Mexico boss Osorio won’t ignore MLS players; “ultimate goal” still Europe

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
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Juan Carlos Osorio is walking back a series of comments made on Wednesday, in which the new Mexican national manager disparaged Major League Soccer as a “league for players at the end of their careers and not for a player who still has a lot to give.”

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Or, perhaps that particular line was cherry-picked an otherwise blasé set of comments, and there’s really not a ton going on here. In the sake of disclosure, here’s how Osorio rounded out the above comment:

“I expressed this to Carlos Vela last year when I was in Europe. I believe the objective of all the world’s players is to go to Europe — or at least that’s the primary objective — because there they have the best leagues, the best tournaments and the whole world can see you play there.”

Does anyone disagree with anything said therein? I sure don’t.

Regardless, Osorio was forced to clarify his comments on Thursday, in the name of good public relations — quotes from Goal.com:

“I did say that for any player the ultimate goal, especially at their peak, should be playing in Europe. This goes for any league in the Americas, whether it’s MLS, the Mexican league, Brazilian league, Argentinian league or any other.”

“I have never said that I won’t call in players from MLS. Any suggestion of that idea is false. I would never ignore a player because of the league they play in.”

We can debate MLS’s responsibility to the USMNT, and vice versa, and whether or not one, or both, should operate their respective programs with the best interests of the other in mind. U.S. Soccer probably still has more to gain from a strong domestic league than the other way around.

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There is, however, no such argument to made for Mexico, with regards to MLS, and only slightly more of a case to be made for Osorio’s perceived allegiance to Liga MX. The Mexican program is enjoying something of a golden generation at the moment, with just each and every one of its top players currently playing their club soccer for major clubs in major European leagues — the top divisions in Spain, Germany, Portugal and Holland. Osorio did not call Giovani dos Santos of the LA Galaxy into his first Mexico squad in November.

The Mexican national team is presently better than the USMNT — by quite some margin — and it looks likely to stay that was for quite some time. If Osorio wants to be choosy with whom he calls up, given the vast array of options at his disposal, that’s his prerogative, and certainly a luxury not currently afforded his USMNT counterpart, Jurgen Klinsmann.