Soccer

Martino confirms Chicharito talk, coy on ‘Tri’ return

Mexico coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino confirmed that he isn’t willing just yet to guarantee a return to the national team for LA Galaxy striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

Ahead of a friendly against Nigeria at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas this Saturday, Martino stated in a Friday press conference that despite a recent conversation with Hernandez, a place in ‘El Tri’ isn’t secured.

“I never said that a meeting indicated any future commitment,” said Martino.

“If my meeting [with a player] generates some kind of commitment, today we would have seventy players in the national team.”

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Hernandez hasn’t earned a call-up to ‘El Tri’ since 2019. Although the 33-year-old is Mexico’s all-team leading goalscorer, several reports have indicated that the forward has been left out over the last few years due to an off-the-field issue. According to TUDN, there was a step towards resolving these problems when the striker reached out to Mexico’s manager.

“It’s true,” said Martino about chatting with Hernandez. “We had a conversation. Surely there will be another one that we’ll have.”

That said, Martino pointed out that he currently has in the national team players like Raul Jimenez, Henry Martin, Santiago Gimenez and Rogelio Funes Mori in the frontline.

“Today there’s them and in the future, we’ll see,” he added.

Mexico’s friendly at AT&T Stadium is their second of the year after earning a 0-0 draw with Guatemala last month in Florida’s Camping World Stadium. El Tri will continue a busy slate of games that includes additional U.S.-based friendlies against Uruguay on June 2 in Glendale, Arizona; and Ecuador on June 5 in Chicago.

Mexico will then kick off their 2022-23 Nations League campaign at home against Suriname on June 11 and away against Jamaica on June 14. Later this year, Martino and his men will face Paraguay in a friendly on Aug. 31 in Atlanta.

On Thursday, former national team manager Juan Carlos Osorio made news when he admitted on ESPN’s Futbol Americas that stepping down in 2018 as El Tri’s head coach was his “biggest mistake.”

According to Osorio, he was offered a chance to coach Colombia, which is why he turned down an opportunity to continue coaching Mexico for another 4-year cycle, but the job as Colombia’s national team manager was ultimately not given to him.


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