Will he or won’t he? The state of Carlos Vela’s relationship with the Mexico national team has been the focus of much media attention.
Considering his success – 14 goals this season and a major factor behind Real Sociedad drive to the Champions League places - it shouldn’t be a surprise, especially with a packed summer of action ahead for El Tri.
The latest on the saga is that Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre turned up Monday to Real Sociedad’s game in Getafe, which the home side won 2-1 and in which Vela opened the scoring with a diving header.
“It was a pleasure to greet Chepo. Yesterday he asked us for credentials to go to the game in order to watch Carlos Vela, who he has been trying to recruit for the upcoming fixtures,” Jose Antonio Cuetara, Director of Marketing at Getafe, is quoted as saying in Futbol Total, confirming the Mexican coach's presence.
De la Torre and director of national teams Hector Gonzalez Inarritu both traveled to Spain late last week with the intention of trying to negotiate the early releases of Hector Moreno, Andres Guardado, Giovani Dos Santos and Javier Aquino ahead of El Tri’s game on May 31 against Nigeria.
While there, there was the small matter of rebuilding bridges with Carlos Vela, who has played just 58 minutes for the national team since the last World Cup.
From Vela’s side, there seems to have been a change of tone since he rejected three separate calls to El Tri over the past two years.
“I’m waiting for the right moment to (return),” he told Spanish daily AS. “I love and defend Mexico until death.”
He added: “I took the decision at a time when I believed that was the best for my career, but it’s not closed.”
Asked if he would watch Mexico in the World Cup if he didn’t end up returning beforehand, Vela’s answer revealed that there is no problem with Chepo and emphasized that the door is still potentially open.
“If it comes to it, I’ll be another fan,” he said. “But one thing is very clear: Never say never. The Mexican coach was here, we ate together and I have no problem with him.”
The national team and Vela have had opposing fortunes during 2013. While El Tri has performed well below par during this calendar year, drawing all five of its games and scoring only three goals, Vela has been by far and away the best Europe-based Mexican this season and his stock has never been higher.
There is little doubt that the return of Vela would be a welcome boost to a team increasingly short of confidence.
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