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Mexican Soccer Star, Blanco, Coming to Chicago

By Todd McClamroch in News on Apr 2, 2007 12:17PM

2007_04_02_blanco.jpgLast month we shared with you the rumors that the Chicago Fire were in talks with Mexican Soccer Star Cuauhtémoc Blanco. The Fire announced on Sunday that Blanco would be coming to Chicago on Monday to sign a Designated Player (DP) contract with the Fire.

The Fire will become only the third team to take advantage of Major League Soccer's Designated Player rule. The rule allows MLS teams to sign a player and have only the first $400,000 of his contract go against the team’s salary cap. The Los Angeles Galaxy used the rule to sign English soccer star David Beckham; the New York Red Bulls also took advantage of the new rule to sign Claudio Reyna.

Fire fans are invited to Toyota Park tomorrow night to see the club's newest acquisition. Fire players will be on hand to share their reaction to their newest teammate. The Fire will present Blanco with a Fire jersey as well. The free event starts at 7 p.m. The parking lot will open at 5 p.m., and gates to Toyota Park will open at 6:30 p.m.

Blanco is sure to help sell tickets for the Fire, though Chicagoist worries that may be one of the only benefits Blanco provides to the club. The aging, 34 year-old striker has had knee troubles for years, and whether he has much left in his legs is debatable. Additionally, Blanco is known for being easily frustrated and could become a problem on the field and in the locker room. He definitely is a player you either love or hate. This is evident in a BigSoccer poll in which 33.65% said they "strongly dislike" Blanco while 33.97% "strongly like" Blanco.

Chicagoist will be anxious to see what Blanco can do for the Fire when he joins the team this July. He will not be with the Fire when they start the season this Saturday hosting the New England Revolution. Blanco will complete the season with his Mexican First Division team, Club America, then join the Fire likely in July.

Chicagoist hopes Blanco can help the Fire score some goals this summer, something they had difficulty doing late in preseason training. Check out highlights of Blanco on