When French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac signed for Mexican side Tigres in 2015, the move stunned football fans across Europe.
With 59 goals in 154 appearances for Marseille, it was strange why an in-form international was picking a largely unknown team over lucrative offers to stay in Europe.
But Liga MX fans will tell you that Gignac chose to join one of the most exciting leagues in the world. The league ranks among the world’s top five in fan attendance, and far outstrips the likes of the Premier League in terms of viewership in the United States.
The action on the pitch proves why Liga MX has such a loyal following. Last year’s Apertura final, for example, saw four red cards and a 119th-minute equalizer!
The average passing completion in Mexico is the same as that in the Premier League and Bundesliga, and the Mexican league outranks both its English and German counterparts in several attacking metrics.
Liga MX boasts one key quality that many of Europe’s top leagues do not: parity. 14 different teams have won the league in the last 20 years, a far cry from the dominance of a few teams in the Premier League, where only five teams have won the title since its inception in 1992.
Despite moving to a league of supposedly lower quality, Gignac was selected for France’s Euro 2016 squad. He’s become a cult hero in Mexico, where a passionate fan base is thrilled that a top-level player chose their league.
The Frenchman is far from the only personality that makes the league so exciting, with plenty of colourful characters in the dugouts as well.
Gignac’s manager, Ricardo Ferretti, shot to fame after an explosive press conference tirade last season, and Club Tijuana manager Miguel Herrera is another larger-than-life figure that adds to the league’s appeal.
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