Written by Timothy Nyangacha
Besides Chicharito (Javier Hernandez), forward Carlos Vela could be an X factor for El Tri at this year’s COPA America. The speedy 27-year-old has had an interesting and bizarre career with the Mexican national team. In September 2010, Vela, along with teammate Efrain Juarez, was “banned from playing for Mexico for six months over an alleged party at the team hotel” . This incident led to a period between 2011 and 2014 in which Vela did not play for the national team, blatantly refusing to play for the team on several occasions . Reports also surfaced regarding the strained relationship between Vela and the coach of the Mexican national team at the time, Jose Manuel de la Torre . Vela made his long-awaited return to the national team in a November 2014 match against the Netherlands . He announced his return in spectacular fashion:
He went on to score an additional goal in the friendly:
Vela tasted success early on at the national team level, scoring the most goals and leading Mexico in winning the 2005 FIFA under-17 World Cup .
Vela began his club career at Guadalajara in July 2005, then signed with Arsenal later that year . However, work permit issues prompted Arsenal to loan him to other clubs before he received a work permit in May 2008 . His performance with the club was generally inconsistent and he permanently transferred to the Spanish club Real Sociedad in July 2012. He currently still plays on the team.
Vela’s goal-scoring prowess and impressive dribbling skills make him a player to watch in this year’s COPA America.
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