Ranking the 10 Toughest Players to Star for Mexico

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2015

Ranking the 10 Toughest Players to Star for Mexico

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    KENT GILBERT/Associated Press

    Mexico may not have the tallest or most brawny footballers, but they have had several tough guys in the lineup throughout the years.

    These players have defended La Verde in style, regardless of the position they held. Pride is certainly one of the most valuable sentiments on the pitch, and these 10 footballers haven’t fallen short.

    They have given it all to make the most out of every game and deliver worthy results.

    Let’s take a look.

10. Miguel Herrera

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    Miguel Herrera only played 14 times with El Tri—his most notable appearance came in the 1993 Copa America (Mexico were runner-ups).

    El Piojo was a ferocious defender who didn’t give in an inch. He guarded the box in style and didn’t take anybody’s foolishness.

    At club level, Herrera wore Atlante, Santos Laguna, Queretaro and Neza’s kits.

9. Gerardo Torrado

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    Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

    Gerardo Torrado established himself as a feared defensive midfielder. He’s a 5’8’’ footballer whose hunger to protect his side pushed him to fight every ball.

    He was fantastic when it came to charging opponents to steal the ball. Perhaps the only disadvantage was Torrado’s temper.

    When he lost his mind, he often lashed out at his opponents fiercely, which usually led to bookings and red cards.

8. Pavel Pardo

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    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Former Stuttgart player Pavel Pardo not only had a fantastic long-distance shot, he was also a beast on the pitch.

    Pardo was a great leader, he yelled at his teammates when the squad needed to regroup, but also encouraged them to strive for perfection.

    Pardo’s skills in the midfield were fundamental for Mexico, especially when he was the captain of the team.

7. Alfredo Tena

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    Alfredo Tena was the kind of defender who had the ability to score, becoming a lethal weapon in set pieces.

    His powerful aerial game was just one of his many abilities. In his natural position, as a defender, Tena was the man every opponent had to surprise if they wanted to have a shot at scoring.

    The American defender’s leadership and toughness earned him the "Captain America" nickname.

6. Luis Hernandez

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    ANAT GIVON/Associated Press

    Luis Hernandez is one of the deadliest strikers Mexico ever had.

    El Matador didn't have the sharpest moves or the finest technique, however, he had what many lack, and that is determination and passion.

    Hernandez didn't blink whenever he had the chance to net. The clearest example is his equalizer against the Netherlands in the 1998 World Cup.

5. Fernando Quirarte

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    Associated Press

    Fernando Quirarte was one of the most notable centre-backs of his generation. Like Alfredo Tena, he was capable of finishing plays on a regular basis.

    His physical attributes were also a fantastic asset, he was a 5’9’’ footballer who knew how to charge down his opponents.

    Quirarte debuted with El Tri in 1981 and played in the 1986 World Cup, where he scored twice—against Belgium and Iraq, respectively.

4. Alberto Garcia Aspe

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    Alberto Garcia Aspe is one of the greatest midfielders Mexico ever had.

    He was the go-to man when El Tri had a penalty kick in their favor, but also a creative footballer who could weave plays easily.

    His rigorous personality set him as a natural leader for the national team. He played 109 times with Mexico and scored 21 goals.

3. Claudio Suarez

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    Doug Mills/Associated Press

    Claudio Suarez is without question one of the most famous Mexican centre-backs in history.

    Nicknamed El Emperador, he appeared 178 times with El Tri, the most-capped player with the national team.

    He ran up and down nonstop, always trying to help his teammates and never bailing out from a clash with any opponent.

2. Rafael Marquez

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Rafael Marquez's success goes along with his toughness.

    The former Barcelona defender never gave up for the national team, regardless of the circumstances, and was always ready to guard his box.

    Marquez’s fine touch and body build were instrumental in securing a starting berth with every club he played for.

    His only disadvantage was his fiery temper, as he put his permanence on the pitch at risk.

1. Cuauhtemoc Blanco

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    No other footballer has shown such toughness with El Tri as Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

    El Cuau was always a bold player in a Mexico shirt, who was not afraid of trying new things on the pitch as long as they helped his side, with some examples of his skills shown here.

    Little by little, he lost his speed, but that didn't stop him from fighting and creating plays for his teammates.

    He appeared 120 times with Mexico and scored 39 goals.

    He is close to retirement, but you can still see his peculiarities with Mexican club Puebla.

    All stats appear courtesy of ESPN FC and FEMEXFUT, unless otherwise noted.