The Importance of Giovani dos Santos to the Mexico National Squad

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2014

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 19:  Giovani dos Santos of Mexico competes with Marcelo of Brazil  during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Brazil and Mexico at Castelao on June 19, 2013 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Creativity and depth are two words that could very well be synonyms for Giovani dos Santos.

The Mexico international has become a fan favorite over the years for his physical attributes and skills.

Dos Santos had a stellar role in the 2005 U-17 World Cup, receiving the Silver Ball for his superb performance, which included seven assists—more than any other player.

He quickly became a youngster to follow in Mexico, although he had played in Spain since he was 11, when he joined Barcelona's academy, La Masia.

In 2007, he was capped by Jesus Ramirez to represent Mexico in the U-20 World Cup, and he lived up to expectations.

In the tournament, he became El Tri's top scorer with three goals to his name and received the Bronze Ball; he was also the only Mexican who made the All-Star team.

By that time, he had already debuted with Barcelona, and Hugo Sanchez capped him for Mexico's senior squad.

Karla Villegas Gama
Video Play Button
Videos you might like

His first four club career years were excruciating. He hardly ever played and bounced from Barcelona to Tottenham Hotspur, to Ipswich Town, to Galatasaray, to Racing Santander. 

However, Gio moved to Mallorca in August 2012 and went back to his old ways. For the first time since he left Barcelona, he scored six goals in a single season and played more games than ever (32).

His superb form put him on the radar of recently promoted Villarreal, where he currently plays along with fellow countryman Javier Aquino.

One of the toughest and most important things he has achieved is being a factor whenever he is on the pitch. 

Karla Villegas Gama

So far, dos Santos has been a cornerstone for the Yellow Submarine.

When dos Santos was not playing regularly with his club, he still managed to be an undisputed starter with El Tri, and he made quite the difference.

His Brazilian heritage—his father is former professional footballer Geraldo Francisco dos Santos—is evident.

Gio can dribble, craft plays and score with ease. He can adjust and become a powerful right-winger, but it is as a second striker that he really exploits his assets.

That is precisely the position he plays for Villarreal; add his speed and accuracy to the mix, and you have a deadly passer who draws the attention of the defenders in order to leave the striker alone.

Under Miguel Herrera's 5-3-2 system, dos Santos is a perfect fit. He will probably play behind Oribe Peralta, feeding him balls and helping to unbalance the defense by running and and stepping into the box.

The last time Mexico used a second striker was in 2012, when Jose Manuel de la Torre managed the squad, and that was when dos Santos had to adjust to playing in the right flank.

It's been six-and-a-half years since dos Santos debuted with El Tri, and he is yet to prove his true talent.

Brazil 2014 will be the perfect scenario to show the world what he is capable of and how much El Tri need a player who can run all the way to the goal line, help the defense when in need and put pressure on the opposition's box.

All data provided by and unless otherwise stated.