Santos star Julio Furch mulling citizenship to play for Mexico
Santos Laguna’s Argentine striker Julio Furch is getting his paperwork in order to become a Mexican citizen and potentially play for the Mexico squad.
The 29-year-old is leading the Liga MX scoring charts this Apertura with 11 goals and was key for Los Guerreros in their title charge last season.
“We’re starting with the documents,” said Furch in an interview with ESPN Mexico. “The first thing is to bring some that I have in Argentina like my birth certificate and then legalize them.”
Furch stated his mother and agent are helping with the process, but the former Veracruz striker knows he’ll have to maintain his goalscoring to make the Mexican national team.
“I have to keep up the good rhythm and form to be ready in case the call comes.”
Citizens of Latin American countries are eligible to apply for Mexican citizenship after only two years in the country, but FIFA’s naturalization rules means Furch – who signed for Veracruz in December 2014 – wouldn’t be available for El Tri until 2020.
Mexico’s depth pool in the center forward position is shallow, with Javier Hernandez (30 years old) and Raul Jimenez (27) the established Europe-based strikers, but this season the top 10 goal-scorers in Liga MX are all foreign-born, potentially opening the door for someone like Furch.
“I think that maybe it’s a topic for the directors,” said Furch about Mexican strikers not getting many chances in Liga MX teams. “They look abroad to make up the goals. Mexicans are maybe at a disadvantage against a foreigner who is already proven.”
The topic of naturalizing foreign-born players is regularly debated in Mexico and El Tri‘s interim Brazilian coach Ricardo Ferretti said last month that he isn’t in favor of calling them in.
“I wouldn’t like [to have naturalized Mexicans in the national team],” said Ferretti in a news conference. “I come from a country [Brazil] in which we are very drastic in that sense and we should have players born in Mexico.”
“If [the new permanent coach] thinks that it is positive, it will be their decision. If I was carrying on in this process, I wouldn’t do it.”
As well as Furch, Spaniards Edgar Ménez (28, Cruz Azul) and Alejandro Arribas (29, Pumas) have recently expressed their interest in suiting up for Mexico.