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This article is about the football (soccer) team. For the currency, see Brazilian cruzeiro.

Cruzeiro Esporte Clube is a Brazilian football club, from the city of Belo Horizontemarker, Minas Geraismarker, founded on January 2, 1921. Cruzeiro is the most popular team in the state of Minas Gerais

Even though the club's main focus is football, Cruzeiro also supports a professional volleyball team and semi-professional teams as well, these include track and field, bocha, and bowling.


Palestra years

Early Palestra years

Cruzeiro was born off a political administrative crisis at Yale, one of the first sporting clubs of Belo Horizontemarker, a city where already some Italianmarker immigrants militated. The Italians in Belo Horizonte, wanted to follow the example of the Italians in São Paulomarker, who had established a football club, the Palestra Itália, now Palmeiras. The people of Belo Horizonte wanted the Italian colony in Minas Geraismarker to have its own club as well.

Yale, formed in 1910, competed in the Campeonato de Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte Championship) up to 1925, when it gave up football. The majority of the players of Yale were of Italian origin and when the Palestra Itália was created, had a total bond to the new club. With the disagreement in Yale, in a rainy night on December 1920, Yale separated and the Palestra Itália (of Belo Horizonte) was born, also known as Palestra Mineiro.

Later Palestra years

The initiative was taken by Null Savini, Spagnuolo Sundays, Sílvio Pirani, Júlio Lazarotti, Hamleto Magnavacca, Henriqueto Pirani, Marguerite Funatino and João Ranieri. Other Italians had promised to help in what was necessary, especially financially. Some years later, Yale ended, but in the same time its still lives, through Cruzeiro. On December 20, 1920, the Italian Consul of Belo Horizonte decided on a meeting, which had the presence of 195 people, of which 92 had signed an act. Some proposals had been made and approved, marking a new meeting to be held on January 2, 1921, at the same time and place. On this day, January 2, 1921, about 250 Italians had appeared for the great event, the foundation of the Sociedade Esportiva Palestra Itália, or Societá Sportiva Palestra Itália. The adopted colors, as it could not be otherwise, were the same ones of the Italian flag: green, red, and white (in 2005 the colors reappeared in the training uniforms). The first uniform of the club was a green jersey, white shorts and red stockings. On the shield, in the form of a rhombus, were the initials SSPI. The club only allowed participation of men from the Italian colony, until 1925, when it opened its doors for sportsmen of any nationality

The debut of the Palestra in the lawns of Belo Horizonte was in the Stadium of the Prado Mineiro. It was in a friendly, on April 3, 1921, against a combination from Nova Limamarker, uniting players of Villa Nova, which was the club of the English, and Palmeiras, another team form that city. The Palestra won 2 v 0. The goals were from Nani (Lazarotti João), in the 16 minute of the first half and in the 7 minute of the second half. The Palestra team was formed by: Nullo, Polenta and Ciccio; Checchino, Américo and Bassi; Lino, Spartaco, Nani, Henriqueto and Armandinho. Nova Lima: Ferreira, Marcondes, Ruanico, Christovão, Bahiano, Oscar, Raymundo, Gentil, Badu, Damaso e Juá.

The first official presentation of the Palestra to the sporting public of Belo Horizonte was in a game against Clube Atlético Mineiromarker, where the Palestra won 2 to 0. The team of the Palestra contained: Nullo, Henriqueto and Polenta; Grande, Gallo and Checchino; Pederzoli, Parizi, Nani, Attílio and Armandinho.

Finally Cruzeiro EC

In January 1942, Brazilmarker entered the Second World War 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 directors of the club took 10 months to create a new name and symbol for the club that was entirely Brazilian. The name was changed to Ypiranga, but this name didn't get the affection of the congress of the Advice, so it was removed. In October a consensus of the directors approved the name Cruzeiro Esporte Clube. Cruzeiro is the constellation of the Southern Cross, and can only be seen from the southern hemisphere, therefore, it was not related to Italy. The uniform also switched to a blue shirt and stockings, and white shorts, (vice-versa when away).

