Oribe Peralta has become one of the most valuable assets for Mexico in the past couple of years. This summer he will play his first World Cup, and he will continue to be a thriving force for the national team.
He may not be one of the youngest footballers on the team, but at age 30, "El Cepillo" is certainly a lethal striker who can change the score in the blink of an eye.
He debuted with Monarcas Morelia in 2003, but he only played twice in the Liga MX (then Primera Division) before being transferred to Leon, which at the time was seeking the promotion.
Peralta went back to Mexico's top division in 2004 when Monterrey bought him.
He spent two years there, and his scoring count was far from impressive as he put the ball away 11 times in 64 games.
After leaving Monterrey, Peralta wore a Santos Laguna jersey, but he didn't receive much playing time mainly because Matias Vuoso and Christian Benitez were going through a great moment.
Peralta's first period with Santos was shaky. He appeared 74 times and scored eight times, which resulted in a loan to Jaguares.
It was in Chiapas that he became a cornerstone and proved everyone wrong. In just two tournaments, he got his best-scoring record so far, with 12 goals in 35 games.
He quickly returned to "Los Guerreros" and claimed the starting position. By that time, Peralta was a 26-year-old whose career was just taking off.
While younger players like Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Giovani dos Santos had already played in Europe and worn the green jersey in a World Cup, Peralta was making his way through stardom.
It wasn't until 2012, at age 28, that "El Cepillo" became an idol. He was capped as one of three overage players who would join Mexico's Olympic squad.
Peralta was the team's top scorer, with one goal against Switzerland, another in the semifinal in front of Japan and a brace in the final match, which was key to help Mexico win the gold medal.
After that, he became an icon but also received more calls for the national team, then managed by Jose Manuel de la Torre.
Peralta didn't have it easy, though. He suffered several injuries throughout 2013; one of them sidelined him from the Confederations Cup. As soon as he recovered, he went back to his old self.
From August to November, Peralta appeared in seven games and scored 11 times, including five in the two-legged playoff against New Zealand.
"El Cepillo" has proven to be like a good wine. He keeps getting better as time goes by.
He has scored 102 goals in Mexico's first division, 71 of those from January 2010 to March 2014, which means he has scored 69.60 percent of his goals from age 26 to date.
The same has happened with El Tri. Although he received his first cap in 2005, it took him six years to go back to the squad.
Currently, he records 25 games and 16 goals, and he has scored all of them since 2011, when he was 27 years old.
If we compare him with another striker who played for Mexico in a World Cup, Peralta is far more promising.
Luis Hernandez was 30 years old when he represented Mexico in France 1998. In an eight-year span, he had scored 69 times with five different clubs up to his debut in the World Cup.
Meanwhile, with the national team, he put the ball away 20 times in his first 42 matches, which included tournaments like the Gold Cup, Copa America and Confederations Cup.
Peralta has not played in any of those, and yet he has a better record than Hernandez, who by the way is the Mexican player who has scored more times in a single World Cup edition.
Statistics aside, Peralta is a complete footballer. He creates goal opportunities by opening spaces and working inside and outside the box.
He is a versatile player with a gifted long-distance shot and a fantastic aerial game.
This season "El Cepillo" is doing well, with five goals in 12 appearances and is in good shape, which will come in handy against all of Mexico's rivals in the group stage.
Cameroon, like all the African sides, have always been characterized for being strong and having great fitness. Peralta proved his form against Nigeria in El Tri's latest friendly.
Brazil's pace is one of the most unbalancing there is right now, which will push the strikers to take advantage of the few scoring opportunities they'll have. Peralta is that kind of player; he takes his chances and makes the most of them.
Croatia's midfield is creative and flexible; therefore, Peralta will have to fight for possession. If he combines his speed and fine touch correctly, he can put the defense in distress, as that is the Blazers' weakest line.
Brazil 2014 will be Peralta's big break and his ticket to playing in Europe.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!