There is a hot topic in Mexican football at the moment: the refusal of Real
Sociedad striker Carlos Vela to play with the national team. Social networks
have been abuzz since manager Miguel Herrera confirmed Vela will not be
called up anymore. The player then went on Twitter to state: “This is
the end of the story”.
But no, it wasn’t. The striker recently spoke to Spanish TV where he added: “Where
there are situations that I do not like, I prefer not to participate. I wish
them luck [in the World
Cup] but I will not be there.”
Which only opened the door to speculation … what is the situation that he
does not like?
The mysterious reason that fans and the media keep searching for has become a
tedious, drawn out soap opera.
Is it the shameful chapter of September 7, 2010? The wild party which Vela,
along with other members of the team, organised at their hotel after a
friendly against Colombia, in which he showed a complete lack of respect to
then manager Efrain Flores.
The intimate details revealed by paparazzi ended in scandal and the Mexican
Federation punished Vela and Efrain Juárez with a six-month suspension.
Other players were fined, but it was Vela who was publicly humiliated.
The players issued a statement demanding respect but that only served to
increase the enmity between national team director Hector G Inarritu and the
group of players. Ultimately, the punishment applied and, since playing a
couple of friendlies in 2011, Vela has never again returned to play, even
when Inarritu was fired. None of the four managers that have taken charge
since have ever managed to convince him.
Instead the golden boy of the 2005 Under-17 World Championships has became a
soap opera villain.
With each call up rejection, the controversy has grown and Vela insisted: “Fans
do not respect me and they just want to see the wrong side of the story, or
say I am a traitor, but it’s not true. What matters are my beliefs and I
think I did the right thing.”
Immediately fans reacted to this and it became a hot topic on social networks,
with opinion divided between those who branded him a traitor and those who
supported his rejection against the “establishment”.
Even the “Pentapichichi” Hugo Sánchez, the best Mexican player ever,
came out in his defence, daring to compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo and
Lionel Messi and asking the Federation to do everything to convince him to
Vela’s arguments do not make him appear intelligent. “I enjoy playing
football, but when a match ends I want to talk about anything but football.
I don’t enjoy it.”
Speaking about his former club Arsenal
he says: “I never adapted to life in London, to the Premier League. I
was not happy and I started feeling that I did not deserve to be there. They
(Premier League players) are much better than me. I felt I did not belong.”
The missing piece in the saga may be Jorge Vergara, owner of Chivas and the
most influential man in the Federation’s decision making. He insists: “We
must not give importance to whoever refuses to play with the team.” Yet
if we return to that incident of 2010 it was Vergara who pushed hardest for
Vela’s punishment, with the striker ironically having criticised the new
synthetic grass surface at Chivas’ stadium only a few days earlier.
We don’t know the truth yet. The World Cup is around the corner and Herrera’s
squad is cooking up a Farewell Tour, which will see matches against Nigeria,
Ecuador, Bosnia and Portugal, while a number of players struggle for Vela’s
In the meantime the missing striker recently declared that he will not play in
the World Cup … even on his PlayStation.
Chapter No 3,200 seems closed … but has the saga really come to an end?