On January 23, 2013 the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol(Mexican Soccer Federation) released a list of four players based in Europe that were called for Mexico’s first game in the Hexagonal stage for the World Cup 2014.
As expected Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, Andres Guardado, Hector Moreno, and Giovani Dos Santos were on the list. Two names were surprisingly missing from the the list as well.
Ajaccio goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa, was missing from the list due to personal reasons.
“I made the decision of Memo not to come because I believe it’s the best for him. His child will be born in the upcoming days, and I prefer to leave him with his club at the moment,” said Josè Manuel de la Torre.
Ochoa is a pretty common fixture with the Mexican national team and responds to the call ups whenever the opportunity arises. This time ‘Chepo’ decided to leave him off the squad. Although he could have benefited from participation with the national team due to the competition(and Cirilio Saucedo was just thrown into the battle for good measure), this event won’t damage his reputation with El Tri(fans and management) or keep him off for good.
Carlos Vela, of Real Sociedad, was missing from the list as well. Many expected Vela to return to the team after an extended absence. Disciplinary problems had seen him banned from the team. He’d been asked to return a few times most notably for the Olympic 2012 football tournament that ended with Mexico receiving the gold medal. Trying to fit in with his teams, consolidating a spot…they were taken(with some hesitation) as excuses for refusing a call up.
It seemed like a perfect time for Vela to make his return. He has scored eight goals this season, provided four assists, played 1516 minutes, and is his team’s leading scorer.
But he said no. Again.
When is enough, enough?
“He has the right to say ‘Don’t call me up because I have a personal problem.’ I honestly don’t know his full reasons, he’ll explain in the future, I don’t know,” said national team director Hector Gonzales Iñarritu.
Carlos Vela had press duties in Spain and said that he had personal reasons for not accepting the call. He wasn’t willing to talk about them now, but said that he would talk about it when the time is right.
Chepo told Raza Deportiva that
“Vela spoke with us and asked us to not consider him for different personal reasons that have come up. We understand the situation, he told us his reasons and it’s valid. He seemed appreciative because we continue to consider him.”
So should he be considered for a spot with Mexico’s national team in the future after he’s refused time and time again?
A reflex response would be ‘no.’
Why would you want a player that has repeatedly turned down the opportunity to represent his country. Why would you want to throw off team dynamics that seem to have largely contributed to Mexico’s recent success?
Why would you want a player that may block the development of others in his spot that are willingly saying that they would like to represent their country?
If Vela is part of Mexico’s golden generation, then other guys are certainly the platinum version.
Let him suffer in exile in Spain. Let him never have the opportunity to play an international match, let him watch football’s greatest party from his couch, and deny him the opportunity of standing on the field and hearing his national anthem play.
Let him lose money from endorsements. Who wants to see a midtable player endorse products?
He’s forever cap tied to Mexico, and if Mexico doesn’t call him no one else can.
But he should be given another chance.
Vela is only 23 years old and has yet(hopefully) to reach the peak of his career. He has found a place where he can develop his skills, where he can be given more and more responsibilities, and where he can go to reach his best form. He will be useful as the ‘old guard’ hang up their cleats. He’ll have experience in addition to his skills and very few can deny that it won’t be needed as the Salcidos and Mazas begin to leave the game.
And at 29 years, recent Mexico national team ‘It boy’ Oribe Peralta won’t be around for too much longer either to stick around with Chicharito.
Vela’s goals and his assists would be welcome too. Who would deny a goal scored via his trademark chip?
Mexico’s stock of players is rising, and he’s not the only talented player in his position, but it’s better to keep the doors open to the possibility of his return. You always want to have the best available at your disposal.
Will Mexico suffer and never win anything if Vela doesn’t want to play? Probably not. Sure, he’s no Lionel Messi in terms of goals but he’s an excellent player to have on your side.
El Tri is a team. He’s not the only important player wearing the green jersey.
And if either side refuses to overcome their pride, everyone will lose out on seeing his talent on the field.
Does the Mexican side have reason to be a little hurt over Vela’s refusals? Yeah, absolutely. It’s not great to be rejected. It has to hurt your pride a little bit.
We also don’t know the specifics behind Vela’s reasons. Though it would be nice to know his explanation, we’re not exactly entitled to know every detail of Vela’s life. Maybe he has family problems, relationship problems that he needs to take care of. If he thinks that those are enough of a hinderance to stop him from joining the national team then it’s a good thing that he spoke up and isn’t joining this time around. I don’t want want him if he has his head somewhere else. I don’t want him at this time.
It could also be that this is just a game against Jamaica. Maybe since it’s not a powerhouse team it was easier to turn down the opportunity and he’ll take it the next time around.
But Carlos Vela also has to realize that the team will not be at his disposal forever. If he continually refuses, then management will stop taking him into consideration all on their own. And then it will be too late.
If he does come back, then good. I won’t hold it against him. If he scores, I’ll celebrate.
There will be a time when the person in charge will not take his excuses and that will be it. Ultimately our personal feelings don’t matter in that sense since we’re not the ones calling up the players. But Chepo is a no nonsense guy that won’t put up with bullshit and we’ve seen what type of influence that attitude can have.
I think he should be given another opportunity if he continues to show that he’d be an asset to the Mexican national team. Refuse another call up during this upcoming World Cup cycle? Then no trip to Brazil in 2014 for him. Refuse another call up after that?
At least he’ll be able to boast about winning the 2005 U-17 World Cup.
After writing this post, Record.com.mx posted an article in which they say that a close source to Vela revealed some of the reasons why he turned down the national team.
According to this source Vela does not want to make multiple long trips in one week if he doesn’t have a place secured with the national team. He’d rather work with with his club team than make the long trips.
The article also goes on to state that Vela and the Federation have worked out the problems that arose after his suspension and that is not the reason why he has turned down offers.
He also doesn’t like the scrutiny that has accompanied him on past trips, especially the attention that he has received concerning his personal life and relationships.
His management has encouraged him to change his mind to get rid of any negativity surrounding his image, but the player has declined to do so.