level:
“It’s difficult to be surprised by anything, and Messi does surprise you, he’s at another level and it’s great that he’s in the
United States and with the possibility of facing him at some point.”
Tigres will face the Portland Timbers in their first tournament showdown on July 26 at Providence Park. Their second game of group “West 1” will be against the San Jose Earthquakes just four days later on July 30 at PayPal Park.