When the Olympic campaign began, no-one suspected that the eventual winners would be Mexico. There were a list of teams who were more hotly tipped than Mexico including the likes of Brazil and Uruguay as well as European favourites Spain and Great Britain. However it was Mexico that eventually held the trophy aloft.
They look a quality outfit with a number of young players that could go onto make Mexico a dominant force in international football for many years. Here are eleven of their best young players.
José Antonio Rodriguez | Goalkeeper
The Mexican shot stopper is just 20 years of age and plays for Guadalajara in the Liga MX who are the most successful team in Mexican football. He has also spent time on loan at Veracruz and looks a real prospect, having been one of the players who won an Olympic gold medal in 2012.
Diego Reyes | Defender
Diego Reyes looks a real talent. He can play in defence or in a defensive midfield position. His height, passing, vision and tackling ability make him perfect for either position. Reyes has already achieved a lot for someone just 20 years old, as he managed a third place finish in the Under 20 World Cup in Columbia as well as a gold medal at the London Olympics. It is his winning mentality that makes him special, and this is why he is on his way to the Portugese league this summer. Primeira Liga giants Porto have already secured the signature of the defender and look to be paying around £6million for his services.
Darwin Chávez | Defender
Chávez is a left back and is one of the players who has shown real progression for Mexico. He has already made the left back slot his own at CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey. He is consistent, tough tackling and defensively disciplined. He is not the most attacking minded fullback and is not always looking to overlap, yet he is solid in defence and this has made him gain 6 caps for the Mexico national team.
Hiram Mier | Defender
He is the captain of the Mexico U23 side and plays for Monterrey, arguably the best side in Mexico. He is a central defender and already has one Primera Divison de México, two CONCACAF Champions League's and one CONCACAF Gold Cup to his name. He was also a big part of the Olympic winning team of 2012. He is classy on the ball but firm in defence with intelligent decision making and an eye for a pass. There was reportedly interest in his services from a host of different teams around the world including Valencia, Newcastle, Olympiakos, Ajax and PSV to name just a few.
Javier Aquino | Midfielder
Javier Aquino has already made the leap to an European club. He began his career in Cruz Azul and is mainly a right winger. He made the move to Villarreal in January 2013 and has made seven appearances for them so far. He is a skillful player but has rapid speed, ball control and strength which make him the complete winger. He looked assured in the Olympics and showed calmness and accuracy in high pressure moments. It is no wonder Villarreal made the move for him and brought him over to Spain. It is possible Villarreal will be promoted back to the BBVA this season and so it will be good to see how Aquino fares against top quality opposition.
Jorge Enriquez | Midfielder
These next two players are both big stars for Guadalajara. Enriquez is a big physical presence on the field at 6ft 3in and has caught the attentions of European scouts after a number of successful tournaments. He was noticed in the Olympics where he was part of the gold medal squad, but also caught worldwide attention first in the Copa America and then in the 2011 U-20 World Cup in Colombia. Here he won the Bronze Ball, given to the third-best player at the event. It is reported that there is strong interest from Portugese clubs, particularly Benfica who were supposedly weighing up a bid of around £7million for the player.
Marco Fabian | Midfielder
Fabian, the second of Guadalajara's young talents is extremely quick and is one of Mexico's brightest young stars. He can play as an attacking midfielder, winger or striker and his shooting and passing are noticeably good. He was one of the key members in the U23 squad that secured the CONCACAF Pre-Olympic Tournament, the Toulon Tournament and the 2012 Olympic Games. His obvious class was displayed in a match against Barcelona where he helped his team to a 4-1 victory scoring two goals against a reasonably strong lineup with David Villa, Pedro, Iniesta and Abidal featuring. There is a big demand for this tricky player with huge clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich being linked to him.
Hector Herrera | Midfielder
Herrera is a box to box midfielder with a balance of great attacking threat with good distribution of the ball but also a great defensive minded player as well. At just 22 years old he has been capped 20 times for the U23 side and 4 times for the senior national side. He plays for C.F. Pachuca but is likely to move in the summer. Herrera was named Best Player of the 2012 Toulon Tournament and has been strongly linked to Liverpool and Manchester United. However it looks likely he will end up in Portugal and reports in the Mexican press suggest he will end up alongside Diego Reyes at Porto.
Marco Bueno | Striker
Marco Bueno is the youngest player in this squad. He has just turned 19 years old and has featured for both the Mexico U17 and U20 squads. He was part of a squad winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in recent years. His favoured position is striker but can also play on the wing. He appeared to have a pre-contract agreement with Liverpool after a successful trial in 2011 however a move has never materialised. His movement, anticipation and pace proves a real handful for defenders and it would be good to see him in the Premier League. His future remains unclear however he still produces excellent performances for Mexico.
Javier Hernandez | Striker
Javier Hernandez has been a bargain signing for Sir Alex Ferguson's side. His good form for club and country is evident. He has netted over 10 goals every season for United despite seeing limited playing time in the last 2 seasons. Yet it is his national record that impresses the most. He has managed to score 30 goals in just 45 appearances and is already the sixth highest goalscorer for Mexico of all time despite being just 24. He only needs 16 more goals to replace Jared Borgetti as the Mexico all time leading goalscorer.
Striker | Giovani Dos Santos
One of the better known players in this eleven, Dos Santos has played at numerous European clubs. He, unlike most other Mexican players actually came through the youth academy at Barcelona. He looked a real talent and moved to Tottenham for a fee that could rise up to £9 million pounds. However his career stalled and he did not see much game time, being shipped out on loan to Ipswich Town and Galatasaray. However after moving to the Spanish league and becoming a regular for Mallorca he has looked back to his best. He is a versatile player, and can play up front, on the wings or even in the centre of midfield. His pace, skill and trickery make him difficult to play against and he was another member of the Olympic winning squad of 2012.
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