Mexican Players to Watch in Europe This Season

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2013

Mexican Players to Watch in Europe This Season

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    The 2013-2014 season is underway and 11 Mexican footballers have a shot to shine in four prestigious tournaments: Premier League, La Liga, Primeira Liga and Ligue 1.

    Barcelona, Manchester United and Porto are just three of the nine clubs that have Mexicans in their squads. Some of those footballers have already proved that they belong, others will try to make an impact this season.

    From Javier Hernandez to Hector Herrera, let's take a closer look to these players.

Andres Guardado

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    Andres Guardado has not been at his usual level with Valencia. The Mexican winger was the top assistant of Deportivo La Coruña in the 2011-2012 season.

    His speed and unbalancing skills were some of the assets Valencia saw in him when they signed him. After one season with "Los Che" Guardado has a lot to prove.

    The numbers speak for themselves; in 44 appearances "El Principito" scored once and had six assists.

    Andres is just 26-years-old and has yet to exploit his talent.

Carlos Vela

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    Carlos Vela's performance with Real Sociedad has set him as the most consistent Mexican player abroad. He is an undisputed starter and last season he was the club's top scorer.

    Despite the constant criticism regarding his posture of not playing for national team, the young striker is going through his best moment.

    He has already appeared twice this season, once in La Liga and another in the play-off round of the Champions League. His results are more than positive; he has two assists and one goal in his count.

Diego Reyes

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    Diego Reyes is the youngest Mexican abroad. At age 20, the former America defender signed with Porto in December 2012.

    He has already played with the "Dragons" but has yet to make his debut in the Primeira Liga.

    Despite his skinny appearance, Reyes is a beast in the back. In Mexico's clash with Ivory Coast he came in from the beginning, leaving Javier Rodriguez on the bench, and held off Didier Drogba.

Giovani Dos Santos

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    Giovani dos Santos has played in Spain since he was 11 years old. After two seasons with Barcelona —one of them for the B side— "Gio" was sold to Tottenham.

    His future was uncertain since he arrived in England. He barely played for the "Spurs" hence his physical condition was compromised. It was until 2010, when he returned to Spain, that he finally started to play on a regular basis.

    Now, dos Santos has signed with Villarreal and is hoping to help the recently promoted club to find its way to the top of the general table.

    There is no doubt that "Gio" has what it takes to become one of the most successful Mexicans abroad, he just needs continuity.

Guillermo Ochoa

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    There is no doubt that Guillermo Ochoa is in his prime. In Matchday 2, the goalkeeper neutralized Zlatan Ibrahimovic and helped Ajaccio grab one point against heavyweight PSG.

    Ochoa made it to the Best XI of the matchday and was picked as the best player, according to French newspaper L'Equipe

    This is Guillermo's third season with the "Bears". His brilliant performances have taken him back to the national team, although he is then second choice of Jose Manuel de la Torre.

Hector Herrera

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    Hector Herrera joins Diego Reyes in Porto. However, the midfielder trained and played with the B side, prior to the start of the season, to get used to the playing style.

    Herrera had a stellar 2012. He won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics, as well as the Toulon Tournament, both accomplishments took him straight to Mexico senior team.

    Although, Hector has not been at his usual level with "El Tri" his time in Europe will be key in his career. He needs to be faster and have a better ball possession and those are two things that he can definitively get there.

Hector Moreno

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    Under the command of Mexican coach Javier Aguirre, Hector Moreno is ready to get back to business in La Liga. The 25-year-old was named Espanyol's Player of the Year in his first season (2011–2012).

    Despite his young age, Moreno has a lot of experience playing in Europe. He spent four seasons with Dutch club AZ, where he won the Eredivisie and the Dutch Super Cup, once each.

    Hector has established himself as a tough and smart defender. He leads the Espanyol and "El Tri" defenses in style.

Javier Aquino

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    Javier Aquino made quite an impression with Mexico U-23, which landed him a deal with the then second division club Villarreal.

    Now, Aquino has a chance to play in La Liga since the "Yellow Submarine" was recently promoted. The Mexican winger has to gain some muscle because despite his speed the Italians exposed him at the Confederations Cup.

    The former Cruz Azul footballer is generally brilliant from the right sideline and if he partners with Giovani dos Santos they could be an unstoppable duo.

Javier Hernandez

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    Javier Hernandez is not going anywhere. He wants to prove himself with Manchester United and he is so committed with the club that he even rejected a real offer from Valencia.

    "Chicharito" has to bring his best game this season because he has to fight for the starter position with Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Dany Welbeck. Plus, he has to meet David Moyes expectations.

    Continuity is a must for Hernandez. As soon as he recovers from a hamstring injury, he needs to get back to work, harder than ever.

    His 50 goals in 117 appearances will help them convince Moyes that he is a viable option.

Jonathan Dos Santos

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    Could this be Jonathan dos Santos breakthrough season with Barcelona? The youngest of the dos Santos brothers was linked to several Spanish clubs until the player himself tweeted that he would stay with "Barça":

    Les comunico con mucha alegria que me quedo en el barça, ahora veo mas cerca que nunca cumplir mi sueño, triunfar en el barça!

    — Jonathan dos Santos (@jona2santos) July 31, 2013

    Like his brother, "Jona" debuted with Barcelona B and later played some games with the first team.

    However, he was ready to leave the club but Gerardo Martino told him that he wanted him on the squad and that was enough for dos Santos.

Nery Castillo

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    Nery Castillo has finally returned to Europe after a dreadful year in Mexico, where he played for Pachuca and Leon.

    Castillo enjoyed a successful career in Greece. He debuted with Olympiacos and quickly showed his goalscoring skills. He then moved to Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City and Dnipro, with much less satisfactions.

    He spent a year with Chicago Fire before returning to Europe, with Aris, until he played for the first time in his career with a Mexican club.

    Nery signed with Rayo Vallecano on July but has not played yet due to hamstring injury.

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