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Cruzeiro Esporte Clube

Full name Cruzeiro Esporte Clube

Raposa (Fox)
Celeste (Azure)

Maior de Minas (Minas Biggest) La Bestia Negra(The Dark Beast)
Founded January 2, 1921; 99 years ago (1921-01-02)
Stadium Mineirão, Belo Horizonte
President Gilvan Tavares
Head coach Marcelo Oliveira
League Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
Campeonato Mineiro
Brasileirão, 1st
Mineiro, 1st
Website Club home page
33px Current season

Cruzeiro Esporte Clube (Brazilian Portuguese: [kɾuˈzejɾu esˈpoɾtʃi ˈklubi]), commonly known as Cruzeiro and nicknamed Raposa, 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. Cruzeiro are the reigning Brazilian champion, for two times in a row in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

The club was founded on January 2, 1921 by sportsmen from the Italian colony of Belo Horizonte as a result of the political-administrative crisis within Yale Atlético Clube at the time; several members of Yale decided to abandon the poorly structured club and formed a new one 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. Cruzeiro play their home games at the Mineirão stadium, which currently holds up to 58,170 spectators. Cruzeiro's regular kit colours are blue shirts and white shorts with white socks. Penalty are the kit manufacturers currently.

Cruzeiro is one of Brazil's most accomplished clubs, having won the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A for the first time in 1966, after defeating Santos' Os Santásticos in the final series. 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, 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. It has contributed many key and famous players towards Brazil's FIFA World Cup squads such as Piazza, Tostão, Nelinho, and Edílson. The club is the 10th most valuable club in Brazil, worth over $88 million. In terms of revenue, Cruzeiro is also one of Brazil's richest sports club and the 9th biggest football club in Brazil, generating an annual turnover of over $59 million in 2012.


Cruzeiro's history is traced back to the Italian community living in Belo Horizonte, a city where already some Italian immigrants lived[1] 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.[2]

File:Cruzeiro v Flamengo 1923.jpg
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.[3][4] 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.[5][6] Until 1925 the club would only allow Italian men to participate.[2]

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. 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 club's 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.[5] 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.[10]

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.[5][10] 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.[5][10]

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.[11] The 1980s was the only decade Cruzeiro did not participate once in the Copa Libertadores since the tournament's creation in 1960.[12]

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.[5][10][13] 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.[5][10][13][14]

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.[15] After a disastrous 2011 season, escaping relegation only in the last round after a triumphant 6-1[16] 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[17] and runner-ups,[18] 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 its players were too tired after a long season, losing both matches to 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.[19] 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.[19] 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".[19]

In 1942 Cruzeiro played one game under the name Ypiranga, and for this game a blue shirt with a central horizontal stripe was used.[19] 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.[19] 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.[19] 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.[19]

In 1984 Cruzeiro had the first ever company logo on its shirt; it was the shirt manufacturer's logo, which was Topper.[19] In the same year Cruzeiro had its first shirt sponsor, Medradao. Medradao was only used on the away shirts[19]


File:Southern cross appearing on a number of flags.PNG
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.[20] 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.[20] In 1923, the crest lost its rhombus shape and instead just had the green letters S, P and I.[20] 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.[20]

The crest introduced in 1940 would be the last for Palestra, because the club would soon become Cruzeiro.[20] 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.[20] 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.[20] In the same year, Cruzeiro removed BELO HORIZONTE from the crest; this format was used until 2005.[20] In 2006 to honor its successful 2003 season, a crown was added on top of the crest, to symbolize the triple crown.[20]

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.[20] This was done until 2000, when the actual crest was once again used.[20] 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.[20] Since 2007 the club has used the "loose stars" design on home shirts.[20] 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



See also: Jadir Ambrósio

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, 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."[22][23] 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.


