Over the years, some excellent footballers have come out of Mexico. And many of them have made their way into Europe to play their trade. While the number isn’t huge, there have been a few who have gone on to play in the most renowned football division on the planet, the Premier League, with several making their mark.
Starting with a player who still plies his trade in England’s top flight, Raul Jimenez switched from Mexican team America to Atletico Madrid before a stint at Benfica followed. It was from here that Wolves first signed the striker on loan before making the deal permanent, with Jimenez eventually becoming an outright Premier League player. The thirty-one-year-old was the go-to for many punters in terms of his goalscoring achievements at one stage, and who can blame them? He was scoring for fun, and fans betting on who would be the first goalscorer in EPL betting markets would always choose Raul. But since his serious head injury, Jimenez has struggled for form.
In terms of what he achieved, you’d be right in suggesting Javier Hernandez is the most successful Mexican to play in the Premier League, something he’s done on two occasions, representing both Manchester United and West Ham. While at United, Hernandez, who now plays for LA Galaxy in the MLS, won the Premier League title twice – 2011 & 2013. And while he wasn’t always in the starting eleven, even during his spell with West Ham, his goalscoring record is impressive, with 53 goals and 16 assists in 158 games.
Carlos Vela came through the ranks with Premier League giants Arsenal after a very early deal saw him head to North London from the Guadalajara youth team. And, big things were expected of the skilful attacker. Vela was a player who was technically gifted from a young age, but he just failed to live up to expectations with the Gunners and in the Premier League. He made 37 appearances in total, with some for West Brom, where he went on loan for a short while, but with only 5 goals and 2 assists to his name in the division, things just weren’t meant to be in England, although Vela has flourished since.
Guillermo Franco, who was born in Argentina but a Mexican citizen after playing in the country for four years, is a striker that West Ham fans will likely remember after he spent a season with the club during the 2009/10 campaign. Franco signed from Villareal on a free transfer, made 23 appearances, scored five goals and weighed in with three assists, helping West Ham retain the Premier League status, and then left on a free transfer. It was short but sweet, but you could say job done for the Mexico international at the time.
There haven’t been masses of Mexicans to play in the Premier League, but of those who have, most are memorable, and football fans can recall them and what they did while in the English top flight. And, with more Mexican talent emerging every year, there could soon be more making their way to play in the best league in the world.