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Football Reporting


‘Illogical’ for LAFC’s Carlos Vela to play at Olympics

Mexico men’s national team manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino said it would be “illogical” for LAFC star forward Carlos Vela to join El Tri at the Tokyo Olympics after not having played for the senior squad since 2018.

Speaking ahead of Mexico’s friendly against Costa Rica in Austria on Tuesday, Martino seemed puzzled when asked about rumors of Vela returning solely for Olympic duty.

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“It would seem illogical to me to call on a player [Vela] who does not have full disposition to play for a national team in the broadest sense,” Martino said. “What I’ve said about Carlos is that when a player is available for a national team, he is available for all of its iterations, not just one.”

Vela last played for Mexico at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he scored one goal. Since then, the former Real Sociedad man has made it clear he feels his national team duties have have ended.

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“I couldn’t help the national team take the step we all want [making the quarterfinals] and many times, you’re a better help when you’re in the way,” Vela said in 2019. “I spoke to Tata and I said: ‘Look, the next World Cup is in [2022], give people who are going to be better than me an opportunity then.’”

Martino did stress that if Olympic team coach Jaime Lozano convinces Vela to take part in Tokyo, he would not overrule him.

“I’m not Jaime’s boss,” Martino said. “I don’t give him any orders. In any case [if Vela is selected] we’ll have conversations about soccer.”

Meanwhile, Martino discussed Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez as a potential option going forward for his national team. Hernandez underwhelmed in his debut season at the LA Galaxy, scoring twice in 12 games.

“[I consider] him and every other player who is eligible. Logically, we look at performance and we look at each player’s situation in order to make our assessment and call players up,” Martino said.

If not considered by Martino, Hernandez could also fare well as a potential option for Lozano’s squad, although clubs are required to release players for non-FIFA tournaments such as the Olympics.

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