Mexico's stars playing in Europe – Lozano is key along with Alvarez

Napoli flyer Hirving Lozano is the key man in attack, Chelsea and Barcelona will be keeping tabs on Edson Alvarez and Andres Guardado is gunning for an incredible appearance record – meet Mexico’s stars ready to take the World Cup by storm

  • Mexico are in Group C at the World Cup with Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia 
  • Although Argentina are favourites to top it, Mexicans have fighting chance 
  • There are a handful of stars plying their trade in Europe fans will be familiar with
  • Edson Alvarez is a lynchpin in midfield and attracting interest from big clubs
  • While Hirving Lozano, Napoli’s flyer, is the leading light in attack  

Mexico travel to Qatar with a squad predominantly from their homeland and a handful of players plying their trade in Europe. 

Edson Alvarez, the combative defensive midfielder, has been linked with big-money moves to the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona and will be an integral part of the side. 

While Andres Guardado is gunning for a remarkable record if he takes to the pitch at the World Cup. 

Napoli forward Hirving Lozano looks like he will shoulder plenty of attacking responsibility, while Raul Jimenez’ form and fitness is a concern. 

Here, Sportsmail shines a spotlight on Mexico’s stars playing in Europe and assesses what they bring to the side.  

Hirving Lozano (centre) will be the leading attacking threat for Mexico at the World Cup

Hirving Lozano –

The Napoli forward has been with the Serie A side since joining from PSV back in 2019 and established himself as a key player. 

He does not have as prominent a role this season under Luciano Spalletti given the rich resources available to the Italian high-flyers but remains an important part of the squad. 

He’s been sharing game time on the right wing with Mateo Politano but is a different kind of player but provides more of a goal threat. 

The Napoli star is rapid and his pace can stretch defences in Group C in Qatar

While the end product isn’t always there for Lozano, his raw pace remains the calling card and World Cup games are often won in moments. 

He has that game-breaking ability and the 27-year-old’s record for his country is a strong one. He’s netted 16 times in 59 games and will shoulder plenty of responsibility in Qatar. 

Crucially, Jesus Corona, the tricky Sevilla winger is out injured for the duration so there’s even more pressure on Lozano to deliver. 

The winger might be played through the middle depending on other options available

Edson Alvarez – 

This man is well and truly in the shop window and could add a few million to the price tag Ajax will slap on him with a big tournament. 

The 25-year-old has become a key figure for the Dutch champions – after joining from Mexican side Club América in 2019 

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The defensive midfielder was linked with Chelsea, AC Milan, Juventus and Barcelona in the summer. 

Any of those could come back to the table for a player who has impressed with his ability to cover the defence with his positioning and athleticism. 

Edson Alvarez (left) is exceptional at breaking up play and has been a key man for Ajax

In possession, Alvarez is tidy enough but his role is not a creative one – he’s the shield and will fulfill an important function to prevent service reaching the likes of Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski. 

Ajax are understood to have rejected £43million from Chelsea for his services, showing how highly regarded he is. 

One man who is not a fan is former Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who said: ‘Edson Alvarez plays every ball backwards or sideways, he’s of no use. They [Ajax] should have taken him to London quickly. You could have signed two good players for that [the £43m Chelsea offered in the summer].’

But Peter Crouch and Rio Ferdinand disagreed. The ex-Manchester United defender told BT Sport: ‘He does some of the stuff you don’t normally see, definitely not Instagrammable. 

The defensive midfielder will be one of the first names on the team sheet for Mexico 

He does the stuff when he breaks the play up and allows the more creative players to go and perform. These types of players are so invaluable and you appreciate them so much because they give you the platform to go and play the football Ajax love to play.’

Crouch added: ‘He is a player that is key to them, they have a lot of forward-thinking players but he’s the one that likes to sit in midfield. A lot of players have gone and Ajax have sold a number of big players recently.

‘You look at Antony, Lisandro Martinez, there is a lot of money in their squad, do they have to sell another one? I don’t think they do and they could keep hold of him and potentially build around him.’

A couple of years ago, Mexico fans would be more than happy with the prospect of the Wolves striker leading the line for them at a World Cup. 

But unfortunately for the 31-year-old, he’s not been the same since his awful head injury. He suffered it following a clash of heads with David Luiz in 2020 and had to be taken off on a stretcher. 

The skull was fracturRaulk ed, his season ended and he eventually returned last term. 

Form and fitness have been an issue with groin and knee injuries hampering him this season. 

Raul Jimenez has lacked form and fitness and Mexico are desperate to get back to his best

With Wolves struggling, Jimenez is scratching around for momentum that Mexico will desperately hope he can find before the World Cup. 

He’s been working on his rehab in Mexico with national team medical staff and they’re desperate to have him ready. 

Jimenez has since flown back to the UK and is close to a return to action. 

Last season’s return of six goals in 34 Premier League games was a worrying decline and it remains to be seen how much Mexico will trust him to start games in Qatar.  

The Wolves man, 31, has lacked the same impact he had before his head injury

Diego Lainez – 

Lainez arrived at Real Betis in 2019 to much fanfare, joining for £12.5million from Club America.

It was the second most expensive transfer of a Mexican to a European club. But the change of environment at a young age proved too much for the winger. 

He only made seven appearances in LaLiga last season for Betis and failed to score in any of them. 

The Andalucian club loaned him out to Portuguese side Braga in the summer and he’s netted once in his first six games. 

Diego Lainez has not managed to fulfill his early promise but could yet come good 

They have the option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season if he convinces them of his ability. 

A busy, speedy winger, Lainez made his Mexico debut in 2018 and at 22 still has plenty of development to come. 

His country will be hoping he can start to fulfill some of that promise earlier rather than later. 

Andres Guardado – 

Guardado, who also plays for Betis, is regarded as a legend for both club and country. 

He has a staggering 177 international appearances and scored almost 30 goals having made his Mexico debut way back in 2005. 

It feels as though he’s been around forever but remains a great physical specimen. He made his name at Deportivo La Coruna before a spell with PSV and then return to LaLiga with Betis. 

Andres Guardado (left) has been a stalwart for Real Betis and is still going strong at 36

Guardado also benefits from his versatility, making him incredibly useful for international selections across a number of positions. 

He’s played on the wing, as a defensive midfielder and full-back in the past but should feature in midfield during the World Cup. 

That’s where he’s now deployed by Manuel Pellegrini for Betis and he’ll have a major record in his sights this winter. 

He’s currently tied with Claudio Suarez for the most international appearances but will go past him in Qatar when he runs out for his country for the 178th time, an astonishing feat.  

The defensive midfielder brings versatility and professionalism to club and country

Jorge Sanchez – 

The second of Ajax’s Mexican contingent to be making the trip to the middle east. 

He only joined this summer, arriving from Club America on a four-year deal and has gone on to make the right-back role his own. 

The 24-year-old is not exactly a marauding full-back and instead is better known for his defensive qualities. 

Jorge Sanchez joined Ajax in the summer and has started their Champions League games

That could suit tournament football, where games are often decided by smaller margins than the club matches. 

Although it could be said that Sanchez might be a liability in another sense. 

For all his combative defending, he has been known to cross the line in the past. While at Club America he picked up five red cards in just over 100 games. 

One of those was also the fastest dismissal in club history when his brutal studs-up challenge had him sent on his way after only 20 seconds of the game. 

Martino will hope those over-exuberant edges to Sanchez’s game have been ironed out now and he will be one of the first names on the team sheet in Qatar.  

The full-back has been too aggressive in the past but will hope those issues are behind him




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