Mexico coach Miguel Herrera declared Wednesday that Toluca’s Isaac Brizuela is the best player in the Liga MX at present.
Two goals in Brizuela’s last two games and some impressive performances have propelled the 23-year-old from national team outsider to possible starter, but is he really the best player in the Liga MX?
There is obviously no set answer and it is subjective, but here’s a list of other players that could stake a legitimate claim for the title:
Jesus Corona – GK – Cruz Azul
The debate over whether it should be Corona or Guillermo Ochoa between the sticks for the national team is often fierce and polarizing. But even if coach Miguel Herrera chooses Ochoa, it won’t take anything away from Corona. The Cruz Azul shot-stopper has been in inspired form this season and is a model of consistency in the Liga MX. The former Estudiantes Tecos ‘keeper has let in just three goals in eight matches so far in the Clausura.
Both solid and capable of spectacular saves, Corona has long been the best ‘keeper in the Liga MX, with the only real negative blotch on his copybook that savage head-butt aimed at Morelia coach Sergio Martin back in 2011.
Carlos Pena – MF – Leon
The midfielder’s form is nothing new. Pena, like Brizuela, has been a key factor in Leon winning soccer matches since La Fiera was promoted to Mexico’s first division and the 23-year-old’s improvement and form mirrored that of his team, which took the Apertura 2013 Liga MX title.
Combining the stamina to get up and down the pitch, a good range of passing and an improving appetite for goals, Pena is set to become a central figure for Mexico’s national team in Brazil.
Leon coach Gustavo Matosas is on record saying Pena has all the requisite qualities to play in Europe and a good performance at the World Cup could very well lead to a transfer to a club that is at the elite of the European game.
Jefferson Montero – W – Morelia
The left-footed Ecuadorian winger is another one that is set to shine in Brazil, perhaps explaining why Morelia was so keen to keep hold of him over the winter and last summer in case his price rockets.
The speedy Montero is the kind of player fans love to see, keeps people on the edge of their seats and is capable of special moments.
Injuries may have curtailed his involvement so far this season for Monarcas, but the 24-year-old is still set for a big future.
Jose Maria Basanta – CB – Monterrey
Any player that is getting regular call-ups to the Argentine national team is quality, with the South American nation boasting hordes of players over in Europe and yet more quality in its domestic league.
The 1.88-meter, 29-year-old center back was the rock at the heart of Monterrey’s three consecutive CONCACAF Champions League victories and he has racked up over 200 league appearances for Los Rayados since joining in 2008.
Good in the air, strong at marking and decent on the ball, Basanta is the best natural defender in the Liga MX.
Oribe Peralta – CF – Santos Laguna
2014 may not have gone as well as 30-year-old Peralta may have hoped so far and tiredness may be an issue, but there is no doubting the striker’s proven ability. Fifty-three goals in his last 86 league games paints the general picture of just how good Peralta is, but it doesn’t tell you about the intelligence of his running off the ball, his assists and how important he was to the national team last year.
Peralta is clearly a player who could cut it in Europe, but, as he has stated, he prefers to remain in Mexico.
Honorary mentions: Aldo Leao, Pablo Velazquez, Lucas Lobos, Marco Fabian, Miguel Layun, Egidio Arevalo, Raul Jimenez