Jonathan dos Santos and the Value of Youth

The recent news that Jonathan dos Santos was cut from Mexico’s final World Cup squad in favor of Bofo Bautista caused a lot of anxiety for Barça fans who see him as not just another player, but as a cantera gem whose trajectory towards “world class” status could be hindered by his exclusion from the trip to South Africa. I don’t share those specific anxieties, but I do think it’s a volatile situation that, given his father’s absurd remarks afterwards, suggests a player whose career will be highly affected by this moment. Zizinho is not one to mince words, apparently, but he’s also not one to think them through either and that could damage his son’s future as much as the lack of international playing time.

This isn’t a post about walking away, though (Brian Phillips already covered that better than I could), it’s about why one would cut JDS, a 20-year old up-and-comer, in favor of Bofo Bautista, a 31-year old has-been. The prevailing argument for why you would take Bofo instead of JDS (or, really, the argument pretty much comes down to why you wouldn’t take JDS over someone else) is if you’re not going to play him, why take him? It’s a solid point at one level, but at another, there’s Fernando Palomo’s point: “Ni Jona Dos Santos ni el Bofo eran determinantes para este Mundial. Pero Jona lo podría ser por los próximos tres. Aguirre no vio mas allá.” (Neither JDS nor Bofo will be game-changers in this World Cup, but JDS could be for the next three. Aguirre isn’t looking ahead)

It’s precisely that point–that a currently marginal youth player expected to grow into the squad in the future should be included earlier than when he is capable of making the difference in a crucial match–that is most important to us in this discussion. The value of including youth players is, I think, fairly well borne out by the inclusion of Ronaldo at the age of 17 in Brazil’s 1994 World Cup squad. He didn’t play a single moment of that WC, but his future returns certainly make it seem worth it. That single example isn’t, of course, a good reason to include promising youth players at the expense of established stars.

I do think, though, that if you’re deciding between two marginal players, choosing the one with more upside makes more sense, even in the short term. Why? You not only provide a huge confidence boost for your younger player, but you ensure that the future is well laid out. You can always drop the youth player in the future, of course, if a better prospect comes along, but you often can’t resuscitate careers–a factor you don’t need to worry about for an older player whose career is well and truly wound down.

Take Giuseppe Rossi, for instance, whose Italian international career is perhaps over after missing Lippi’s cut in favor of Fabio Quagliarella (Rossi is 23 and will be 27 in 2014–which might be perfect if Lippi is still in charge, actually): Lippi sacrificed youth and creativity for reliability. That’s a decent enough decision on the face of it because Quagliarella is 27 and has been a solid player for years. Bofo Bautista, however, is 31 and has never been a world beater. I would be surprised if he gets playing time and extremely surprised if he sees more than 15 minutes in a single match. What’s the point of taking him, then? The same would be true, in my opinion, if Quagliarella doesn’t play a minute. There are obviously tactical questions (is Aguirre looking to play more of a 4-3-2-1 or 4-2-2-2, in which case Bofo would be more useful?), but for my money, sacrificing youth in favor of experience makes little sense when we’re discussing marginal players and can, in the end, bite you in the ass.

Aguirre, in this instance, obviously wants players he’s used to around him–Bofo, Cuahtemoc Blanco–but he obviously also relies extremely heavily on the younger players to actually get him through the matches–Gio dos Santos, Pablo Barrera, Carlos Vela, Chicharito–which, to me, suggests he panicked and opted for the more familiar rather than the better. Yes, I have a bias towards JDS, but who has Bofo really impressed? He was left off the squad for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups (notably by Aguirre in 2002), so you can’t argue WC experience is a factor. He’s just slower now than he was when he wasn’t good enough to make it 4 or 8 years ago. That makes sense…

I obviously think Aguirre is an overrated manager (he was meh at Atleti, to say the least), but he’s taking the “I’d rather be comfortable right now than possibly be vindicated by the future” approach and that, I think, is detrimental both to Mexico’s 2010 chances and their future. No, JDS wouldn’t be the one making the difference, but, again, neither is Bofo. Fear of the unknown often causes people from all walks of life to opt for the familiar even when the outcome is obviously not as positive; national team managers are no different. If you want to argue that JDS shouldn’t be included because he’s not good enough, fine, but then who is better? Bofo is not.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.

75 Comments

  1. lovelymofo
    June 2, 2010

    Nice write up! Aguirre did get the team to the WC, but all his other moves baffle me. Its like he picks these older players that have no business being there – Bofo, el Conejo, and to a lesser extent Cuau – to hold them over the younger players heads. Because seriously? Bofo will offer nothing. El Conejo should not even be on this team, let alone wearing the 1 jersey (seriously?). And Cuau, well, we all know my feelings about him.