For more details on this topic, see List of Cruzeiro Esporte Clube directors and chairmen.
Name Tenure
23x15px Aurélio Noce 1921-22
23x15px Alberto Noce 1923-24
23x15px Américo Gasparini 1925-26, 1928
23x15px Antonio Falci 1927, 1929–30
23x15px Braz Pelegrino 1927-28
23x15px Lidio Lunardi 1931-32
23x15px José Viana de Souza 1933
23x15px Miguel Perrela 1933-36
23x15px Romeo de Paoli 1936
23x15px Osvaldo Pinto Coelho 1936-40
23x15px Ennes Cyro Poni 1941-42
23x15px João Fantoni
23x15px Wilson Saliba
23x15px Mario Torneli
23x15px Mário Grosso 1942-47
23x15px Fernando Tamietti 1947, 1950
23x15px Antônio Cunha Lobo 1947-49
23x15px Antônio Alves Simões 1949
23x15px Manoel F. Campos 1950
23x15px Divino Ramos 1951
23x15px José Greco 1952-53, 1955
23x15px Wellington Armanelli 1954
23x15px José Francisco Lemos Filho 1954
23x15px Eduardo S. Bambirra 1955-56
23x15px Manoel A. de Carvalho 1957-58
23x15px Antonio Braz Lopes Pontes 1959-60
23x15px Felicio Brandi 1961-82
23x15px Carmine Furletti 1983-84
23x15px Benito Masci 1985-90
23x15px Salvador Masci 1990
23x15px César Masci 1991-94
23x15px Zezé Perrella 1995-2002
23x15px Alvimar de Oliveira Costa 2003-08
23x15px Zezé Perrella 2009-11
23x15px 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 23x15px GK Fábio (captain)
2 23x15px DF Ceará
3 23x15px DF Léo (vice-captain)
4 23x15px DF Bruno Rodrigo
5 23x15px MF Willians
6 23x15px MF Marcos Vinícius
7 23x15px FW Joel
8 23x15px MF Henrique
10 23x15px MF Giorgian De Arrascaeta
11 23x15px MF Alisson
12 23x15px GK Rafael
13 23x15px DF Douglas Grolli
14 23x15px MF Eurico
15 23x15px MF Willian Farias
16 23x15px MF Judivan
16 23x15px FW Bruno Edgar
17 23x15px MF Felipe Seymour
No. Position Player
18 23x15px MF Gabriel Xavier
19 23x15px FW Henrique Dourado
21 23x15px DF Eugenio Mena
22 23x15px DF Mayke
23 23x15px DF Fabiano
24 23x15px GK Elisson
25 23x15px FW Willian
26 23x15px DF Paulo André (vice-captain)
27 23x15px DF Manoel
28 23x15px MF Charles
29 23x15px DF Pará
30 23x15px MF Marquinhos
31 23x15px DF Alex
35 23x15px FW Neílton
36 23x15px DF Fabrício (on loan from Internacional)
23x15px DF Dedé

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
23x15px GK Alan
23x15px DF Thiago Carvalho
23x15px DF Marcos
No. Position Player
23x15px MF Rodrigo Souza
23x15px MF Júlio Baptista
23x15px FW Roni

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
23x15px DF Antônio Carlos (loan to 23x15px Maritimo)
23x15px DF Diego Renan (on loan to Vitória)
23x15px DF Hugo Sanches (loan to Tupi)
23x15px DF Breno Lopes (loan to Fluminense)
23x15px DF Murilo Oliveira (loan to Sertãozinho)
23x15px DF Rafael Donato (loan to JEC)
23x15px DF Gilson (loan to Ponte Preta)
23x15px MF Cristian Alex (loan to 23x15px Maritimo)
23x15px MF Éber (loan to 23x15px Maritimo)
No. Position Player
23x15px MF Élber (loan to Sport)
23x15px MF Pedro Ken (loan to Coritiba)
23x15px MF Souza (loan to Bahia)
23x15px MF Uelliton (loan to Avai)
23x15px FW Ananias (loan to Chapecoense)
23x15px FW Léo Bonatini (loan to 23x15px Estoril Praia)
23x15px FW Pedro Paulo (loan to Atlético-PR)
23x15px FW Dagoberto (loan to Vasco da Gama)
23x15px FW Duvier Riascos (loan to Vasco da Gama)

First-team staff

Position Name Nationality
Head Coach Marcelo Oliveira 23x15px Brazilian
Assistant Coaches Ageu Gonçalves de Siqueira 23x15px Brazilian
Tico 23x15px Brazilian
Goalkeeping Coach Robertinho 23x15px Brazilian
Fitness coaches Flavio de Oliveira 23x15px Brazilian
Quintiliano Lemos 23x15px Brazilian
Eduardo Freitas 23x15px Brazilian
Juvenilson de Souza 23x15px Brazilian
Physiologists Eduardo Pimenta 23x15px Brazilian
Rodrigo Morandi 23x15px Brazilian
Physiotherapists André Rocha 23x15px Brazilian
Charles Costa 23x15px Brazilian
Ronner Bolognani 23x15px Brazilian
João Salomão 23x15px Brazilian
Doctors Sérgio Freire Júnior 23x15px Brazilian
Walace Espada 23x15px Brazilian
Leonardo Corradi 23x15px Brazilian
Masseurs Barjão 23x15px Brazilian
Edmar Antônio Silva 23x15px Brazilian
Hélio Gomes 23x15px Brazilian

Notable players

For more details on this topic, see List of notable Cruzeiro Esporte Clube players.

Former coaches

Records and statistics

For more details on this topic, see List of Cruzeiro Esporte Clube records and statistics.

