Yale, formed in 1910, competed in the Campeonato de Belo Horizonte (Belo Horizonte Championship) up to 1925, when it gave up football. The majority of the players of Yale were of Italian origin and when the Palestra Itália was created, had a total bond to the new club. With the disagreement in Yale, in a rainy night on December 1920, Yale separated and the Palestra Itália (of Belo Horizonte) was born, also known as Palestra Mineiro.
The debut of the Palestra in the lawns of Belo Horizonte was in the Stadium of the Prado Mineiro. It was in a friendly, on April 3, 1921, against a combination from Nova Lima, uniting players of Villa Nova, which was the club of the English, and Palmeiras, another team form that city. The Palestra won 2 v 0. The goals were from Nani (Lazarotti João), in the 16 minute of the first half and in the 7 minute of the second half. The Palestra team was formed by: Nullo, Polenta and Ciccio; Checchino, Américo and Bassi; Lino, Spartaco, Nani, Henriqueto and Armandinho. Nova Lima: Ferreira, Marcondes, Ruanico, Christovão, Bahiano, Oscar, Raymundo, Gentil, Badu, Damaso e Juá.
The first official presentation of the Palestra to the sporting public of Belo Horizonte was in a game against Clube Atlético Mineiro, where the Palestra won 2 to 0. The team of the Palestra contained: Nullo, Henriqueto and Polenta; Grande, Gallo and Checchino; Pederzoli, Parizi, Nani, Attílio and Armandinho.
Only, however, in November 1942, did Cruzeiro Esporte Clube make its first presentation to the world, using the blue-starred shirt, erasing themselves, of the existence of the glorious Palestra Itália. The first presentation as Cruzeiro Esporte Clube happened in November 11, 1942, in the fields of América, a game refereed by João Narciso. Cruzeiro Esporte Clube won 1 to 0 over America, with a goal by Ismael, in the 38 minutes of the first half. Cruzeiro‘s team that day was: Geraldo II, Gerson and Azevedo; Rizão, Juca and Caieirinha; Nogueirinha, Orlando Fantoni, Niginho, Ismael and Zezé Papatela. Manager: Bengala. America: Aldo, Lulu, Pescoço, Cabral, Célio Bizzoto, Du, Coquinho, Alfredinho, Gabardinho, Gerson and Cara Larga. Manager: Jacyr de Assis.
With the inauguration of the Mineirão, the Giant of Pampulha, in 1965, Cruzeiro transformed itself, permanently. It became a national football power, and became well known. The “celestial team” introduced Brazil and the world to stars such as Tostão, Piazza, Natal, Dirceu Lopes, and many others. Cruzeiro became the first great football force in Brazil, aside from the Rio-São Paulo teams.
In 1976, Cruzeiro conquered its first Copa Libertadores de América, over River Plate of Argentina, being vice champions of the same competition in 1977, defeated by Boca Juniors of Argentina. In the Campeonato Brasileiro, in 1974 Cruzeiro were vice champions for the first time, after losing a very confusing, decisive match against Vasco. Later in 1975 once again they were vice champions this time it was a loss to International. In the 1970s Cruzeiro was successful in other championships, like in 1976, one of their finest moments, they were in the Intercontinental Cup, now renamed as the FIFA Club World Championship, for the first time and faced a strong Bayern Munich side who defeated them 2-0 on aggregate (it stayed 0-0 at the Mineirão).
The 80s were not very positive for the club, since the club did not have much success nor won many titles, although the drought did not last long.
Among the top Brazilian football clubs, Cruzeiro has an impressive list of titles that can only be compared to a few others in Brazil. It is undoubtedly the most successful club in present-day Minas Gerais. In 1990 the clubs drought vanished and it initiated a sequence of 15 years earning at least one title per year. That included, two Supercopa Sudamericana (1991, 1992), a South American Recopa (1998), four Copa do Brasil (1993, 1996, 2000, 2003), a Copa Oro (1995), a Supercopa Masters (1995), two Copa Sul-Minas (2001, 2002), nine Campeonato Mineiro (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997,1998, 2003, 2004), a Copa Centro-Oeste (1999), Supercampeonato Mineiro (2002), a second Copa Libertadores de América (1997) and the Campeonato Brasileiro (2003) and many other titles not listed.
There is always a big feud between the two fans, some claiming one is stronger and the other claiming the other is stronger. Overall, Atlético has managed to win 169 derby matches, Cruzeiro has won 139 and there have been 113 draws, out of 420 derbies. Cruzeiro has won over 106 titles (official and nonofficial).
But when the two play it seems like history or statistics mean nothing to the players, because every time the two play a show is truly put on for their fans.
The biggest exploit of the last decade happened in 2003, when Cruzeiro under the command of the respected coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo and captained by Alex conquered the triple crown. For years Cruzeiro struggled to win the Brazilian League, without success. After a few second places, in 2003 they were finally able to win the only title it did not have until then. With 100 points won during the season, and just over 100 goals scored, it will be a long time until another club achieves the same success as Cruzeiro did in 2003. In 2003, besides winning the Brazilian League, Cruzeiro also won the Brazilian Cup and the State Championship to become the first Brazilian team to win the triple crown.
In 2004 Cruzeiro continued to do well, they won the Belo Horizonte Youth Cup, and, with stars such as Argentine Juan Pablo Sorín, won the Campeonato Mineiro. After much glory, in 2005 Cruzeiro did not win a major title, something they’ve been doing since 1990. Not only did they not win a title they fell to 8th in the league in 2005, a bad performance for them. In 2006 with a combination of young and experienced talent, they got of to a good start winning the Campeonato Mineiro, their 34th, now only 4 titles away from archrivals Atlético. They have also got off to a good start in the league table, making some believe they might have a good placement in the table, this year.
Mangabeira was inspired by the clubs' ex-president, Mario Grossa, celebrity known for being very smart and cunning, and he thought the fox was perfect. "He was a guy who never let anyone trick him. He was so sly, crafty, intelligent and clever just like a fox", observed the cartoonist.
The evolution of Cruzeiro’s crest has followed the transformation of their uniforms. The club was born as Societá Sportiva Palestra Itália and so the crest was a rhombus with the initials SSPI. In 1943 however in a game against São Cristóvão, the club started to use a new crest which was a blue circle with five white stars in it, symbolizing the Southern Cross. Cruzeiro used this crest on their jerseys, alternatively switching to loose stars on the shirt many times. As in 2004 the crest has been on the shirts rather than just loose stars. They also changed their crest from just a circle with five stars to having CRUZEIRO ESPORTE CLUBE being written around it. Lately they have been adding features to the crest, like in 2003 when the it had two trophies on its sides, representing two Libertadores conquers. In 2005 they added a crown to the crest along with the two trophies, representing the triple crown title of 2003. In 2006 they dropped the two trophies and just kept the crown on top.
The club's anthem, Hino ao Campeão, was written by Jadir Ambrósio in 1966, in homage to the team of his heart. He never meant for it to become the official anthem, but once fans started hearing it they liked it enough to adapt it as the new anthem. Cruzeiro have also had another anthem that was originally written by Arrigo Buzzacchi and Tolentino Miraglia when the club was still Italian, (-1925), and when it was still called the Palestra Itália. The anthem was published in newspapers in Brazil on May 5, 1922 it was called Hino ao Palestra
|First Division||Position||Pts||Matches played||Wins||Draws||Loses||Goals scored||Goals took|
|3||Niginho||1926–1930, 1936–1937, 1939–1947||207|
|5||Ninão||1923–1924, 1925–1930, 1936||163|
|8||Marcelo Ramos||1994–1996, 1998–2000||151|