Mexico lacked a complete footballer for years—a player who had the ability of organizing the midfield, helping the defense and finishing plays. The search ended when Carlos Pena debuted with El Tri in 2013. His stay in the country may be short, though.
Pena plays for Mexican club Leon. The team was relegated in 2002 and made it back to the Liga MX 10 years later; Pena was a key element in the two-legged playoff as he scored once and helped with structure and organization in the center of the pitch.
He is one of the most valuable players in his position, and after this year’s World Cup, it would be no surprise if he left for Europe.
Pena is one of the best players when the team needs to recover possession. He is physically fit and strong, which comes in handy when he needs to charge the rival and challenge for the ball.
This sets him as a very valuable asset for the defense. Once he steals the ball, he is capable of keeping it while his side reorganizes in the attacking line. His leadership and structure give confidence to the team.
"Gullit" can command the midfield in style. He distributes the ball with such accuracy that during the World Cup playoff against New Zealand, he had three assists.
With Leon, he is also a beast. Last year during the Clausura and Apertura tournaments, Pena scored six times and had four assists. And in the current season, he is making a huge impact too: He has three goals to his count in five matches.
He is one of the key playmakers of his club and the national team. His speed gives him the possibility to run through the left flank until he reaches the box, from where he usually passes the ball to his teammates.
Gullit also runs from the center of the pitch, leaving behind the defenders and sending through passes to the forwards, giving them scoring options.
Finishing plays is another of his resources. He is very unbalancing and has good dribbling skills, which help him get in front of the goalkeeper and shoot from close-range, although he can also take his chances from outside the box.
A highly disciplined team player, Pena could very well fit in the Premier League. He could polish his skills if he goes to a club of the likes of Aston Villa, Fulham, Swansea or Stoke City; all of them lack a player like him.
Italian football could be another possibility for the Mexican. He has great technique and knows how to help his teammates shine, mainly by linking the midfield with the attacking zone.
So don't be surprised if Pena starts wearing a new jersey as soon as the next season starts.
All data provided by MedioTiempo.com unless otherwise stated.