Cruzeiro reached its 11th national title with the conquest of Série B of the Brazilian Championship this season. This Friday (30/9), the celestial team had defeats by Grêmio (runner-up) and Bahia (third place) to secure the cup six rounds from the end of the Second Division.
Before Serie B, Raposa had already won four Brasileirão titles (1966, 2003, 2013, 2014) and six Copas do Brasil (1993, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2017, 2018). The trophy gallery places the Minas Gerais team in third place in the ranking of the greatest national champions.
Cruzeiro’s first national conquest was the Brazil Cup in 1966. 56 years ago, Raposa overthrew Santos de Pele and won his first Brazilian title. The tournament was a milestone for Minas Gerais football. In addition to putting the talented players in the spotlight on the national scene, the unquestionable title was the club’s passport to its first edition of the Copa Libertadores, in 1967.
In 1993, it was Cruzeiro’s turn to win the unprecedented Copa do Brasil. The knockout competition trophy was raised by then captain Paulo Roberto Costa, in June of that year, after a 2-1 victory over Grêmio, in Mineirão.
Cruzeiro’s first national championship was celebrated on June 19, 1996, when the celestial team won the Copa do Brasil. The 2-1 victory over Palmeiras, at the Palestra Itália stadium, in São Paulo, consecrated a campaign of expressive triumphs against Vasco (octave), Corinthians (quarter) and Flamengo (semifinal).
And it didn’t take long for Cruzeiro to celebrate another Copa do Brasil title. In 2000, Raposa filled his fans with pride by winning the third championship in a dramatic decision against São Paulo. The celestial team won on a comeback, 2-1, in front of more than 85,000 people at Mineirão. The first leg, played four days earlier, ended in a 0-0 tie at Morumbi.
In 2003, the team led by Vanderlei Luxemburgo did what no other Brazilian club has achieved: they won the State Championship, the Copa do Brasil and the Campeonato Brasileiro in the same season.
Like Mineiro, the Copa do Brasil was won undefeated. In the title campaign, Raposa eliminated Rio Branco-RS (1st phase), Corinthians-RN (2nd phase), Vila Nova-GO (eighths), Vasco (quarters), Goiás (semifinals) and Flamengo (finals).
In the decision, Alex unbalanced, and Cruzeiro reached the tetra of the tournament. In the 1-1 draw in the first leg, at Maracanã, shirt 10 scored a beautiful goal. On the way back, at Mineirão, led by the ace, the Minas Gerais club didn’t give any chances and won 3-1 with goals from Deivid, Aristizábal and Luisão.
The two previous achievements did not make the team reduce the pace in the Brazilian. Cruzeiro led in 37 rounds of the Brazilian Championship. In 46 games (138 possible points), the team reached 100 points (72.46% success), with 31 wins, seven draws and eight defeats. São Caetano was the only team that Cruzeiro did not overcome.
Brazilian two-time championship
Led by coach Marcelo Oliveira, Cruzeiro was two-time Brazilian champion in 2013 and 2014. In the first conquest, the celestial team finished with 76 points, nine more than Grêmio, in second place. The following year, which marked the club’s fourth national title, Raposa scored 80 points, ten ahead of vice, São Paulo.
Hegemony in the Copa do Brasil
In 2017, Mano Menezes’s men lifted the fifth cup by defeating Flamengo on penalties 5-3. In the winning campaign, the Minas Gerais club eliminated Volta Redonda-RJ, São Francisco-PR, Murici-AL, São Paulo, Chapecoense, Palmeiras and Grêmio, respectively, before reaching the final.
With the two titles in a row, Cruzeiro became the team that most times won the national tournament (six). Grêmio (five) and Palmeiras (four) complete the list of the most successful.