Tragic news has come out of Mexico.
Former goalkeeper for Pachuca, Miguel Calero, has officially been declared brain dead. Pachuca released a formal statement on Monday evening confirming what many Mexican media sources had been reporting all night.
Calero has been hospitalized since November 26 after suffering a cerebral thrombosis at his home in Pachuca. For fans who were not aware, Calero retired from professional football just over a year ago after suffering a venous thrombosis in his left arm, but has been an assistant coach for the Tuzos.
In the last decade, Pachuca grew to become one of the most successful clubs in Mexico. If anyone was the face of the Tuzos over those years, Calero was it.
As Dynamo fans, I'm sure we are all familiar with Miguel Calero. He terrorized us in one of the best rivalries we have ever had. Heck, I'd argue that the Dynamo-Pachuca rivalry is still our best ever. We haven't faced each other since 2010, but I'm sure if we meet again, old tempers would flare.
There was something about these two teams when they met. Our club was led by fiery personalities like Eddie Robinson, Craig Waibel, and Pat Onstad. The Pachuca team was loaded with stars during the peak of our rivalry, but no one was bigger than Miguel Calero.
It's funny because for years I did not like Miguel Calero - well, in a soccer sense only, I've never met the man. You see as a fan, I knew he was a threat to Houston's success on the field. I would have never admitted it then (especially to my Father-in-Law, who's a Pachuca fan), but Calero was the best goalkeeper in Mexico.
I can still remember when the Houston Dynamo first faced Pachuca in the CONCACAF Champions League in 2007 at Robertson Stadium. Being an avid follower of Mexican soccer, I was not only excited to see a great international game, but Pachuca was a giant at that time. There isn't a better test of character in an international tournament than to go through the best - and Calero captained the best team in Mexico at that time.
We went on to win an exciting 2-0 game and I felt great about our return leg in Pachuca. So great, in fact, our family took a trip down to Mexico for the second leg, only to leave with a bitter taste of defeat after our 5-2 loss to the Tuzos.
In the Superliga in 2007, I watched my first game in person that ended in penalty kicks. The moment that will forever haunt my mind was not Joseph Ngwenya's horrible attempt at a penalty - it was Miguel Calero waiving his finder like he was Dikembe Mutombo afterwards. Pachuca officially became my new team to despise and Calero was flying the ship.
Calero led Pachuca to a large number of accomplishments you may not be aware of if you don't follow Mexican soccer. El Condor led the Tuzos to four Mexican championships, three CONCACAF Champions Cup titles, 1 Copa Sudamericana, and 1 Superliga title. He was also a Colombian national team member and a Mexican citizen.
While media reports are suggesting that Calero's damage is irreversible and death is inevitable, I felt it was a good time for Dynamo fans to take a moment and remember a great rival.
Miguel Calero is only 41 years years old and leaves a world of memories behind for the soccer community and his family.
He will be remembered by many as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of Mexico. And by this Dynamo fan, he'll be remembered as a man who has hard to beat. A true warrior in between the sticks; the type of guy you wish wasn't on the other team. He made countless saves that just seemed impossible - not just against the Dynamo, but against anyone.
It's only fitting to revisit this great rivalry and remember how great Calero was and how great he will be remembered as.
Here are a couple moments Dynamo fans grew to love.
Here's to our greatest rival Los Tuzos del Pachuca led by El Condor, Miguel Calero.