    Anyway, I’m tired of Zizinho, he’s a negative influence on his sons.

    • Stephen
      June 2, 2010

      Zizinho is just mad that his sons have little chance to ever playing with Brazil anyways, much less Spain, so he settled for Mexico, and they let him down too.

  2. Stephen
    June 2, 2010

    I wasn’t shocked when he dismissed JDS, because of what you mentioned, Aguirre wants the familiar, the players that Mexico has been seeing playing for a few years, what the “people” wanted.
    Bofo scored in a friendly, two goals, in a miserable pitch, so Aguirre was definitely biased by this. Also JDS, is our youth and all but he did not get that many minutes, so thats another thing.

    • Luna
      June 2, 2010

      I disagree with what the people want part. It’s an uproar in Mexican media and people are killing in basically saying, futa madre, ¿el bofo? and ¡not Jona!

      But I agree with the fact that Aguirre is going with the familiar, but seriously Bofo.

      To me this isn’t even about Jona it’s about Sinha, really no Sinha, no De Nigris?

      Ok about Zizhino is famous for threatening to pull his sons from the Mexican national team. He really is a liability for their career.

      • ElShowDeJason
        June 2, 2010

        Zinha and Aldo would have been great squad players.
        I actually would rather Zinha than Cuau.

  3. ElShowDeJason
    June 2, 2010

    not just Bofo.
    Alberto “El Venado” Medina
    Torres-Nilo
    Ricardo Osorio
    Aguilar.

    I agree that if you are going to cut one of two marginal players, you should use the last slot as an investment (JDS)
    The prevailing opinion seems to be that Aguirre OVERLOOKED this by taking bofo instead. on the contrary, I believe Aguirre has no intention of continuing on wth Mexico later, so he has no concern over the future. He wants the group that will give him the best chance in the here and now. (bofo) Aguirre, after all left us mid WC in 02 to go to Osasuna!
    the final view on this is that It wasn’t Aguirre’s call at all. Everyone sit down and get ready for this. Mexico is corrupt. Yup. the FMF is run by the club owners. The most powerful ones being Televisa who owns Club America among other Clubs, and Vergara who owns Chivas, and is filthy rich. So, because they have the vote, they run the FMF. If televisa wants Blanco in the World Cup, Blanco goes. And Vergara, I imagine, wanted both Bofo and Medina on the roster. if the two options are a youngster who has never played in the Mexican league, or two players who have played their entire careers in Mexico, the clubs will side with the domestic players.
    I don ‘t have a hard time believing this. aguirre, after all did not announce this, and made no press conference, the higher ups did, and spoke super slowly as to watch their words very carefully.
    sadness.
    It is not Mexico’s mediocre skill that prevents them from succeeding, but the greed, and corruption of the Management.

  4. Miguel
    June 2, 2010

    ha. i’ve never been more pissed @ a player scoring a brace than i was @ el bofo during that gambia game. it was a weak ass brace to boot. that aguirre let the result against a SECOND STRING gambia sway his decision, the decision to bring yet another striker to the world cup, is retarded & completely shortsighted. oh well. can jds join the spanish national team now? no. the brazil team? nope. he’ll make amends in four years w/whoever the mexico national team coach is & all will be right in the world again.

    • IS
      June 3, 2010

      Actually, I understand that a player is only tied to a national team after playing an ‘official’ match, not a friendly. So theoretically, he could still play for Spain / Brazil – however unlikely that is.

  5. Euler
    June 2, 2010

    The value of including youth players is, I think, fairly well borne out by the inclusion of Ronaldo at the age of 17 in Brazil’s 1994 World Cup squad.

    At nearly all levels of football, it’s extraordinarily difficult to think long term. There is just such little patience and managers are now sacked for reasons that are often marginal at best and arbitrary or even vindictive at worst.

    And without long term thinking is almost impossible to do anything that makes strategic sense. This has been one of Barca’s greatest advantages. Friction may develop as elections come up, etc. but overall the club has a direction and pathway that compared to other clubs is consistent.

    At the national levels it’s even worse because short international tournaments of 7 games or less determine the fate of an entire project. Ultimately, what incentive does Aguirre have for thinking long term? As such, he just does what makes life simplest for him now.

