After a couple of days of wavering, Mallorca finally accepted on Thursday that El Tri star Giovani Dos Santos will travel to Houston to meet up with his international teammates and not feature in the Spanish side’s vital last game of the La Liga season.
The 24-year-old Dos Santos is unlikely to feature in Friday’s friendly against Nigeria in Texas, but he will be able to prepare properly for Tuesday’s important World Cup qualifier in Jamaica. With Mallorca needing a victory on Saturday, as well as other results falling its way, to avoid relegation from La Liga, the club was desperate for Dos Santos to feature, even reportedly offering a private plane to get him to the rest of the Mexico squad straight after the game against Real Valladolid.
Mexico’s national teams director Hector Gonzalez Inarritu wouldn’t give any ground, though, writing to FIFA to put pressure on Mallorca to release Dos Santos, insisting that even if it did survive relegation with the Mexican, it could later face penalties for fielding him.
The initial problem arose because Mexico’s game against Jamaica was brought forward to June 4 as a byproduct of of the country’s participation in the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. That means unlike friendly games – in which clubs are obliged to release players 48 hours before first kick – Dos Santos has to meet up with the Mexico squad a full four days before the game, much to the chagrin of Mallorca president Lorenzo Serra Ferrer.
“Things like these wouldn’t happen in Barcelona or (Real) Madrid,” Ferrer told press agency EFE.
The Mexican federation may have been more lenient with the player had the first results of the final qualifying round been more fruitful, but three points from three games in World Cup qualifying so far sees El Tri down in fifth place in the CONCACAF Hexagonal.