Mexico omissions from ESPN FC 100 puzzling because the talent is there
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- It's a survey that ended without a single Mexico player. ESPN FC voted for and ranked the world's 100 best players but found no place for El Tri.
Why were the members of a national team that qualified for the World Cup not taken into account, while others who could not lead their own countries to Russia 2018, like Arjen Robben, Leonardo Bonucci and Gianluigi Buffon, were included? Or is it because Mexico qualified from CONCACAF, a geographical area that was once defined by Joseph Blatter as "Soccer's Third World?"
Do the players that made Mexico one of the top 16 teams in FIFA's ranking not deserve any consideration? Or are those rankings confirmed as a fallacy?
For example, is it not important that Hirving "Chucky" Lozano, strictly according to statistics, has performed better in the Dutch Eredivisie than Romario and Ronaldo did during their own spells? Eventually, as cinema director Guillermo del Toro states, "Figures are the closest thing to God's writing." Perhaps, the voters' disdain is focused on the poor performance of Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who has been cursed by injuries.
In recent seasons, Chicharito should have been included and maybe too should Carlos Vela, who years ago was placed by Spanish media on the league's podium of leading lights, a peer of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi while playing at the same level as Diego Costa. Nowadays, Vela's fitness and apathy tell us that he is merely going through the motions before moving to Major League Soccer.
The truth is that some Mexican players of the current generation who were still able to continue their careers in Europe have since been seduced by the siren song of MLS, with the Dos Santos brothers, Giovani and Jonathan, and Vela making their moves while Atlanta is still trying to convince Andres Guardado to join their project. Yet the biggest object of desire is still Hernandez, who has not secured his position as starter in West Ham United, after the previous tournament with Leverkusen disappeared into oblivion.
The inconsistencies of Hector Herrera, Jesus Corona and Miguel Layun at Porto prevent them to dream of being named amid the nobility of the selected 100, while Hector Moreno, after shining in both Spain and the Netherlands, is currently on the bench of Roma after a difficult move.
And what about Raul Jimenez? Something must be wrong. Besides his youth, being a starter for Benfica is still not a formality in spite of his natural skills as a scorer.
Without any doubt, the selection process to recruit The 100 Best has geographical restrictions. The survey is practically limited to the most powerful leagues of the Earth. Specially, those of Spain, Italy, Germany, France and England. That should explain why the reborn Radamel Falcao has been ignored even though his present performances are better than those of Arjen Robben. The Colombia international will be at the World Cup while the brash play of the Dutch veteran will be forced to watch from home.
While we will continue to follow the meteoric career of Lozano at PSV and marvel at his current productivity, we still have doubts about his move to one of the most powerful leagues. The time, space and the liberty he enjoys in the Dutch Eredivisie will be suppressed in any of the top-tier championships.
Behind Lozano, there aren't too many candidates in Mexico to make the list; in fact, there's no-one on the bubble right now since the hopes for Orbelin Pineda, Rodolfo Pizarro and Diego Lainez all vanished in the 2017 Apertura while the promising Jonathan Gonzalez, currently preparing for the Liga MX final as Monterrey's goalkeeper, will be playing for the United States instead.
It is a cruel irony: Mexico is going to the Russia World Cup ranked 16th in the world by FIFA thanks to its smooth qualification from CONCACAF but its great stars still aren't considered part of the world's best 100.
Rafa Ramos is a ESPNDeportes.com staff writer and hosts ESPN Deportes Radio's Raza Deportiva. Follow him on Twitter @rafaramosESPN