    The example of Ronaldo in ’94 is an interesting one. I maybe misremembering, but I believe that his inclusion on that club became something of a side show. The Brazilian press made him not playing a fairly large story and off the field Ronaldo wasn’t the most mature of guys and became something of a distraction. I remember reading somewhere that it was those issues which in part influenced Dunga not to take Neymar this world cup. Dunga sees his job as winning this world cup. Why risk any distractions for a kid who is not going to play but has already been a huge story in Brazil? Afterall, it’ll likely be another manager leading Brazil in 2014.

    • Aeneas
      June 2, 2010

      It will certainly be another manager in 2014 if Dunga sticks to his word:

      “Nothing will change my mind. Not even winning the World Cup. My commitment to the Brasilian Football Federation ends after the 2010 World Cup.”

  6. drew
    June 2, 2010

    speaking of jds…he’s signed a new deal!

    • Eklavya
      June 2, 2010

      What? Really? Where did you read that? Yaaaay! 😀

    • Kxevin
      June 2, 2010

      Of course he did. We have apparently decided to cut bait on Assulin, Caceres and Adriano (sorry, he was never Henrique to me).

      Assulin is surprising. For a while, he was thought to be something approaching Messi. Now he appears to be gone.

  7. Eklavya
    June 2, 2010

    JDS renews!!! YAY!! 😀

    *http://www.fcbarcelona.cat/web/catala/noticies/futbol_base/temporada09-10/06/02/n100602111356.html

    Isaiah did you predict this? 😀

    • Luke
      June 2, 2010

      Great news. This may have actually been ironed out long ago, but with JDS no longer in WC contention, his biggest bargaining chip was out. Either way, excellent news.

  8. lev
    June 2, 2010

    mmmmmmm…..
    i like JDS and all but the kids has not yet even played a full match in any top domestic league. As such I find it difficult to justify his inclusion in the squad. The arguments of “think about the future” are cute and all, but this is the World Cup, not summer camp. imho.

    • vicsoc8
      June 2, 2010

      While this is true in many countries, you have to look at Mexico’s unique situation.

      Mexico isn’t known for churning out top of the line footballers. When it does it needs to cultivate the talent as much as possible. Really, Mexico is one of the nations that needs to constantly be thinking about the here and now and the future in order to maintain quality or possibly get better.

      • Luna
        June 2, 2010

        I disagree. I actually think Mexico’s problem has more to do with ElShowdeJason’s comments. It used to be quite impossible for our best players to go to Europe for instance because of the way contracts were held. Clubs continue to dominate the Mexican federation as Jason points out and they use their influence. Mexico has talent, that’s no doubt, but the issue is at the foundation, one about system, management, and sadly corruption.

        Ok going off to sulk

        • lovelymofo
          June 2, 2010

          Ha, Mexico’s national time makes me sulk-y too. Oh wells. What can you do. I just hope to witness some pretty football, hope to see Terry fluff a penalty or two, hope to see the Portugal self-destruct with all their whining, and hope that Spain wins it all. Not too much to ask for right?

          • Luna
            June 2, 2010

            Nah not too much to ask for. I hope Gio, Vela and Chicharito shine!

        • ElShowDeJason
          June 2, 2010

          yeah… I disagree as well, Mexico does make talented players, but as I will explain in a post down there vvv the system doesn’t foster career growth.

    • Luna
      June 2, 2010

      This is what I keep returning to. However, my issue isn’t with the exclusion of Jona, but with the inclusion of Bofo at the expense of other players.

      Check this out. Mexico called up 3 midfielders, 9 defenders, 7 forwards, and 3 goalies….

      What boggles my mind is the exclusion of Naelson Sinha who’s been tearing it up with Toluca. He’s a midfielder and has been crucial in so many national team matches. A great midfielder. Instead we have “Bofo” Bautista who plays for Chivas and has not been tearing it up, at all.

    • lovelymofo
      June 2, 2010

      I can see both view points, but lets put it this way. Is anyone deluded enough to think Mexico is gonna get very far in this WC? I’m not. And they’re the national side I’ve always supported.

      Up thread there’s talk about the FMF being corrupt and that’s a no-brainer. What I don’t get is that even if FMF is dictating who goes to the WC, Aguirre should have final say on who actually plays. So, I don’t want to see el Conejo or Bofo even touch the pitch. And if Cuau HAS to play, it better be as something of a 20 minute sub.

      ARGH. Nothing riles me up more than the Mexican national team. I think to myself, we have some quality players!, but then they disappoint. I was happy with the performance in the WC – we may not have gotten very far, but that match against Argentina was awesome. It was one of the most enjoyable matches I watched, even with Mexico losing.

