El Conjeo Perez: Middle Age Wonder

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Veteran goalkeeper Oscar Perez Rojas is the talk of the town in Liga MX, after scoring a header against his parent club Cruz Azul to salvage a 2-2 draw for his loan club C.F. Pachuca last month.

Oscar Perez Rojas 6After more than 400 appearances for the club, Cruz Azul deemed the former Mexico international to be too old to serve as their first choice shot-stopper back in 2008. Yet, almost a decade later, now aged 44, Perez is proving that he can still do a job in the top flight, regardless of his age.Remarkably, Perez has played for six clubs throughout his career. Yet, technically, he has only ever been a Cruz Azul player.

;"The Mexican shot-stopper was brought in following the exit of team keeper Olaf Heredia, who had departed for Santos Laguna, a club that were emerging as real contenders in Liga MX. Yet, he would have to settle for the back-up role, with fellow recruit Robert Siboldi taking the starting spot. Regardless, Perez was given the chance to impress in his inaugural campaign, making his debut against Atlas in August 1993 at the age of 20, before making six more appearances throughout.

The next few years would be up-and-down for Perez, but he was eventually handed the starting spot ahead of the 1997 Invierno (winter) tournament. Cruz Azul went on to lose just twice throughout, eventually lifting the trophy with a 2-1 victory over León in the final. Having conceded the fewest ;"number of goals in the tournament, Perez’s place as the Blue Cross’ number one was secured.

The 1997 season proved to be a remarkable one for the club, as they had already secured the 1996/97 Copa Mexico, before going on to clinch the CONACAF Champions’ Cup for the second year running, making them, at the time, the most successful team in the competition’s history. Despite these early successes, they would be the only trophies that Perez lifted with Cruz Azul, as the club struggled to dominate Mexican football in the years that followed.

After 15 seasons with the Liga MX side, his time between the sticks ;"finally came to an end in 2008. Despite featuring throughout the 2007/08 Apertura and much of the Clausura tournament, the final few months saw him displaced by Yosgart Gutierrez, who had been serving as his back-up since 2003.
Unwilling to sit out the remainder of his career on the bench, but also unwilling to depart the club that he had served throughout his entire career, Perez would begin a series of loan moves that saw him join Liga MX sides Tigres UANL, Chiapas F.C., Club Necaxa, San Luis F.C. and C.F. Pachuca.;"

He has since found a new place to call home with the latter, remaining at the club since 2013. Having helped his new team to win the Liga MX Torneo Clausura in 2016, as well as the 2016/17 CONCACAF Champions League, Perez will leave the game with plenty to look back on when he eventually decides to hang up his boots. Yet, with another 25 appearances under his belt in the 2016/17 campaign, Pachuca’s 44-year-old goalkeeper has shown that he still has plenty to give.

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