The end of the cycle of the four-time champion: the profound renovation of the dressing room that UC is preparing that includes the goodbye of several symbols

It was the 72nd minute of the match between Catholic University Y University of Chile, when Alfonso Parot made a rude mistake. The winger played a short ball at the start and served it on a tray to Christian Palacios a goal that was crucial. The score sentenced the key to the quarterfinals of the Chile Cup and sealed the crossed eliminationruling out a new target.

The four-time Chilean soccer champion was far from qualifying for the Copa Libertadores, which was the club’s great goal after the poor results of the first semester. The Crusaders were on the rise. The physical, psychological and football improvement was evident, and little by little the ghosts of the terrible start to the season seemed to be left behind. However, a new downturn complicated the aspirations of the cast directed by Ariel Holan.

Until before the National Holidays, UC had five consecutive victories and even went eight games without defeat. However, the good streak is over and now they have accumulated four duels without coming out as winners, which takes them away from the goal of qualifying for the most prestigious event on the continent. The Chile Cup It is no longer an option and the distance with the first three, who qualify for the tournament, seems to be difficult to achieve, so settling for a place in the Copa Sudamericana is an increasingly realistic option.

Both the coach and the Cruzados board are aware that this is the end of the most successful cycle in the club’s history, with four long First Division tournaments won consecutively, an unprecedented event in Chilean football. For this reason, both parties are already working on a profound renovation of the locker room, which will involve the departure of several pillars and symbols of the four-time championship.

Alfonso Parot tries to redeem his mistake before Cristian Palacios’ goal. PHOTO: LEONARDO RUBILAR CHANDIA/AGENCIAUNO

One of the keys to the decline in the team level is the poor transfer market carried out by the institution commanded by John Tagle. After completing the four-time championship, the objective was to vindicate himself in a facet where performance had left much to be desired: the international level. But they did not have the desired success.

However, the purpose was not in accordance with the disposition that the precordilleran cast had to form their team. The market was quite sober, austere, not to say poor. Despite the fact that signings were made that allowed the squad to be extended, it was not possible to deliver a quality leap that would allow to improve the own.

Sebastián Galani played the Super Cup with UC, but did not add any minutes in the National Tournament.
Sebastián Galani was one of the signings of Universidad Católica for this season. PHOTO: ATON

The signings that arrived at the beginning of the season were disappointing. Of Nehuen Paz, Sebastian Galani, Lucas Melano, Christian Cuevas, Nicholas Peranic Y Jamil Assadonly the last three continue at UC. The defender arrived with the complex responsibility of replacing Valber Huerta and his parchments indicated that he could do a good job, but that was not the case. The midfielder, meanwhile, was badly received from the beginning as he came from the U, so he did not get many opportunities and he did not take advantage of the ones he did have. While the Argentine never managed to make a space for himself in the team. Months after arriving, none of them are still in the foothills cast.

The rest has not been preponderant. The only one who managed to add a considerable number of minutes was Cuevas, who had the misfortune of being seriously injured when he was joining the squad.

The incorporations from the beginning of the year failed to materialize and it was not until the winter market that the “drafts” arrived. Mauritius Island Y Cesar Pinares they broke into a team that was far from its best performance. Both showed off in their first appearances with the band, but as the weeks went by their performance leveled off. Gary Kagelmacher, meanwhile, has been the most consistent and a real contribution to the rear.

Lucas Melano, the new UC reinforcement, poses with the crossed shirt.
Lucas Melano was another of the reinforcements that failed to establish himself in the club. Photo: Catholic University.

In another sense, there are some of the banners of the four-time champion that are far from their best level. Luciano Aued, Germán Lanaro, Raimundo Rebolledo and Alfonso Parot have not managed to perform like they used to and seem to have completed a stage. His good performances are now only part of the crossed memory.

The argentinian midfielder went from being one of the mainstays of the UC titles to having a downright bad 2022. Already 2021 had been very opaque individually. A heart problem took him away from the courts the first half of this season and, although his level had already been declining, since he returned to play He has shown his worst version. So much so, that for the rematch with the U, in El Teniente, he was not even summoned. “Technical decision”, sentenced Holan. His contract ends at the end of the year, it is most likely that he will not continue.

While, the left back has had an irregular stay since he returned in 2019, reaching its best level in the second half of 2021, but this year has been far from all that. Very owed, with gross mistakes, this was one of his lowest seasons. He still has a contract for the whole of 2023. However, UC has advanced the incorporation of Eugenio Mena in his position.

The case of the right back and the center back are also one of the most notorious, since their performance is clearly deficient. They were starters at the beginning of the cycle, but then their performance dropped dramatically, to the point that this year they have practically not even been considered in the citations.

Catuto stagnated and it is very likely that he will go on loan, while the Chilean nationalized defender has been injured for a good part of the year and when he had to play he was not up to the task. Much of the crisis crossed in the first half with Cristian Paulucci was due to a string of penalties committed by the former central defender of Palestino, who definitely completed a cycle. Their bond ends in December.

Finally, there are some that have fallen short of expectations. Fabián Orellana, for example, spent months without playing and has also been far from expected. Juan Leiva is another case. The midfielder has not been able to show the level with which he shone in Unión La Calera and, although he is usually in the stellar planes, he has not been able to fully convince, with the complicity of injuries. Both can also come out in this market.

José Pedro Fuenzalida joins them all. El Chapa, captain of the Crusaders, has already announced that next year he will not continue at the Catholic University. An exit that will symbolize, without a doubt, the end of the most successful cycle of the strip team, which made history by achieving the only four-time annual Chilean soccer championship.

Fabián Orellana was expelled at the end of the duel between Universidad Católica and Universidad de Chile. PHOTO: MARCO MUGA/AGENCIAUNO.