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 By Tom Marshall

Efrain Juarez: Vancouver Whitecaps made me feel like Coutinho

Efrain Juarez can play at right-back or in a holding midfield role.

Former Mexico international Efrain Juarez confirmed on Tuesday that he is set to move from Liga MX side Monterrey to MLS outfit Vancouver Whitecaps.

The 29-year-old right-back and 2010 World Cup veteran indicated that the negotiations between the clubs were close to completion and that the Whitecaps had made him feel as wanted as Philippe Coutinho in Barcelona.

"I spoke to the coach [Carl Robinson] and told him that I honestly felt like Coutinho, as if I'd signed for Barcelona or Real Madrid," said former Celtic player Juarez on ESPN Radio Formula.

"I'm going to an important team, a team that is growing like the whole league and the interest they showed me from the first contact honestly made me feel like Coutinho, very important.

"Living in Canada is exciting for me, as well as for my wife and my son. And obviously playing [is important]. The last season with Rayados I didn't have the regularity and continuity and the [Vancouver] coach showed interest, which was important for me. Everything came together to make this a reality."

Juarez was part of Mexico's "Golden Generation" of players -- along with Giovani dos Santos, Carlos Vela and Hector Moreno -- that lifted the 2005 Under-17 World Cup.

After the 2010 World Cup Juarez signed for Celtic, who loaned him out in 2011 to Real Zaragoza. Juarez returned to Mexico with Club America in 2012 before switching to Monterrey in 2014. The two-time Liga MX champion can play at right-back or in a holding midfield role and has 39 caps for Mexico, but hasn't featured since 2012.

Whitecaps have yet to confirm the signing.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.


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