Mexicans abroad: Raul Jimenez’s three-goal week for Wolves earns him Europeo of the Week
More than ever before, some of the top names in Mexican soccer are playing for clubs abroad. With several key figures playing week in and week out in a number of top European leagues, keeping track of all the high-profile stars can at times be daunting.
In order to help keep tabs on those across the Atlantic, we’ve created a weekly award that will be given to the most outstanding player. Along with a few honorable mentions — and a “dishonorable mention” prize — here are the noteworthy performances from Mexican players in Europe last week.
Europeo of the week: Raul Jimenez, FW, Wolverhampton Wanderers (England)
It had to be Jimenez. Although a few other players had impressive weeks abroad, no Mexican player deserves this honor more than the Wolves striker.
Last Tuesday, the 27-year-old kicked things off with two goals in the 3-0 win for Wolves over West Ham. Just four days later, Jimenez continued his superb form with another goal in Saturday’s 3-1 away victory against Everton. The EPL newcomer now has nine goals and five assists in his first season for a Wolves side that looks destined to finish in the top half of the table.
“With these results and all the confidence we have, we can be unstoppable,” said the striker recently about his club’s form. “We know we have a good team with all of us doing the right things in our positions. We’re enjoying our games, we’re happy.”
However, whether Jimenez sticks around past this season, remains up in the air. On loan from Benfica, Wolves will have to reportedly shell out around £30 million for the Mexican. As expensive as that might be, it will likely be worth it when you look back at the outstanding season he has enjoyed so far while on loan.
Honorable mention: Nestor Araujo, DF, Celta Vigo (Spain)
Following a five-game losing streak in La Liga, Celta Vigo halted their worrisome drop down the league table with an unexpected 1-0 win over Sevilla last Saturday. In the backline, Araujo was immense with seven clearances, two interceptions and two blocked shots as Vigo held on to the clean sheet.
Even after the firing of manager Antonio Mohamed last November, Araujo has continued to hold down his spot in Celta Vigo’s starting XI.
Honorable mention: Jesus Corona, MF, Porto (Portugal)
It’s easy to forget how well Corona is doing abroad. While other stars like Diego Lainez, Hirving Lozano and Jimenez have stolen plenty of headlines, “Tecatito” has quietly done very well for himself this season in Portugal.
Last Wednesday, Corona collected his fifth assist of the Primeira Liga tournament in Porto’s 3-0 win over Belenenses. Then, during Sunday’s 0-0 away draw with Vitoria Guimaraes, the 26-year-old was unlucky to not finish with another assist after helping create a number of dangerous opportunities in the final third.
Honorable mention: Andres Guardado, MF, Real Betis (Spain)
Real Betis’ hard-working distributor clearly appears to be back to full health.
On Jan. 30, the Mexican national team captain played 103 minutes in a 3-1 Copa del Rey win over Espanyol that went into extra time. With Guardado helping orchestrate much of the possession going forward, Betis eventually secured a place in the semifinal round of the competition.
In La Liga play four days later, the veteran was once again instrumental for his Spanish side in a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid. As a deep-lying central midfielder, no player on the pitch finished the match with more clearances or successful dribbles than Guardado.
Dishonorable mention: Marco Fabian, MF, Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
Long gone are the days in which Fabian was once a key starter for Eintracht Frankfurt. After a deal with Turkish giants Fenerbahce fell through over the summer, the midfielder has since been left out of numerous matchday squads for his German club.
Without the former Chivas player on the bench or starting XI, Die Adler went on to gain a 1-1 draw with league-leaders Borussia Dortmund last Saturday.
Fabian’s last appearance for Frankfurt was during a Bundesliga match last September…
There could be good news on the way for Fabian as ESPN’s Taylor Twellman says he has heard that the Philadelphia Union are closing in on a move for the 29-year-old midfielder.