Marquez: 'Times have changed' for Mexico stars
Mexico legend Rafa Marquez has cast doubts on whether El Tri players in Europe see the national team as being as important as it once was.
The comments come as Gerardo "Tata" Martino's squad for the upcoming Gold Cup has been decimated by absentees.
Carlos Vela, Hector Herrera and Javier Hernandez are missing out for personal reasons, while Jesus "Tecatito" Corona had a dispute with Martino in March and Miguel Layun and Hirving Lozano are both recovering from illness and injury, respectively. Defender Carlos Salcedo is also in a battle to be fit.
"In Europe, [the players] always represent [Mexico] with pride, but times have changed and now maybe they aren't giving the national team as much importance," five-time World Cup veteran Marquez said in an interview with ESPN. "It's respectable, but maybe the thinking has changed and they don't give it the same importance as before.
"It's not the same when you are in Mexico compared to being in Europe, maybe you don't need the national team as much."
Mexico's established players are widely reported to be in dispute with the federation over the issue of image rights, with El Tri's pulling power in the United States seeing it average close to 50,000 fans for friendly games over recent years.
Players want a bigger cut of the pie, although it appears the two sides may be closing in on an agreement, according to ESPN Mexico's Rene Tovar.
"It's a situation that was going to come to an end sooner or later because we can't keep exploiting players like we have done for so many years," former national team striker and ESPN analyst Hugo Sanchez said. "'Tata' Martino is affected by this because many players, without openly saying, aren't very excited about coming to the national team, precisely because of that, because they exploit their image and they aren't compensated."
Mexico's squad is currently in Mexico City preparing for friendlies against Venezuela (June 5) and Ecuador (June 9) and goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco is adamant that the focus should be on the players that are in camp.
"Obviously they will have their reasons and we just have to stick to what the coach says: to concern ourselves with those of us that are here," said Orozco in a news conference on Tuesday. "If afterwards [Martino] decides to call them again it is his decision ... Maybe they have other interests now and they are respectable. We shouldn't be talking about who isn't in, but those that are."