Mexican Soccer: We Don’t Want Foreign Players
MEXICO CITY, May 22 (Reuters) - When striker Guillermo Franco turned up for his first training session with Mexico last November, he said he had fulfilled a boyhood dream by playing international football.Is this a terrible or deplorable situation? We’re not convinced it is.
Not everyone shared his enthusiasm, however.
Franco was born and bred in Argentina. He had no ancestral connections with Mexico, arriving in 2003 to play for Monterrey after a move from Buenos Aires club San Lorenzo.
Less than three years later, he was selected to play for the Tricolor by coach Ricardo La Volpe, who himself was born in Argentina and was reserve goalkeeper in his country’s 1978 World Cup winning squad.
Although Franco had legitimately obtained a Mexican passport without any special treatment, his selection split Mexican football down the middle.
The 29-year-old is the second naturalised player to be picked by La Volpe, after Brazilian-born midfielder Antonio Naelson, and critics say the pair, who are both in the World Cup squad, are blocking the way for Mexican-born players.
The most outspoken comments have come from former Real Madrid and Mexico striker Hugo Sanchez.
“It’s very dangerous because we’ve already got two or three and that could became four, five or six and then we will reach a moment when the national team is no longer the national team but a team of naturalised players,” said Sanchez.
But when some leftist blow-hard claims that Americans are chauvinistic, xenophobic and intolerant of foreigners, this would be a good thing to throw in his or her face.
And it’s also a good tidbit to have when Mexicans presume to lecture Americans on immigration issues.