Edson Alvarez, Diego Lainez: The next Mexico talents to head to Europe in 2019?
Editor's Note: This piece originally appeared in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. Read the original here.
Mexican soccer has a number of players who will be targets for European football clubs in 2019. They all have the qualities needed to succeed in Europe and can emulate those who have left the country in recent years.
Edson Alvarez, DF, Club America
Few imagined that a pair of goals would catapult defender Edson Alvarez onto the list of young Mexican talents primed to move to Europe. His performance in the Apertura 2018 final, scoring the two goals that won the title for Club America, confirmed him as one of the Mexican talents with the best chance to be hired in Europe. He debuted at age 19, and at 21 he has gone from strength to strength when it comes to his maturity, talent and personality. It was already apparent that he can tackle complicated situations and is ready to defend for a team outside Mexico as a versatile player. Additionally, he can play centrally or out wide.
Diego Lainez, FW, Club America
At 18, the Club America midfielder continues to be the Liga MX favorite to be hired by a European team.
Like Alvarez, Lainez got his first opportunity in the Primera Division under Ricardo la Volpe. Although Miguel Herrera didn't give him the continuity he needed in his development upon returning to manage Club America, Lainez's performance and consistency quickly put him back in the starting lineup, and today he's undeniably irreplaceable.
After becoming a champion as a teenager, the rumor has grown that his future lies in Europe, specifically in the Netherlands. Ajax would want him in their ranks, a possibility that could become a reality in the following days.
Roberto Alvarado, MF, Cruz Azul
"Piojo" Alvarado trained as a footballer in Necaxa, when coach Ignacio Ambriz gave him a chance and considered him in the starting XI in early 2017. He was 18 years old, but it didn't prevent him from establishing himself as a starter. His talent in midfield led him to Cruz Azul six months ago, and he's gone from strength to strength. He continues to grow alongside experienced players he didn't have at his previous club. His performances at the Apertura 2018 cemented him as a clear option to represent Liga MX in Europe once the transfer window opens.
Victor Guzman, MF, Pachuca
He emerged at Chivas, but nobody in the league really considered him a player who'd develop into a serious threat. He was loaned to Pachuca, where he quickly took advantage of the opportunity. He debuted in the Primera Division during the Apertura 2015, and from there, he's been unstoppable.
Guzman, 23, has become a key player in the Pachuca offense, serving as a dynamic link between midfield and attack. He thrives as a playmaker, racking up assists while also being capable of scoring, gifts that led him to the national team without discussion. His most recent achievement was finishing as joint top scorer in the Apertura 2018 along with Elias Hernandez, with 10 goals, more than established El Tri striker Oribe Peralta, who scored eight.
Guzman is one of the most advanced young players in the national team for the next World Cup cycle, which automatically makes him an attractive target on the foreign market. Pachuca assures that the player is ready to go and win in European league he ends up in.
Marcel Ruiz, MF, Queretaro
Of these five players, Ruiz has spent the least time in the Primera Division. He debuted at Queretaro in July when he was 17 (he's now 18). He stands 5-foot-9 but plays like someone much bigger.
He's certainly a raw talent but one on the rise, with his young age not preventing him from being a key player in Liga MX ever since Rafael Puente del Rio put him in the starting lineup on the first day of the 2018 Apertura. He played every league game, racking up 1,122 minutes, and appeared once in the playoffs.
He still lacks the experience needed to succeed abroad, but as he accumulates playing time in Liga MX, his chances of playing abroad will be higher.