Celso Ortíz of Monterrey looks on

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CF Monterrey had to make a difficult decision to make room on the squad for Sergio Canales. As the former Real Betis star joins Rayados, the club had to move on from a player not formed in Mexico. The candidate for a one-way ticket out of Monterrey was Celso Ortiz. 

Ortiz had been with the Mexican club since 2016 and recently extended his contract. However, playing as a defensive midfielder and having Mexican players on the roster who could fill his role meant the Paraguayan was the odd man out. 

The LIGA MX side announced the departure of the captain on Monday, catching some people by surprise with how quickly the decision was made. As Monterrey’s captain closes his chapter, teammate Joao Rojas shared his thoughts on Ortiz’s exit. 

“It makes me very sad because today and in the morning I found out,” Rojas told reporters. “First, to recognize what he is as a human being. I am going to speak a little differently because I consider him a friend [and] his wife the same; the family he has is precious. 

“He and several other teammates with their respective wives made life much easier and more comfortable for me and my wife here, despite the difficult times I had to endure. Thank him, I will surely see him before he leaves … and simply say he is a [good] example.”

No reports yet on where Ortiz will continue his football career, as the 34-year-old could either stay in Mexico or head to South America. Still, seeing the veteran in another kit that isn’t Monterrey’s will be a strange look. 

Stefan Medina weighs in on Sergio Canales’ arrival

Monterrey defender Stefan Medina is one of the first on the squad to comment on Canales’ arrival. The Colombian international understands what it means for their team to have a player of Canales’ caliber. 

“It is extremely important, obviously for the group, for the institution, for the city,” Medina told reporters. “We know the reference that Sergio is, what he can contribute to all of us. So it’s a privilege for us to have him on the team.”

The 32-year-old will make his Monterrey debut in Leagues Cup 2023, but it will probably be in the knockout stage if Rayados qualify. Monterrey’s journey in the tournament that pins MLS vs. LIGA MX will begin on Wednesday against Real Salt Lake.

Monterrey will then head to Seattle for their final group-stage match. Canales is expected to be in Monterrey on Tuesday, so there might be an outside chance he will play against Seattle Sounders FC coming off the bench. Nonetheless, there’s a new No. 10 and many are excited to see Canales in action.