Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Major League Soccer reached an agreement on a one-year contract extension for the former Mexican international to continue playing for the Chicago Fire, it was announced Friday. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Blanco likely isn’t coming back to make less than his 2008 salary of $2.67 million. In a team press release, Blanco said he has enjoyed his two years with the Fire.
“I’m excited to be back next season,” Blanco said. “I’m very happy in Chicago and I look forward to another year with my teammates. I’m optimistic about 2009 and will continue to work hard to bring a championship to our fans.”
Blanco who turns 36 years old on Jan. 17 has scored 11 goals and had 18 assists for the Fire in his two seasons. After the 2008 MLS season, he was loaned to Santos Laguna for the Mexican Primera Division playoffs and Blanco played with the team through the Clausura tournament.
Blanco’s return isn’t just about his production on the field. The Fire are also happy with his impact at the box office. Home attendance has increased by nearly 3,000 per game since Blanco arrived midway through the 2007 season.
There is always a risk to signing aging superstars, but Blanco has been one of the MLS better designated player choices. Based on his performance last season, it was a no brainier for MLS to bring him back for what will probably be his last season.