      But blah blah blah.

      Yay for JDS renewing. I think he’ll develop into a great player, given the opportunity. Just ignore your Dad!

      • lovelymofo
        June 2, 2010

        I meant to say the last WC (2006).

      • Luna
        June 2, 2010

        In my jaded view, of course the FMF dictates part of what happens. They pay the money after all. Aguirre has come up in this system, knows it quite well.

        I agree the Mexican national team riles me up as well, b/c I know the potential but I have to suffer along with the entire stupidity and idiots that surround our lovely Tri!

        I hope Gio and Jona realize they need to drop their dad as agent! He’s not good for them.

  9. Carles P
    June 2, 2010

    Great Write-up. I was just going through the internet rounds trying to get the full story. I think Aguirre made a bad call there (whether it was him or the federations call, who knows) becuase he not only showed his short-sightedness by making that decision, but he also upset (probably) his most talented player (Gio) at the same time.

    I also think Aguirre/FMF could have been more sentimental by bringing Jona (even if he was not on the official roster) along for the trip with the team, instead of letting him go back home ALONE.

    • Luna
      June 2, 2010

      We have better midfield options that didn’t get called up sad to say.

  10. Carles P
    June 2, 2010

    What is interesting is that when you go abouts the ‘internets’ reading the official squad lists for every country going to WC you hear the same stories (outrage over this player or that player that should have gone). Brazil is having the same issue with Dunga’s selection (ommision of some key players playing in the Brazil championship {the two Santos young starlets}) and Italy with Rossi, etc.

    I guess you cannot please everyone. I do think Zizinho (JDS/GDS father) needs to step away from managing his kids because his feelings are intertwined with “business” decisions and as his kids grow and he has to be more involved in shaping careers, it is asking for a wrong decision (from his kids point of view) to alianate his kids from his father.

    Just a thought!

    • June 2, 2010

      The crucial difference is that Dunga had extremely talented players to choose from who weren’t Neymar and Ganso. The same can’t really be said of Aguirre, who was choosing between basically an aging not-that-great-in-his-prime player and an up-and-comer.

      I confess that I don’t know who Ronaldo was picked over in 1994–that was before my footballing time–so perhaps these same questions were raised back then, before he became the great player he obviously turned into.

      I’m not specifically arguing about FMF/Aguirre, really, but rather the concepts behind why choosing a younger player makes more sense in the long run.

      • Carles P
        June 2, 2010

        Agree on the Brazil thing. Personally, I hate Bofo. Never was that good. Probably has something to do with FMF politics and the fact that if a player who is on a Mexican team and does well at the WC, the owner of the club has a lot more to win by selling him at a “high”.

        • Carles P
          June 2, 2010

          Oh, and for those who don’t know the FMF is made up of all the owners of the various Mexican 1st division teams.

        • ElShowDeJason
          June 2, 2010

          “Personally, I hate Bofo. Never was that good”

          Clearly you never saw Morelia’s strike partnership of Bofo and Navia in the early 00’s. Bofo was awesome, and could strike the ball from anywhere and make it in. He was the support striker, with Navia poaching, and poaching well.

          And then Bofo went to Chivas, Navia to America where they each had one or two successful years, and then sucked.

          • Carles P
            June 2, 2010

            I remember there was lots of hype with him, but the games I watched (mostly Chivas games) he was not impressive. I also hate the Chivas, so that had something to do with it (grew up idolizing America and ‘Zague’ way back when…).

          • ElShowDeJason
            June 2, 2010

            Yeah. he was a great player playing great soccer.
            Then he was a star making great paychecks. The soccer didn’t matter too much considering how many Jersey’s he was moving.
            Think Real Madrid Ronaldo. (complacency and $s killed a career)

      • ElShowDeJason
        June 2, 2010

        I’m going to respectfully disagree.
        There are others. Left out not because they aren’t good enough, but because they aren’t big enough stars, or play for the right team.
        Pavel Pardo (CM, of America, formerly of Stuttgart)
        “Hobit” Bermudez (Winger, Atlante, U-17 WC champ)
        Patricio Araujo (CM, Chivas, Captain of U-17 WC champs)
        Aldo de Nigris (ST, Monterrey)
        Antonio “Zinha” Naelson (CAM, Toluca, starte during ’06WC)
        Nery Castillo (AttMid, Shakhtar Donetsk)
        and more.

        • Miguel
          June 2, 2010

          el hobit!

          i wonder what aguirre’s beef w/pardo was, tactics aside.

