Juan Carlos Osorio admits interest in 2-3 jobs beyond Mexico
LOS ANGELES -- Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio has received interest from Europe but won't be making any decision on his future until after the World Cup, he told ESPN FC.
In January, Osorio declined an option to extend his stay with Mexico, indicating he must earn the right to win a new contract with Mexico via a positive display at this summer's World Cup in Russia.
But Osorio has connections in Europe and over his spell in charge with Mexico, he has met up to talk football with the likes of Louis van Gaal, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Gareth Southgate, Guus Hiddink and Julen Lopetegui, among others. The well-traveled 56-year-old's reputation as a progressive thinker appears to have caught the interest of institutions in Europe.
"People contacting me? Yes. I would say there has been enough interest," Osorio said in an interview with ESPN FC. "But I keep saying to everybody the reasons why I would be interested in what you are offering are A, B and C."
Despite reports indicating that Osorio may have struck a verbal agreement with the Colombia national team, the former Atletico Nacional coach is adamant that his mind is solely focused on helping El Tri succeed at Russia 2018 and that nothing will be made concrete before then.
"Whether I would be interested or not, one thing for sure is that anything would have to be done after the World Cup, not before, because my main objective now is to have a good World Cup and earn my right to be asked to continue with Mexico and then I will decide," Osorio said.
"I am bringing a few young players into the final list and I want to see how those players develop. And that alone is a great reason for me to continue.
"Whether I'll continue or not, we'll see, but obviously because of my roots, my beliefs, my perspective on life and football and how I do things, I do have interest in two or three other jobs."
One of the more rewarding accomplishments of Osorio's stint with Mexico -- aside from El Tri strolling through World Cup qualifying -- has been the development of young winger Hirving Lozano from a Liga MX starlet to someone who is excelling at PSV Eindhoven and is now being touted for move to a bigger league.
Osorio said he believes Lozano can make that step up and could even one day play for one of the top clubs on the planet.
"Now that I look at Hirving Lozano playing, it is very rewarding to me because I remember two years ago when we were first starting to bring him into the team, I got a lot of stick for it," Osorio said. "A lot of people used to say that he was just a player with great speed, but he's very direct and I kept saying that he has great potential.
"Along with speed, he had other characteristics, other things he can improve and we started working on them and he got a chance here and there and little by little he started improving.
"[Lozano] added goals to his game, his finishing got better and now he can slow the game down... Now he stops the game and he's capable of faking, dribbling and picking a pass, so I think now that Hirving is a more complete player.
"And if we do have a good World Cup, I think Hirving will go to a better league and a better club and I have nothing against the Dutch league and nothing against PSV. If anything I'm very grateful -- and Mexican football should be too -- because [PSV] trusts Mexican players. Hector Moreno, Andres Guardado and now Hirving.
"I do think that Hirving could reach one of the top four leagues in the world and be in one of the top four teams in one of those leagues."
Osorio indicated in a separate interview with ESPN Nacion that Rafa Marquez still has a chance of making the World Cup squad and featuring in his fifth World Cup despite issues with the U.S. Treasury stretching back to last August. The manager also suggested that if Marquez doesn't make the squad in a playing role, he could be involved as an assistant.
"I would love to have Rafa on [the field] and if not, off the field and in the future, in a project. [I'd like to] be able to involve him due to everything that he can contribute to a football team," Osorio said in Spanish.
"I invited Rafael four weeks ago to enter our platform and to use our complementary plan that we have available to all our players.
"When the moment to decide the list comes hopefully he is at his best and we can... include him in the healthy competition [for places] based strictly on sporting parameters."
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.