13 October 2014 19:51
Municipal striker Carlos Ruiz will be keen to put a difficult time behind him when Guatemala visit Peru for a friendly on Tuesday.
The country’s record cap holder has found himself at the centre of a controversy in his homeland, after accusing the president of rival club Coatepeque of failing to pay his players.
“We’re tired, fed up with how players are treated in this country, treated like animals, like dogs,” he was quoted as describing the situation in September.
Issues appeared to have come to a head when Ruiz was served with a six-month ban for his forthright comments, but the national football federation subsequently cleared the 35-year-old to face Peru after he lodged an appeal.
And Ruiz will be looking to make the most of his reprieve.
The former LA Galaxy and FC Dallas frontman is one goal short of being Central America’s record scorer in international football.
He currently shares that honour with Carlos Pavon of Honduras, but could move into the outright lead if Guatemala manage to build on a strong showing at the Copa Centroamericana.
Ivan Franco Sopegno’s men made it all the way to the final of last month’s tournament in the United States, losing 2-1 to Costa Rica having initially gone ahead through Ruiz.
The defeat represented their only defeat since Sopegno was appointed coach in May and the Argentine will be looking to punish a Peru side who could be low on confidence following a 3-0 friendly defeat in Chile on Saturday.
Eduardo Vargas and Gary Medel gave Chile a commanding half-time lead, before the former doubled his tally after the break.
It brought to an end a three-match winning run for Peru, who remain without the injured Jefferson Farfan, while striker Paolo Guerrero, who missed a penalty against Chile, has returned to Brazil as his club side Corinthians face Atletico Mineiro in the Copa do Brasil quarter-finals on Wednesday.