          • ElShowDeJason
            June 2, 2010

            pardo and cuau can’t pla together, which is why Blanco is in the 2nd Div, instead f back with America.

  11. ElShowDeJason
    June 2, 2010

    I don’t know if you two would agree (Lovelymofo and Luna, and I single you out because you two seem to know about Mexican footy)

    1. I think that one of the biggest problems, apart from the poor Management (or maybe, because of it), with the Mexican national team is mentality.

    I mean, what do top players really have to play for? Playing for Chivas or America is not that great of a reward. and that sometimes is the pinnacle, because America and Chivas will make it impossible for their star Mexicans to leave.
    How much better off would Ochoa had been if America would have let him leave to Europe 3 years ago? I honestly thought he was better then than he is now.
    Same thing could be said about El Gringo Castro and Oscar Rojas, at a point, they were Europe-quality. but they were not allowed to leave to Europe. I think knowing you’re good enough, and being held back is absolutely detrimental to their mentality. Now, neither of them are in the 23.
    Chivas not only doesn’t often let their stars leave, but they constantly try to bring back the exported Mexicans. They brought back Galindo, pursued Gio, have been pursuing Nery Castillo for years, etc.
    And so obvious is this, that some Mexican players are happy enough just to make it to one of the big Mexican teams and just become complacent.
    The ones that do make it out, realize that they could be earning more money, and fan support in their home country where they are comfortable, than in Europe.
    Plus, knowing that they have more opportunities to get into the NT by being a starter in Mexico than a bench-warmer in Europe, provides even less inspiration to risk leaving.
    The whole system creates a terrible cycle that perpetuates the bad mentality.
    We end up having a National Team full of Domestic players wishing they played in Europe, European players missing home and wishing they had more game time, and mediocre squad players.
    (if anyone want’s any specific examples of such players in any of the given situations i gave, copy and paste a quote, and i’ll try to give multiple examples of such players)

    2. This one is short, because I don’t wan’t to give my corruption speech again. But Politics are at work that keep certain players out.
    The only player the Mexico has that has the technique, ability, and experience to be a tempo-setting, hard-tackling, long-shot using center-midfielder is Pavel Pardo. But he and Cuau aren’t best friends, so he doesn’t make it.
    Should Oswaldo Sanchez be in the 23? debateable. Is he a more deserving selection than Conejo Perez? DUH. But Blanco doesn’t like him. And Santos doesn’t have the pull in the boardroom that America and Chivas do, that’s why Vuoso stays home, and why Mexico doesn’t expedite La Hachita Luduena’s citizenship process in time. Zinha? sorry Toluca doesn’t have the pull either.
    A lot of talent was excluded based soley on politics.

    3. My last point, is usually the one I cite as the biggest problem Mexico has. And it’s probably caused by point number 1. It is the missing generation of potential stars that never materialized. Again probably due to the FMF’s oppressive system that doesn’t foster growth.

    Like England (hehehe), every 6 months the Mexican National team or the Mexican league has a new starlet that is going to have a future, and do big things. a year later, when you hear the name you say “Oh yeah, that guy… where is he?”
    Jaime Lozano. Break out star with Pumas. Plays Left Back, CDM, Left Wing. Set Peice Specialist. takes Ramon Morales’s spot on the NT. big move? to Tigres, who have low ambition, but lots of cash. gets injured a month befoe Germany ’06, and he becomes no one.
    Gonzalo Pineda. Another Pumas LeftBack/ Defensive Mid. Big money move to Chivas. Small stint with NT. Never goes to Europe. Career done.
    Francisco “Kikin” Fonseca. Breaks out with Pumas. Starter for NT for a while including Germany ’06. Goes Benfica, but life is hard where you don’t speak the language, aren’t an automatic stater, and haven’t earned the fan’s love yet. returns to Mexico. Career dies.
    Hector Altamirano
    Fernando Arce
    Antonio de Nigris, R.I.P.
    Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista
    Alberto “Venado” Medina
    Luis Angel Landin
    Jose de Jesus Corona
    Aaron Galindo
    Omar Bravo
    Nery Castillo
    etc.
    etc.

    I’m upsed again :-/

    In Conclusion, as long as the FMF’s (club owners) priority is that the club over the national team (Cash over national pride), and whil we’re at it, while the Mexican players have the same priority (cash over career advancement), it will be stuck in an endless cycle of Mediocrity.

