It is hard to blame Mexican players for staying in Liga MX; the pay is great, team stadiums and facilities are top notch, and every week fans all over the country come out to support their teams. Stepping away from all that, plus the comforts of home and family, is not easy, especially when the future in Europe is uncertain. However, some players take the plunge and make their way across the ocean to try their luck in the old world. This column will focus on some of those players and how they are doing. Some weeks their performances will be less than stellar and the news will not be good, but this past weekend was a great one for most Mexicans abroad.
Andres Guardado, Real Betis:
Guardado has been in Europe for many years since leaving Atlas, currently he is at Real Betis in La Liga. Guardado is a consistent starter in the Betis midfield. This week he played the entire 90 minutes and was an important part of his teams 2-0 victory over Eibar. With the win, Betis is now in 5th place and could qualify for a spot in the Europa League.
Raúl Jimenez, Benfica:
Jimenez has bounced around a few different leagues in Europe since leaving Club America. Unfortunately, he has never been a consistent starter, and on occasions, he has not even made the bench. This week, he made the most out of his opportunity. In the game against Vitória de Setúbal, Jimenez got a goal in the 28th minute to tie the game and then scored the winner in the second half help maintain Benfica’s one point lead at the top of the league.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, West Ham United:
Coach David Moyes has not shown much faith in Hernandez and gives him limited chances to start or even play. But on Sunday, Chicharito came off the bench to give West Ham a much needed boost. It wasn’t until the 70th minute that Chicharito got a chance to come on and it only took three minute for him to score when he unleashed a right footed shot into the bottom corner of the net. West Ham was able to hold on and got a point, keeping them in 14th place in the Premier League.
Antonio Briseño, Feirense:
Briseño is another Mexican player struggling for playing time. This past week he came on in the 79th minute. His team was down until the 90th minute when they won a corner and Briseño headed the ball into the back of the net. The tears flowed from Briseño’s eyes as he celebrated the goal with his teammates. Feirense is in 17th place (next to last) and is in a tough fight to avoid relegation.
Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, PSV Eindhoven:
El Chucky has been on a tear since leaving Pachuca, and this week he maintained his good form and showed why lots of teams in Europe’s top leagues have taken notice of the winger. Lozano is a consistent starter on the right or left wing for PSV. This week he contributed to his team’s hard fought win with an assist and a goal. Lozano is second in the league with 15 goals and seventh in assists with 8. With the win, PSV stayed in first place and 7 points ahead of its nearest rival. If Lozano stays for next season, we could see him displaying his talents in the Champions League.
GOAL GOAL GOAL HIRVING LOZANO pic.twitter.com/SMWMFCPRiT— PSV International (@psveindhoven) April 7, 2018
Guillermo Ochoa, Standard Liege:
Ochoa has been another player that has played in many leagues and teams since leaving Club America. The difference for him is that he has been a starter since arriving in Belgium. Standard Liege has had a mediocre season and their defense has been less than stellar, leaving Ochoa to deal with a lot of shots on his goal. His performances have been inconsistent but he has not lost his starting position. This week his team were defeated 1-0 and remain in seventh place in the league.
Hector Herrera, Jesus Corono, Diego Reyes, Porto:
Hector Herrera played all 90 minutes in Porto’s 2-0 victory. Diego Reyes was left on the bench, and “Tecatito” Corona was out due to injury. Herrera had a decent game but no assists or goals to show for his work. Porto remain second in the league, 1 point behind Benfica. If they maintain their standing they will earn a spot in the Champions League for next season.
Miguel Layun, Sevilla:
It was not a good weekend for Layun or Sevilla as they went down 4-0 to Celta Vigo in La Liga. The entire Sevilla defense was made to look bad by Celta’s attackers and Layun was no exception. He made a couple of errors and was beat easily a few times by the wingers and forwards. Sevilla have a midweek clash with Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Hector Moreno, Real Sociedad:
Hector Moreno has had a very good career in Europe since leaving Pumas at the age of 18. The only team he did not start for was AS Roma in Serie A. This season, he was sold to Real Sociedad and has earned a spot in the starting line up on a weekly basis. In his match for this week, Real Sociedad thrashed Girona 5-0. Moreno was solid for all 90 minutes, but the Girona forwards did very little to trouble him or the rest of la Real defenders. Real Sociedad remains in 12th place in La Liga, outside of the top Europe spots but also safe from relegation.