Edson Alvarez, Jonathan Gonzalez lead list of Mexican youngsters who could be next to head to Europe
MEXICO CITY -- Their careers have just started, yet they have already made a notable impression. We are talking about the unique Mexican youngsters who could soon follow in the footsteps of Diego Lainez, who at just 18 years old recently moved to Real Betis.
Some of these players are already on the radar of clubs overseas, but they remain in Mexico for the time being. That said, here are 10 players who could soon be set to take the step up and measure themselves in the world's top leagues, following in the path of young Lainez.
Alvarez has already left a significant mark. He has played in a World Cup under Juan Carlos Osorio and is a Liga MX champion thanks in no small part to his two goals -- while playing out of position in midfield -- in the final against Cruz Azul. Multiple reports indicate that he has already caught the eye of several European clubs, and America knows his departure could come sooner rather than later.
Club: Cruz Azul
Alvarado proved his worth in Mexican soccer in his first season with Cruz Azul -- a team with a decidedly higher profile and higher expectations than his previous team, Necaxa. His performance earned him a call-up to El Tri's senior team, after spending last summer with the Under-21 version in Toulon, France.
He was a breakout player for Santos Laguna, in part because of the injury to Nestor Araujo early in the year. Angulo's play was enough to convince Santos' coaching staff to keep him on the first team and deal Araujo to Celta Vigo of La Liga.
Vega is focused on becoming a more consistent player and hoping to stay free of injuries. He had knee issues while with Toluca but showed that he can be an offensive force when healthy. He is currently adapting to a new role with Chivas while keeping an eye on a Mexico call-up and an eventual jump overseas.
Quality, fearless play toward the end of 2017 highlighted Gonzalez's first season with Rayados. The American-born midfielder opted to play for Mexico, and his ceiling is high, as he's not yet even 20. He appears to be a prospect destined to be in Mexico for just a few years before jumping to greener pastures in Europe.
Pumas trusted a 21-year-old with its starting right-back duties and Mozo has responded with the type of growth that has made him irreplaceable in David Patino's scheme. Mozo is among Pumas' most important prospects of the last few years and has been a mainstay with Mexico's junior teams.
On a team rife with international players, Rodriguez has stood out for his bold play and stability in the middle of the field. He plays like a veteran, and his future is bright -- wherever it may take him.
Ruiz made his first-division debut just last season, but his play was enough to earn him consistent starts at just 18 years of age. He's on track to represent Mexico in Olympic competition despite not having played for its junior teams. If he stays the course, it's only logical that he eventually tries his luck abroad
The 2018 Toulon Tournament's top scorer equaled Marco Fabian's record mark of seven goals in 2012. His performance grabbed the attention of a handful of clubs, but he needs to develop a bit more with Santos, where he's seeking a starting role.
Aguirre has plenty of experience with Mexico's junior teams. He is consistently a step ahead of his generation of players, and Pachuca has shown it knows how to bring him along (he made his debut for Morelia). He's got plenty of road ahead of him.