    • ElShowDeJason
      June 2, 2010

      oops… i didn’t even finish part 3.
      so… with the whole missing generation, our National team is stuck with 29-36 year olds, who have experience and technique, but lack athleticism and stamina, and the wonder kids who are uber-talented, but don’t have the tactical awareness, knowledge of how to use space, pressure, and or killer instinct in front of goal. We have NO players in their prime that are going to the World cup. Or any players in their Prime AT ALL!

      • lovelymofo
        June 2, 2010

        I think you covered it all pretty nicely there. I really miss having Pavel Pardo on the team, he’s such a great player. And it saddens me that someone like Cuau can throw his weight around like that and influence who can and cannot play with the national team. I would ask why Rafa doesn’t have that type of leverage, but it’s probably because he plays outside of Mexico.

        And it probably is a mental thing, would explain all the losses to the US, who while extremely disciplined and athletic, don’t have higher quality players than Mexico.

        In my observations, on top of everything you’ve outlined and the lack of strong finishers in our front line, the biggest problem Mexico has is that they play at the level of whoever they’re playing. They have the ability to elevate their game against good teams, but then just totally stink it up against the lesser teams. It may have to do with tactics, but I think any successful team has to play at a consistent level.

        I think we could take a look at the Sub-17 Mexico team that won (with Gio and Vela) and try to learn a lesson from them. Clearly the FMF wasn’t going to totally eff that up, since most of these players weren’t playing for any senior teams yet (notwithstanding their ties to various Mexican and European clubs). They also avoided all the psychological traps of the ‘elder’ national team.

        I would say that maybe next WC we’ll have a good team, full of players with experience, but I tend to say that every four years and it never comes to fruition.

        I hope that the Dos Santos brothers and Vela stay away from the Mexican league and that other stand out players are able to leave when (if) there’s interest from Europe. I think Memo Ochoa would’ve benefited from playing outside of Mexico.

    • Carles P
      June 2, 2010

      Nice breakdown. Have to confess to not following La Liguilla very much. Your assesment makes a lot of sense.

      Question: Do you think the system (FMF) should be re-organized to exclude conflicts of interest (such as owners of clubs being head of the federation)? I know it probably will never happen.

      • ElShowDeJason
        June 2, 2010

        should it? definitely.
        will it happen in my lifetime? No

        Another problem not mentioned is that in Mexico, a rule that is supposed to help Mexican talent stagnates it.

        like all leagues, clubs must field a certain number of domestic players. In Europe, you must field 8(?) EU players to start every match.
        In Mexico you must field 8 Mexican players. While this sounds great, it also means that Big teams are less willing to sell their Mexican stars to European teams, because that it will be damned hard or damned expensive to go find a suitable, seamless, and MEXICAN replacement.

    • Miguel
      June 2, 2010

      i stopped following mexican futbol after el chelito delgado left to lyon :/ depressing.

      • Luna
        June 2, 2010

        I have a love/hate relationship. Where I am from we never had primera division until we got Los Indios. They did so well, but now have fallen to liga de ascenso, so we follow, but shi, we really need something to cheer about in good ole Juaritos!

        By default I root for my mom’s team Santos and like the football of Toluca and Pachuca.

    • Luna
      June 2, 2010

      Wow, I couldn’t agree more! Ok here’s my response:

      1. Agreed. Mentality has always been an Achilles’ heel for the Mexican team. There’s this weird self-defeating, complacency thing that can happen. Not always, but it does. I heard this saying and it sums it up nice: ¨Jugamos como nunca perdimos como siempre¨ We played like we never have, but lost like always.

      America & Chivas make it near impossible for players to leave. Like you mentioned their ties to big
      On Ochoa-he should have left. he’s stagnant, as has been the case with every good goalie coming out of Mexico, no growth. I mean if you see the same kind of player and game all the time you aren’t going to grow as a player.

      El Gringo Castro and Oscar Rojas: This is the case with so many of our players. Or they go and have to overcome this huge stigma from going and fail and give up quickly. I have seen this happen to frequently.

      Nery Castillo needs to stay away from Chivas, but then look, it cost him being out of Mexico, I think, being called up.

      Some players become complacent because the pay is good, they are the top stars in their home country, and don’t have to struggle with adjusting. At least this is how it’s sold to them…like you said it comes down to an issue of mentatlity

      2. Aguirre is known for his favoritism, but yet he can get away with it. Do you remember all the politics around La Volpe, b/c he was Argentinian, and the FMF was trying to reign him in but he was really vocal? Say what you will for La Volpe, but part of his conflict was his conflict with the FMF and wanting more control.