Only, however, in November 1942, did Cruzeiro Esporte Clube make its first presentation to the world, using the blue-starred shirt, erasing themselves of the existence of the Palestra Itália. The first presentation as Cruzeiro Esporte Clube happened in November 11, 1942, in the fields of América, a game refereed by João Narciso. Cruzeiro Esporte Clube won 1 to 0 over America, with a goal by Ismael, in the 38 minutes of the first half. Cruzeiro‘s team that day was: Geraldo II, Gerson and Azevedo; Rizão, Juca and Caieirinha; Nogueirinha, Orlando Fantoni, Niginho, Ismael and Zezé Papatela. Manager: Bengala. America: Aldo, Lulu, Pescoço, Cabral, Célio Bizzoto, Du, Coquinho, Alfredinho, Gabardinho, Gerson and Cara Larga. Manager: Jacyr de Assis.

With the inauguration of the Mineirãomarker, the Giant of Pampulha, in 1965, Cruzeiro transformed itself, permanently. It became a national football power, and became well known. The “celestial team” introduced Brazil and the world to stars such as Tostão, Piazza, Natal, Dirceu Lopes, and many others. Cruzeiro became the first great football force in Brazil, aside from Atletico MG, and the Riomarker-São Paulomarker teams.

Golden era

Cruzeiro started to have national prominence in the 60s, when a team with players such as Tostão, Wilson Piazza and Fontana took the club to win five Campeonato Mineiro titles in a row, and the conquest of Taça Brasil on top of Santos of Pelé (winning 6x2 in the Mineirãomarker and 3x2 in São Paulomarker).

In 1976, Cruzeiro won its first Copa Libertadores de América, over River Plate of Argentinamarker, being runners-up in the same competition in 1977, defeated by Boca Juniors of Argentina. In the Campeonato Brasileiro, in 1974 Cruzeiro were runners-up for the first time, after losing a very confusing, decisive match against Vasco. Later in 1975 once again they were runners-up, this time losing to International in the final. In the 1970s Cruzeiro was successful in other tournaments. In 1976, one of their finest moments, they were in the Intercontinental Cup, now renamed as the FIFA Club World Championship, for the first time and faced a strong Bayern Munich side who defeated them 2-0 on aggregate (0-0 at the Mineirãomarker and 2-0 in Munich).

The 80s were not very positive for the club, since the club neither had much success nor won many titles, although the drought did not last long.

Among the top Brazilian football clubs, Cruzeiro has an impressive list of honors that can only be compared to a few others in Brazil. It is undoubtedly the most successful club in present-day Minas Geraismarker. In 1990 the club's drought vanished and it initiated a sequence of 15 years earning at least one trophy per year. That included two Supercopa Sudamericana (1991, 1992), a South American Recopa (1998), four Copa do Brasil (1993, 1996, 2000, 2003), a Copa Oro (1995), a Supercopa Masters (1995), two Copa Sul-Minas (2001, 2002), nine Campeonato Mineiro (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997,1998, 2003, 2004), a Copa Centro-Oeste (1999), Supercampeonato Mineiro (2002), a second Copa Libertadores de América (1997) and the Campeonato Brasileiro (2003) and many other titles not listed.

In this period, several icons of Brazilian soccer wore the club's jersey. Among them, we can mention Charles, Boiadeiro, Douglas, Ademir, Roberto Batata, Ronaldo, Nonato, Dida, Ricardinho, Marcelo Ramos, Alex Alves, Sorín, Fred, Ramires, Guiherme, and Alex.

Rivalry with Atlético

As it is usual in many Brazilian states, there are two main football powerhouses and throughout time they have become greatest rivals. Atléticomarker and Cruzeiro are no exception. It’s the biggest derby in the state of Minas Gerais, and besides Rio and São Paulo derbies, it is one of the greatest in Brazil.