The player with the most appearances for Cruzeiro is Zé Carlos with 619 appearances between 1965 and 1977.[24][25] One of the goalkeepers with the most appearances for Cruzeiro is Raul Plassman, who played a total of 557 games for Cruzeiro.[26] while current goalkeeper Fabio is not only the goalkeeper holding the spot for most appearances, but also second overall on the list, with 620 games, which also puts him as current player with the most appearances.[26] 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.[24]

Brazilian hall of famer Tostão has scored the most goals for Cruzeiro, 249 between 1963 and 1972.[27] 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.[27] Nelinho holds the record for most goals scored from penalties: 38; and the record for goals scored from fouls: 42.[27] Walter Montillo's 39 goals make him the non-Brazilian with the most goals for Cruzeiro.[27]





Featured Campaigns and Doubles / Trebles

  • Featured Campaigns

- 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

- Copa Libertadores de América:

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

- 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
  • Doubles / Trebles


- Domestic Double

State and League: 1966
State and League: 2014

- Continental Double

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


- Domestic Treble

State, Cup and League: 2003¹[29]

Grounds and facilities

Cruzeiro's first stadium was the Estádio do Prado Mineiro, which belonged to the Federação Mineira de Futebol (FMF).[30] 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.[30][31] Cruzeiro would use the stadium until 1923 when the club built its own stadium, Estádio do Barro Preto.[31][32] On July 23, 1923 Cruzeiro debuted at the stadium in a 2–2 tie with Flamengo.[31][32] 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).[31][32] 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.[31][33]

Since 1965 Cruzeiro play their home games at Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, often referred to as just Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, MG.[34] Cruzeiro shares the stadium with rivals Clube Atlético Mineiro.[35] 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,[34][35] 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.[35] The period after the stadium's inauguration is often called Era Mineirão ("Mineirão Era"), which saw Cruzeiro gain national and international prominence.[36][37] Cruzeiro also holds the attendance record at the stadium, when 132,834 spectators watched Cruzeiro beat Villa Nova in the 1997 Campeonato Mineiro final.[38]

Cruzeiro have had plans to build a new stadium, especially under president Alvimar de Oliveira Costa's tenure.[39][40][41][42] However the state of Minas asked Cruzeiro to stay at the stadium,[43] and after president Zezé Perrella came to the presidency in 2009, plans for a new stadium virtually disappeared.[44]

The Mineirão was selected as a host stadium for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,[45] with renovations beginning on June 25, 2010 and is projected to be completed by December 2012.[46] After the stadiums closing, Cruzeiro began playing home games at the Arena do Jacaré and Ipatingão stadiums, both outside the city of Belo Horizonte.[47] Independência stadium is also being renovated and Cruzeiro will start playing homes games there in 2011 until the Mineirão is ready in 2012.[48]

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),[34][49][50] an administrative headquarters[51] and two social club facilities.[52][53] Cruzeiro has often been praised for having one of the leading infrastructure systems in Brazil.[34]

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).[54] This means that unlike some European clubs and North American sport franchises, the club cannot be sold (Article 1, § 4).[55] Cruzeiro also acts as a social club, which sócios get access to. Currently there are six thousand paying sócios (twenty thousand including family members).[56] 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.[57] Those who have been sócios for over a year, form the "general assembly" (Assembleia Geral) and may vote for club officials (Article 5).[55] After two years of membership, sócios can nominate themselves for the "consul" (Conselho) (Article 16).[55] 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).[55] Politician Zezé Perrella is the current club president.[58]

Cruzeiro was the fifth richest Brazilian club in 2009 in terms of revenue with about R$121.3 million.[59] This is a 29% increase from a 2008 revenue of R$94.1 million[60] and a 56% increase from a 2007 revenue of R$77.6 million.[61] 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).[62] 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.[63][64] Kit supplier Reebok reported pays R$8 million annually.[65] From ticket sales the club will make around R$27 million in 2010.[66] In 2009 ticket sales generated R$18 million[67]

Cruzeiro is one of the most financially stable Brazilian football clubs. As of 2009 Cruzeiro debts total R$97.7 million (€43.8).[68] 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).[69] In 2009 the club was ranked as the seventh most valuable club in Brazil, being worth R$139 million (€55 million).[70] In 2008, the annual salary for the club's players totaled €6.2 million, significantly less than its European counterparts.[71]


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.[72] Most surveys have put the club's fan base between 3%-4% of the overall Brazilian population[73][74][75] (other surveys have put the fan base between 2.9%-5.3%[76]). Considering a population of 200 million people,[77] 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-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.[72] 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 [78] 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.[79] In 2005, 32.8% of the people of Minas Gerais were for Cruzeiro, and 16.9% for Atlético-MG.[80] In 2009, 31% of the people of Minas Gerais were for Cruzeiro and 15% for Atlético-MG.[81]

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.[82] A 2010 survey showed Cruzeiro's fan base had an average monthly family income of R$1,342.45.[83] 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.[84]


  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