      “Should Oswaldo Sanchez be in the 23? debateable. Is he a more deserving selection than Conejo Perez? DUH” OMG THIS!!! I love conejo for purely nostalgic reasons, but c’mon the dude is what like 5′ tall and 36. He’s reflexes that earned him apodo conejo no longer apply! LOL

      You hit the nail on the head, Chivas and Americas players = big revenue for these teams. I am a fan of Santos, hell my ma is from La Laguna, and Toluca, damn the Cardozo days, brilliant! But like you said, not enough pull, but the footie Toluca has been playing, Sinha, wow, but we know quality doesn’t = national team all the time.

      3. “Again probably due to the FMF’s oppressive system that doesn’t foster growth.” This is it exactly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Jose Ramon, Feitelson, or others talk about this, it’s our constant in MF.

      Francisco “Kikin” Fonseca: And to boot popular with the ladies, lol

      Hector Altamirano
      Fernando Arce
      “Antonio de Nigris, R.I.P. (so sad)
      Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista (now just aged and slow
      Alberto “Venado” Medina
      Luis Angel Landin
      Jose de Jesus Corona
      Aaron Galindo
      Omar Bravo
      Nery Castillo (I still have hope for him)
      etc.
      etc.”

      Wow this list is a bit depressing, so much freaking potential but no real system interested in the talent to develop. This is why U.S. soccer has caught up leaps and bounds to MExico, b/c they respect the system of development and don’t have the FMF like in Mexico that has a different agenda. Just good enough makes the right amount of money to keep the fat cats happy, our players content, and if you don’t play by the game, you get ostracized, pushed out, just plain miserable.

      But I guess at the end of the day, I live by the Mexican fan’s crazy sense of maybe this is the one~

      • Luna
        June 2, 2010

        woops I meant ties to deep pockets, like you mentioned televisa, you have other teams with ties to tv azteca, it’s the same ole politics that get played out at large in Mexico, 🙁

  12. vicsoc8
    June 2, 2010

    Anyone have an update on our other Athletic players?

    JDS – signed
    Thiago – thought he was close to signing, anyone know?
    Victor Vasquez – I don’t think he is going to sign.
    Assulin – no idea?

  13. DontPanic
    June 2, 2010

    So, it seems Rafael Benitez was just sacked. Expect even more rumors about Torres/Mascerano to Barca.

    • Miguel
      June 2, 2010

      now’d be a great time to grab mascherano. i welcome those rumors now that i’ve come to grip w/el yaya’s departure.

      • Kxevin
        June 2, 2010

        I’d already come to grips with his departure as soon as his agent started talking crap, and I saw the way he was behaving during celebrations after matches, which was rather aloof. And you could see the guys teasing him about it, trying to draw him in, but it wasn’t working.

        The sign of an unhappy star.

  14. jnelson
    June 2, 2010

    So JDS renews right after being cut from the Mexico WC squad. I hear conspiracy theorists calling.

    I am very disappointed JDS was cut, for I actually believe he could have made a difference in Mexico’s side. However, I am not too surprised or upset that Bofo got the call up over him. Bofo does not score with grace, but comes through when his team (Chivas) needs him, scoring goals, although scrappy and clumsily. His pace and lack of physical fitness is surprising though. There are 22 other players ahead of JDS. Do all of them deserve to go ahead of him?

  15. Kxevin
    June 2, 2010

    Just as my own “home team” aside, the quality and knowledge present in the Mexican NT commentary makes me proud to be part of this space. Too cool for words.

    –As far as I know, Thiago’s signing is imminent. Dos Santos was supposed to be more difficult, so if he signed, expect Thiago to come very soon. We are willing to let Assulin leave, as he is being very difficult. An admirable tack of the club seems to be, at all levels, if you don’t want to be here, we don’t want you here and will facilitate your exit.

    • jnelson
      June 2, 2010

      Awesome news. What has happened to Victor Vazquez? I’ve got a feeling if he gets a chance during preseason, he could break out this year. As I put on my BS.com thinking hat, he could be next year’s P! Actually, the headline should read “Victor Vazquez tipped to be next P!: Will there be room for Cesc?”

      As for the sources saying Jonathan Soriano might get playing time this year, that interests me. He will be 26, correct? Also, I wonder about the futures of Elvis, Espasandin, Rueda, Nolito, and Benja. I get the feeling all but one will remain in the B team or move on to a lower Liga/high Adelante team. Maybe Soriano is the one from that group to make the jump, who knows. Back to the JDS renewal: that is awesome. If we can sign Thiago as well, then we are set. Think Xavi-Iniesta, JDS-Thiago, and what about Oriol Romeu-Sergi Roberto. Loads of talent. With Gael Etock and Deulofeu emerging fast, I don’t see Gai or the other B team forwards making it into the squad, bar Victor Vazquez. Also, I see Jeffren leaving, especially if we sell Yaya and stick to our shut up, man up, or get out policy.