There is always a big feud between the two fan sides, some claiming one is stronger and the other claiming the other is stronger. Overall, Atlético has managed to win 169 derby matches, Cruzeiro has won 139 and there have been 113 draws, out of 420 derbies. Cruzeiro fans claim that in the Mineirao era (The state Stadium) they have more wins over Atletico. Cruzeiro has won over 106 titles (official and nonofficial).

But when the two play it seems like history or statistics mean nothing to the players, because every time the teams play each other, a show is truly put on for their fans.

Modern age: 2003-Present

A game in 2007, against Internacional, from Rio Grande do Sul.
The biggest breakthrough of the last decade happened in 2003, when Cruzeiro, under the command of the respected coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo and captained by Alex, conquered the triple crown. For years Cruzeiro has struggled to win the Brazilian League, without success. After a few second places, in 2003 they were finally able to win the only title it did not have until then, winning 100 points during the season, and scoring just over 100 goals. It will be a long time until another club achieves the same success as Cruzeiro did in 2003. In 2003, besides winning the Brazilian League, Cruzeiro also won the Brazilian Cup and the State Championship to become the first Brazilian team to win the triple crown.

In 2004, Cruzeiro continued to do well, winning the Belo Horizonte Youth Cup, and, with stars such as Argentinemarker Juan Pablo Sorín, the Campeonato Mineiro. After much glory, in 2005 Cruzeiro did not win a major competition, something they’ve been doing since 1990. Not only did they not win a title they ended up in 8th place in the Brazilian league in 2005, a bad performance for them. In 2006, with a combination of young and experienced talent, they got off to a good start winning the Campeonato Mineiro, their 34th state championship, now only 4 titles away from archrivals Atlético. They have also got off to a good start in the league table, making some believe they might have a good placement in the table, this year. Cruzeiro ended up in 10th place. In 2007, Cruzeiro lost the Campeonato Mineiro crown to archrivals Atlético Mineiro in the final, but had a good performance in the Campeonato Brasileiro. Cruzeiro ended up the national league in 5th place, qualifying once again for Copa Libertadores. In 2008, Cruzeiro had a good start in the Copa Libertadores, but were eliminated by Boca Juniors in the round of 16. Cruzeiro won the state tournament defeating Atlético Mineiro in the finals, avenging the previous year defeat. In the Brazilian League, Cruzeiro were contenders to the title up to 3 rounds before the end, when they were eventually ousted from the competition for the title. They finished in 3rd place, qualifying once again for Copa Libertadores 2009, in which won the 2nd place losing to Estudiantes de la Plata.

In 2009, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) ranked Cruzeiro as the best team of Brazil and among the best in the world for much of the year because of its impressive Libertadores campaign. In 2009 IFFHS also released a list of the best South American teams of the twentieth century, ranking Cruzeiro the best in Brazil and seventh in South America.



Fernando Pieruccetti, more popularly known as Mangabeira, created the club's mascot. The mascot is a fox (raposa, in Portuguese). The club is widely known in the country for their mascot, it appears on TV and on websites that have to do with Cruzeiro.

Mangabeira was inspired by the clubs' ex-president, Mario Grossa, celebrity known for being very smart and cunning, and he thought the fox was perfect. "He was a guy who never let anyone trick him. He was so sly, crafty, intelligent and clever just like a fox", observed the cartoonist.


Cruzeiro Esporte Clube's old crest
The evolution of Cruzeiro’s crest has followed the transformation of their uniforms. The club was born as Societá Sportiva Palestra Itália and so the crest was a rhombus with the initials SSPI. In 1943 however in a game against São Cristóvão,the club started to use a new crest which was a blue circle with five white stars in it, symbolizing the Southern Cross. Cruzeiro used this crest on their jerseys, alternatively switching to loose stars on the shirt many times. As in 2004 the crest has been on the shirts rather than just loose stars. They also changed their crest from just a circle with five stars to having CRUZEIRO ESPORTE CLUBE being written around it. Lately they have been adding features to the crest, like in 2003 when the it had two trophies on its sides, representing two Libertadores conquers. In 2005 they added a crown to the crest along with the two trophies, representing the triple crown title of 2003. In 2006 they dropped the two trophies and just kept the crown on top.


