It looks like the vicious cycle is finally broken. Carlos Vela, after turning down Mexico three times—including a Hexagonal tournament where any semblance of talent was drastically needed and the World Cup (seriously, who says no to going to the World Cup?!)—will allegedly represent Mexico during next month’s friendlies against the Netherlands (#noerapenal) and Belarus.
The previous assertion is based largely on a YouTube video posted by soccer analyst Fernando Schwartz, who states in Spanish that Vela will most definitely be back with El Tri.
At first glance, this seems to be great news. Everyone loves the Prodigal Son narrative (see: LeBron’s return to Cleveland), and of course I want to see arguably the best Mexican player in the world actually play for Mexico. Vela had finally heard our pleas (and the Soccer Gods’ ranchera).
But then I saw this news story from soccer news aggregator Football España that claimed the striker would face sanctions if he refused another call up. If Herrera called him to play for his country and he said no, he could miss out playing several matches for Real Sociedad. That unverified claim was later supported by the following tweet.
Because soccer journalism is rooted in conjectures—you don’t actually have to do any fact checking when writing about soccer because it’s all #hottakes—I’m going to assume that this is true. If that’s the case, then one could make the argument (and I am) that Vela isn’t returning to Mexico because he wants to, but because his arm is being twisted. It’s no secret that Vela loves Real Sociedad, and the club desperately needs him right now (they only have 6 points in 9 matches and are on the relegation end of La Liga’s table).
On the one hand, it is somewhat noble to do something against your will for the sake of the greater good.
On the other, screw that. You can’t say no to your country. That the first friendly is against the Netherlands is only a bitter reminder that Mexico could have finally broken through to the World Cup quarterfinals had Vela been there.
I won’t lie, every resentful fiber of my being is wishfully thinking that Piojo Herrera calling Vela up is a strategic move to take him away from his club, and I sincerely hope Real Sociedad ends up being relegated. Why? Because fuck Carlos Vela, that’s why.
At this point, Graham Zusi deserves to wear la verde more than that guy.