Copa Libertadores: 5 Mexican Players to Follow

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2014

Copa Libertadores: 5 Mexican Players to Follow

0 of 5

    Christian Palma/Associated Press

    Mexican clubs Santos Laguna and Leon are ready to play in this year's Copa Libertadores. To succeed in their quest for the title, both sides will have to rely on key players.

    From defenders to strikers, these footballers must bring their A-game to have a shot at securing the title, a feat no Mexican team has ever achieved.

    "Los Guerreros" will make their second appearance in the history of the tournament, while "La Fiera" will debut in this edition. 

Rafael Marquez

1 of 5

    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Leon’s centre-back will play a key role during the tournament.

    His vast experience and technique mark him out as the leader of the defense.

    Marquez can clear the ball very well, but he is also a great provider of structure and organization. He has great possession and distribution due to his educated right peg.

    The former Barcelona defender is also a valuable asset in set pieces, as he is a good header of the ball.

Luis Montes

2 of 5

    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Luis Montes is a very reliable midfielder for Club Leon. He knows how to move in the center of the pitch and give support to the defense and offense.

    He has an enviable long-distance shot, which he can use in set pieces and in open play.

    He is one of the most trusted men of coach Gustavo Matosas as a result of his discipline and endurance on the pitch.

    Montes is the kind of player who doesn't give up and fights for every single ball. 

Carlos Pena

3 of 5

    Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

    Carlos Pena is without question one of the most diverse players in Mexican football.

    The Leon midfielder can both create and finish plays with ease, helping his team to score. He can also slot into the back line, where his physical attributes are especially effective.

    With the World Cup just months away, he must take advantage of all the playing time he is getting—not only to make it to Brazil, but also to catch the attention of European clubs. 

Oribe Peralta

4 of 5

    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    A fan favorite, Oribe Peralta became a hero last year as he helped the national team to secure a last-minute ticket for the World Cup.

    His goal-scoring knack marks him out as one of the most lethal strikers in the Liga MX with more than 100 goals in his career—86 of those with Santos.

    Peralta can solve a play inside or outside the box, either with a long-distance shot or a header.

    Although he has had a slow start in the 2014 Clausura tournament, he can easily turn things around and become a very dangerous threat to their rivals. 

Darwin Quintero

5 of 5

    Armando Marin/Associated Press

    Perhaps the least-known player on this list, Darwin Quintero is a powerful winger who can play behind or next to the striker with explosiveness.

    The Colombia international (naturalised Mexican last December) can work on both flanks, but he usually patrols the right side.

    With Javier Orozco out for at least three weeks due to a head injury, Quintero has an opportunity to prove how valuable he can be in the attacking zone when paired with Peralta.

    He has a superb right foot and can score from outside the box. Meanwhile, his elusiveness allows him to leave the defenders behind and assist or finish a play easily.