See the complete article Historic Evolution of Cruzeiro EC Uniforms


  • Aurélio Noce (1921-1922)
  • Alberto Noce (1923-1924)
  • Américo Gasparini (1925-1926, 1928)
  • Antonio Falci (1927, 1929-1930)
  • Braz Pelegrino (1927-1928)
  • Lidio Lunardi (1931-1932)
  • José Viana de Souza (1933)
  • Miguel Perrela (1933-1936)
  • Romeo de Paoli (1936)
  • Osvaldo Pinto Coelho (1936-1940)
  • Ennes Cyro Poni (1941-1942)
  • Together: João Fantoni, Wilson Saliba, Mario Torneli (1942)
  • Mário Grosso (1942-1947)
  • Fernando Tamietti (1947, 1950)
  • Antônio Cunha Lobo (1947-1949)
  • Antônio Alves Simões (1949)

Cruzeiro anthem

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 Italianmarker, (-1925), and when it was still called the Palestra Itália. The anthem was published in newspapers in Brazilmarker on May 5, 1922 it was called Hino ao Palestra.

Current squad

As of August 27, 2009. Sources from official website.

Junior players with first team experience

Notable players

Notable managers

Records & Statistics

Statistics 2002/03 Historic Season

First Division Position Pts Matches played Wins Draws Loses Goals scored Goals against
Cruzeiro 1 100 46 31 7 8 102 47

Brazilian League Record

Year Position Year Position Year Position Year Position
1971 8th 1981 19th 1991 16th 2001 21st
1972 6th 1982 21st 1992 8th 2002 9th
1973 3rd 1983 17th 1993 15th 2003 1st
1974 2nd 1984 33rd 1994 22nd 2004 13th
1975 2nd 1985 29th 1995 3rd 2005 8th
1976 19th 1986 8th 1996 5th 2006 10th
1977 16th 1987 6th 1997 20th 2007 5th
1978 10th 1988 8th 1998 2nd 2008 3rd
1979 6th 1989 3rd 1999 5th 2009
1980 10th 1990 10th 2000 3rd 2010

Top Appearances

# Name Career Appearances
1 Zé Carlos 1965–1977 619
2 Dirceu Lopes 1966–1977 601
3 Piazza 1964–1977 559
4 Raul 1966–1978 558
5 Joãozinho 1972–1986 482
6 Palhinha 1968–1977, 1983–1984 448
7 Ademir 1986–1991, 1993–1995 439
8 Ricardinho 1994–2002 415
9 Nelinho 1973–1982 410
10 Nonato 1990–1997 392
11 Tostão 1963–1972 378
12 Dida 1994–1998 304

Top Scorers

# Name Career Goals
1 Tostão 1963–1972 248
2 Dirceu Lopes 1963–1977 224
3 Niginho 1926–1930, 1936–1937, 1939–1947 207
4 Bengala 1925–1939 166
5 Ninão 1923–1924, 1925–1930, 1936 163
6 Palhinha 1969–1977, 1982–1985 155
7 Alcides 1934–1946 152
8 Marcelo Ramos 1994–1996, 1998–2002 151
9 Roberto Batata 1969—1976 118
10 Joãozinho 1974–1981 116




  • Campeonato Mineiro (36): 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1940, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1956, 1959,1960, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009

Friendly tournaments


Notes and References

  1. Bowling titles Bocha titles Track and field titles URL accessed June 6, 2006
  2. The 2002 Minas Gerais State Championship had no teams that were playing Copa Sul-Minas: América Mineiro, Atlético Mineiro, Cruzeiro, and Mamoré. These teams plus Caldense -- who won the State Championship -- played the Minas Gerais Super State Championship when the State Championship and the Copa Sul-Minas were finished. The tournament was dubbed the Minas Gerais Super State Championship and Cruzeiro became the champions.

External links

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