Picking Mexico's All-Time Greatest World Cup XI

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2014

Picking Mexico's All-Time Greatest World Cup XI

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    Guillermo Arias/Associated Press

    Mexico have been part of the World Cup 15 times, including the current tournament. El Tri have had fantastic players who have represented the country with pride and commitment.

    From players who have spent their entire career in the local league, to others who have won some of the most prestigious tournaments in world football, Mexico have always presented strong squads that have been worthy participants.

    Since 1994, the team has managed to qualify to the knockout stage, while in 1970 and 1986—when Mexico hosted the event—it advanced to the quarterfinals.

    So, who are those 11 men who have excelled in each position? Let's find out.

Jorge Campos (GK)

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    Widely known for his flamboyant kits, Jorge Campos appeared in two successive World Cups: United States 1994 and France 1998.

    Campos was one of the shortest goalkeepers of his time (5'6''), but he had fantastic reflexes, a very high jump and great sense of location.

    The Acapulco-born footballer was very confident and helped Mexico draw key games against Belgium and Netherlands, in 1998.

    Campos played 130 times with El Tri and even managed to play as a striker with the national team, the position he played when he debuted in the local league with Pumas.

Carlos Salcido (LB)

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    Back in the day, Carlos Salcido was a very dynamic left-back. He first delighted the fans and media during the 2006 World Cup qualifying process.

    Salcido is a classy defender who fights every ball with strength and distributes it from the flank.

    In his golden days, he was very fast and could go up and down easily. His fitness and fine touch were key in giving Mexico depth and goal opportunities.

    Nowadays, Salcido has lost some of his power but is still a fantastic leader on the pitch, thanks to his experience.

    With Mexico he has played two World Cups (Germany and South Africa) and made the trip to Brazil after being considered by Miguel Herrera.

    Overall, he has played 123 games with El Tri.

Rafael Marquez (CB)

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    Rafael Marquez made history on June 13, 2014, as he became the first footballer to captain his country in four World Cups.

    Marquez has been a standard bearer for El Tri in Korea-Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014. He has worn Mexico's jersey 122 times and has scored 15 times since he was first capped in 1997.

    Marquez is fantastic when he joins the attack in set pieces, due to his aerial game, while his defending is fierce and structured.

    The centre-back has been one of the most successful Mexican footballers ever, as he won every possible title when he played for Barcelona from 2003 to 2010.

Claudio Suarez (CB)

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    Associated Press

    No other Mexican player has appeared as many times with El Tri as Claudio Suarez. El Emperador was capped 178 times from 1992 to 2006.

    Suarez has been one of the most emblematic footballers, but also one of the toughest who has ever played, both with the national and in the local league.

    He made his World Cup debut in 1994 where he was an undisputed starter. His performance in France 1998 set him as a strong and organized leader, with great communication with the goalkeeper and other defenders.

    Suarez appeared in other important events, such as the 1997 Copa America and the 1999 Confederations Cup.

Ignacio Flores (RB)

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    Ignacio Flores spent his whole professional career with Mexican club Cruz Azul, where he played from 1973 to 1989.

    Flores won five league titles, in which has been La Maquina's most successful period. His performance with the team earned him his first cap with El Tri in 1975.

    He debuted against Germany in a friendly match; in 1978, he got his big break in the World Cup held in Argentina, where he appeared in all three games that Mexico played.

    Flores was strong and very fast through the right flank. He had the ability to join the forward line in counter-attacks.

Andres Guardado (LM)

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    Guillermo Arias/Associated Press

    Andres Guardado showed his skills early in his career, when he was playing for Mexican club Atlas.

    El Principito amazed with his elusiveness and speed through the left flank, and just four months after his professional debut, he made his first appearance with El Tri, in December 2005.

    He earned a spot in Mexico's 2006 World Cup team, where he debuted in the round of 16. His fantastic level of performance caught the attention of Deportivo La Coruna, and the following year, he joined the Spanish club.

    Guardado has also appeared in South Africa 2010 as well as in the current World Cup.

    The Mexican has become a more flexible player, and thanks to his experience, he can also play as a left-back, like he does with his current club, Bayer Leverkusen.

Alberto Garcia Aspe (CM)

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    Alberto Garcia Aspe possessed a fantastic touch and enviable leadership skills that helped him lead the midfield of one of Mexico's brightest football generations.

    Garcia Aspe made his professional debut in 1984 with Pumas, and soon showed his talent as a central midfielder.

    He played his first game with El Tri in 1988, and could have made his World Cup debut in 1990, but Mexico was suspended as a result of using overage players in the U20 CONCACAF Championship.

    However, he accomplished the feat in United States 1994. Four years later, he captained Mexico in France, where he also scored a key goal against Belgium.

    He appeared again in Korea-Japan 2002 but only for 15 minutes in the round of 16.

Ramon Morales (RM)

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    Ramon Morales appeared 64 times with Mexico, including the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

    Morales was one of the fastest midfielders El Tri has ever had, plus he had a gifted long-distance shot, which was lethal in set pieces.

    Ramoncito could play through both flanks, but with Mexico he spent most of his time on the right. He used to go all the way to the goal line from where he sent deadly diagonals to the forwards.

    He represented his country from 2001 to 2007 and retired from professional football in 2011.

Cuauhtemoc Blanco (AM)

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    Cuauhtemoc Blanco is arguably one of the greatest Mexican footballers of all time; he was a fantastic attacking midfielder whose creativity gave El Tri fluidity and depth.

    Blanco made quite an impression since his debut with Club America in 1992, when he was just 19 years old. He quickly became an icon, and in 1995, he was capped to wear La Verde.

    El Cuau played in France 1998, Korea-Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010. He missed the 2006 edition because then-coach Ricardo La Volpe cut him out.

    Blanco's intelligence and hunger were key for Mexico, as he always made the difference on the pitch. He was never afraid to try new things, which always worked out just fine.

Jared Borgetti (FW)

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    Jared Borgetti grabbed 46 goals with Mexico, which sets him as the all-time scorer of the team.

    His aerial game was by far his most valuable asset. It was not just about showing how to use his head to score, but how to move inside the box to leave the defenders behind.

    He appeared in Korea-Japan 2002 and Germany 2006; he scored two goals overall.

    Borgetti played most of his career with Santos Laguna, where he established himself as the club's top scorer with 205 goals to his name.

Luis Hernandez (FW)

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    No other Mexican footballer has scored more goals in a single World Cup edition like Luis Hernandez.

    El Matador surprised South Korea with a brace, which meant Mexico's first victory in France 1998.

    Later, he put the ball away 10 seconds before the final whistle against Netherlands, which gave El Tri the ticket to the knockout stage and the record as the all-time scorer in World Cups for Mexico.

    In the round of 16, Hernandez opened the score in front of Germany, although the team lost 2-1.

    His knack for goal scoring and commitment gave Mexico some of the happiest moments in history.

     

    All advanced stats appear courtesy of FEMEXFUT, unless otherwise noted.