      • Jnice
        June 2, 2010

        Vazquez will probably leave. That injury he had last season screwed him. Word was that he was going to get a chance to play this year more so than Jonathan and Thiago, but unfortunately, he couldn’t take part in preseason because of the knee injury. And at his age, he wants to play at a higher level.

        In the preseason before the 08/09 season he looked great. Remember, he also played in a couple of Champions League games that season and looked good when he played. He was also a teammate of Messi, Pique, and Cesc and apparently, he was tipped to be a big star along with Messi. Unfortunately, it looks like he won’t get that chance with us.

    • Luis
      June 2, 2010

      What do you think Assulin’s market value is? I would prefer we got some compensation if we let him go.
      Can anyone who watches athletic games tell us why he has failed this year. I only saw one athletic game, but i didnt think our wingers were very good at all, so he must be donig something wrong to be on the bench.

      • Luke
        June 2, 2010

        Assulin has limited value in my opinion, not because he lacks upside, but because he seems to be kind of a pain in the ass who thinks WAY too highly of himself. Maybe $7M or so, but what do I know?

        • Kxevin
          June 2, 2010

          Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that he’s under contract right now, and is being very difficult in negotiations.

    • Jnice
      June 2, 2010

      Yeah, Jason, Luna, lovely, miguel, Carles really know their stuff.

      Thiago and JDS are best friends, so I think Jonathan’s signing will give Thiago peace of mind, knowing that he will still be here.

      Apparently Gai’s father and his agent are meeting with Arsenal and Man Utd people. Gai can run along to the PL and rot on the bench for all I care.

  16. ballbeav
    June 2, 2010

    yeah great info on the mexican NT here, thanks for all the cool posts.

  17. vicsoc8
    June 2, 2010

    Now for Thiago and Bartra to sign.

    I have a lot of faith that Thiago will sign. He seems level headed and willing to work to secure his place.

    I can’t possibly understand why Bartra would want to leave. Looking ahead of him there is only Pique. Puyol is aging, Marquez and Milito are aging (and one might leave this summer) and I would bet on myself to beat out Txigrinski. Plus he can deputize at right back, and Alves has no true backup. If he plays his cards right he could force his way into the first team very quickly.

    Gai will leave. But honestly, if you can’t win a starting spot in Barca Athletic, why are you moving to Arsenal or Man U? Those clubs aren’t charities.

    Victor Vasquez should leave, unfortunately. I had hope for him, but he’s getting to the age where he needs to move on, all the best to him.

    • Jnice
      June 2, 2010

      According to Sport, Thiago will sign next week. Similar contract and buyout clause.

      I hope Bartra is next.

  18. Luke
    June 2, 2010

    Also, Luna, Jason, Mofo, great write-ups here.

  19. jordi™
    June 2, 2010

    *http://sport.es/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=44&idioma=CAS&idnoticia_PK=718625&idseccio_PK=803

    Yay ! 😀

    • Jnice
      June 3, 2010

      I just saw that. Double Yay! You called it. He wants to achieve success with this club and with the way he is going, he can be on the first team in 2 years. Gai who?

      • Luke
        June 3, 2010

        Google Chrome translator cracks me up.

        An example headline: “Peter: My Renewal, the Best Gift Before the World.” Now, they mean Pedro, but wow.

  20. Lots of talk of Robben and Mata. What?????? we would have a second line of Mata——Bojan—–Robben lol, or something like that. this is getting nuts!!!

  21. barca96
    June 3, 2010

    thiago is a done deal too!
    double hooray!!

  22. Eklavya
    June 3, 2010

    So if I understand correctly, this post was basically high jacked by Jason’s insight knowledge of Mexico NT? 😯

  23. Kxevin
    June 3, 2010

    What it seems like, given the knowledge on display in this post, and I can only imagine that everyone who supports an NT has that same kind of knowledge, it might be worth looking at postings from family members that look at a specific NT, in addition to the stuff that Luke will do. Could be fun.

    • ElShowDeJason
      June 3, 2010

      agreed.
      Anyone who is supports a national team eventually finds out that information. Just like here, we slowly learn about all things Barca.

      Sadly mine isn’t an enthusiastic, gleeful understanding, but a grim, disappointing realization.

      Once Mexico gets knocked out (in the knock out round), I’m with Spain all the way

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