Two Young Mexican Stars Making Two Very Different Statements
I was upset when news broke of Carlos Salcedo returning to Mexico to play for Tigres. This could not be worse timing for me as a Mexican soccer fan still dealing with the disappointment of Diego Lainez choosing to sign with Real Betis instead of Ajax. But then I felt this weird feeling wash over me. It was guilt. I realized that my feelings of being hurt by these two decisions was ultimately selfish.
Like most Mexican soccer fans I wanted Salcedo to remain in Europe. He is hands down Mexico’s best defender and not only held his own in Germany but played exceedingly well. My initial thought of Lainez signing with Betis was pessimistic to say the least. I truly believed that he would not get much play in Spain and would have more chances to play and develop with Ajax. But after a few days passed I realized I was looking at these guys as assets, the same way NFL owners look at their players. Salcedo was and still is having family issues and I respect him more now for putting his family first instead of a game. We can't expect the best from a player on the pitch if things aren’t right at home. I have faith that he will continue to develop as a great player while fixing his family issues. I strongly believe that he will return to Europe in the near future if he so chooses, and it will be on his terms.
We can all learn a little bit from Salcedo: nothing is more important than family, not even the game we all live and die for. Once players hang up their cleats, they will undoubtedly be happy about decisions to be close to their families. Hats off to this man for coming home and putting his family first.
When you think about Diego Lainez, you automatically think about what Mexico can become. There is reason to be pessimistic since he is young, as going to Spain might stunt his development due to lack of playing time. But the only person that matters is Diego Lainez. Diego is confident in himself and his ability. He is going for it. He’s embracing the challenge as an opportunity to prove his worth against the world’s best. I can’t be upset about a young man that isn’t afraid to take a leap of faith in the name of achieving greatness. We all have to support him and his decision.
Thinking back to the World Cup many Mexican National Team fans were nervous about playing Germany. Even more unnerving was the very real possibility that Brazil would follow in the next round. I have to quote my father: “It’s the World Cup, you can't be afraid to face anyone.” For Lainez to be the best, he can't be afraid to face the best. By making the move to Spain, he is signaling to all of us that he isn’t afraid of the pressure and the spotlight.
One guy went home to take care of family matters. The other left home to test himself among the world’s elite players. Both made the best decision for themselves and ultimately their families, and we should all enjoy the moment with them.
Anthony Garcia is the lead soccer analyst of the El Three Podcast. He lives for the game and is unafraid to share his passion with anyone bold enough to listen.