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One of the most controversial, creative and popular players in the history of Mexican soccer, Blanco is scheduled to appear in his third World Cup. The playmaker has appeared 109 times for the national team, scoring 38 goals to rank second in team history behind Jared Borgetti's 46. Only two of Blanco's tallies have come during the World Cup. Blanco, the oldest member of the Mexican side, guided the team to the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup title - he led the tournament with six goals - and helped it win CONCACAF Gold Cups in 1996 and 1998. The two-time Mexican Player of the Year saw his popularity grow with a stellar performance at the 1998 World Cup in France, where his "Cuauhtemina" move gained worldwide notoriety. The stout Blanco would trap the ball between both feet and leap between two defenders to get away. He appeared for Mexico again at the 2002 World Cup, but was controversially left off the 2006 roster due to a feud with then-coach Ricardo Lavolpe. The move only spurred Blanco's popularity, while the Argentine coach was criticized. Domestically, Blanco is considered a legend for Club America, the team he led to the 2005 Clausura title while being named league MVP eight times. His popularity among Mexican fans made him a prime target for the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer in 2007. The club attempted to capitalize on his celebrity to tap into the large Mexican population in the Chicago area, and 5,000 fans showed up at the team's stadium for his unveiling. He helped the Fire to three consecutive Eastern Conference finals. Blanco's play also earned him a recall to the national team, and he helped it qualify for a fifth consecutive World Cup appearance.
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