The Burrito Wrap

It’s time to kick back, eat a tortilla and drink a cerveza as we wrap up some of the week’s top stories.


VAUNTED VELA OUT OF WORLD CUP


Carlos Vela, the enigma of the Mexican national team, has now finally put an end to months of speculation by ruling himself out of Brazil this summer. I don’t know why Vela isn’t prepared to return, nor do I care.


Am I the only one that thinks the phrase is odd? ‘He ruled himself out’, the underlying meaning to those words, and perhaps to Vela’s attitude, suggesting that he is in control of his international career, and he can choose whether he will play or not.


Frankly, if I were in Piojo’s position, there is no way I would have taken Vela to the World Cup even if he had come begging on his knees whilst wearing a jaunty sombrero and carrying some flowers and a box of chocolates.


I find the seeming desire of most fans to see Vela in Brazil extraordinary – at what price would his inclusion have come? What sort of signal would it have sent out to the other attacking players such as Peralta, Jimenez, Hernandez, Gio, Pulido and co? It would publicly undermine the existing squad members, make Piojo look weak and at the mercy of ‘player-power’, and would set a dangerous precedent for the future, “go away and sulk and you’ll be straight back in the XI when you’re over it”.


If Rooney, Xavi, or Ozil, had taken the same attitude they would have been vilified by the fans and media, and there would be no way they could go to the World Cup whether they wanted to or not. Vela is not world-class, he is not a Ronaldo or a Messi or a Suarez, a player that is truly indispensable to the team. He is expendable.


Those bemoaning his absence as a disaster for El Tri are wrong, the national team has more than enough attacking players and creative midfielders to cause problems for teams in Brazil and reach that magic ‘5th game’.


If in the future Vela decides he is prepared to represent El Tri again, it is my belief that there should be at least 3 or 4 competitive squads named before he is even considered for inclusion, let alone a starting position.


Many will disagree, but I am glad I won’t be watching Vela this summer.


QUESTIONABLE REASONS FOR MID-SEASON FRIENDLIES


News broke last week that Pumas will play the MLS’s LA Galaxy in a closed-door friendly game on 11th February. I am unsure of Puma's reasons for playing this friendly.


I am aware that sometimes the big European teams play friendlies during their pre-seasons against sides who are in the midst of their domestic seasons. Normally though, these are teams who will get a significant financial windfall as a result of filling their stadiums, selling the merchandise, and having the game broadcast on TV channels around the world.


I am also aware that teams sometimes use behind closed door friendlies to bring a player back to match fitness quicker if he has missed a long period without football, as Liverpool recently did after Luis Suarez’s ban for biting.


The Pumas vs LA Galaxy match does not tick any of the above boxes. Pumas is a more historic and more reputable team than LA Galaxy and so are not participating for the prestige, there is no obvious financial need for Pumas to play the game, and they do not have a player about to return from a lengthy injury or suspension – so why is the game being allowed happen?


Mid-season friendlies should be banned unless the competing clubs can both offer good reasons for it allowing it.


COPA LIBERTADORES A TRUE TEST OF MEXICAN CLUBS’ QUALITY


I love the Copa Libertadores, and its resumption last week was something I had been looking forward to.


The competition is the second most prestigious club tournament in the world, and I really believe this is the competition Mexican clubs should be focusing on to raise their global profiles. The CONCACAF Champions League is not broadcast in Europe (nor, I suspect, in Asia), and with all the weak Central American sides, it does not become an exciting spectacle until deep into the knockout stages.


I understand the geographical necessity to play in the CONCACAF Champions League and I understand the travel issue with competing in the Libertadores (it is 5343 miles between Tijuana and Buenos Aires, the longest distance I could establish between teams who are likely to compete in the tournament, whereas only 3330 miles between Reykjavik and Tel Aviv, Europe’s longest equivalent).


Nonetheless, South America is home to the best club sides on the planet outside of Europe, and if I were in charge of the Liga MX I would swap the priorities between the two tournaments, sending Mexico's finest to South America and the best remaining eligible sides to North America – allowing the sides competing in South America to reschedule their domestic fixtures by a few days to accommodate the travelling if necessary.


It would allow the Mexican league to get a truer understanding of its position in the footballing world, and is another way to ensure the Liga MX appeals to as wide an audience as possible and remains globally visible, especially with the ever-growing MLS on its doorstep.

By Daniel Price

To continue the debate you can add a comment below or find me on Twitter by following @MexFooty


** the photo is used under a Creative Commons license from ronmacphotos

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