Real Sociedad’s Carlos Vela, left off Mexico’s national team this summer along with AC Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa, told ESPN Deportes' Martin Ainstein Tuesday that he "never closed the door" on playing for El Tri, and denied his absence was related to any problems with former coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre or anyone else.
"At the time that they called me, it wasn’t adequate, I wasn’t at a good time to return and I always told that to Chepo, that it simply wasn’t the best moment for me and I let him know," Vela told ESPN Deportes after Real Sociedad’s 2-0 Champions League loss Tuesday to Shakhtar Donetsk. "Now I don’t know (whether I’d return). I will talk to them and we will see what they have in mind and based on that we can decide."
The 24-year-old striker has not played for the national team since March 29, 2011 for a friendly vs. Venezuela. Mexico sits fifth in the CONCACAF 2014 World Cup qualifying Hexagonal standings. El Tri hosts Panama on Oct. 11 before closing four days later in Costa Rica and will field its third coach in three Hex matches vs. Panama after hiring Victor Manuel Vucetich two days after a 2-0 World Cup qualifying loss to the United States in Columbus, Ohio.
The move was the third coaching change for Mexico in the span of a week. After the team's 2-1 Hex home loss to Honduras, the team fired de la Torre. Luis Fernando Tena, one of De la Torre's top assistants, took the post on an interim basis, but in his first game at the helm Mexico suffered a 2-0 loss to the Americans, leaving it on the brink of not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
"No one person is going to come in and change the world, or a national team," Vela said. "I think it is the job of a lot of people, to do things in the best way and in that new process, with a new coach it will be seen whether it can or can’t be.
"First, I would have to speak to the people (national team officials) and see what they have in mind and after that make a decision," Vela said. "At this moment, I haven’t spoken to anyone and it is something that I still can’t decide."
Earlier this week, Vucetich said he was considering calling up Vela, along with Lucas Lobos.
Vela, meanwhile, said he can’t evaluate Vucetich’s qualifications as national team coach.
"Those who made the decision are the most informed and if they picked him it was for a reason," Vela said. "I can’t give my opinion much because I wasn’t there with them and I can’t know the subject well but I wish him the best of luck. I only hope for the best for the country. I continue to have faith that Mexico will have a great World Cup."Information from ESPN Deportes was used in this report.