Cuauhtemoc Blanco says this season last with Fire
CHICAGO (AP) -Mexican star Cuauhtemoc Blanco says this will be his last season with the Chicago Fire.
"My contract will be done, and I will leave happy because I have great teammates. It's a decision I made. I'm going to look for other options,'' the 36-year-old Blanco told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday.
"I want to return to Mexico or see offers (in MLS) from another team, but this is my last year with the Fire. I think I've made an impact here. But when this season ends, I'll look for other options.''
Blanco joined the Fire halfway through the 2007 season, after commitments to Mexico's America and the national team, and signed a three-year deal worth more than $2.76 million this year.
Blanco gave no reasons for wanting to leave at the end of the season. He has 12 goals in 42 games with Chicago.
"He's been a fantastic player for us the last two seasons, and we expect that this season will be his best with us,'' Fire president Dave Greeley said.
Blanco was a substitute in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Dallas in the opening round of MLS. Coach Denis Hamlett said Blanco wasn't in top shape because of a knee injury that slowed him during the preseason. Blanco played 10 minutes and scored on a free kick.
Blanco said he liked his teammates but didn't agree with the makeup of the roster.
"From my point of view, I think we need midfielders, but those are the coach's decisions. And we have eight defenders which, honestly, is a lot to me,'' he said.
Blanco retired from Mexico's national team last September following his 97th cap.
He played his first game for the national team in 1995 against Uruguay and appeared in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. He was part of Mexico's winning teams at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1996 and 1998, and helped in El Tri's victory over Brazil at the 1999 Confederations Cup. He was the Mexican league player of the year in 2004 and 2005.