Will Blanco Save Mexico?


Mexican Football is in a state of panic. The high priced cosmopolitan foreign manager, Sven Goran Eriksson has not worked out. Rafa Marquez seems adrift as a captain and many an El Tri supporter wonders if he’d be better off focusing on his Barca career and simply becoming a squad player for Mexico. The nation is divided about the continued naturalization of players and the slow ascent of golden boys, Gio Dos Santos and Carlos Vela.

What has been missed by many an observer is that Mexico’s recent slide may trace itself back to the day Ricardo Lavolpe kicked Cuauhtémoc Blanco off the national team. Blanco’s return under Sven Goran Eriksson led to three consecutive El Tri victories. In the toughest match of the trio against Honduras, Blanco almost single handidly brought the Mexicans back to life drawing foul and excelling in open play.

Blanco had played occasionally under Hugo Sanchez, but was given a minimal role. Eriksson however, featured Blanco prominently in his first three matches in charge. Following a win over Canada, Blanco called it quits under the assumption he had hit the magic 100 cap mark for Mexico. He stated his focus would not be on his club side, the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.

But FIFA has since ruled Blanco has only 97 official “A” caps, and more importantly Mexico has one points in it’s four qualifying matches since Blanco’s international retirement. If Sven Goran Eriksson is going to survive as El Tri boss in the midst of a crisis at home he may need to talk Blanco back out of retirement.

A return to the national team for Blanco would provide stability in the clubhouse for team divided: young starlets against older players, naturalized players against native born players, those who favor a more Mexican style to those who favor the continental tactical setup Eriksson has employed. In short, bringing Blanco back may stop the bleeding.

Additionally this would be a great accomplishment for Major League Soccer at a time when MLS’ other high profile international is embarassing the league and acting like a spoiled child. Blanco has accomplished infinately more than the petulant David Beckham in MLS, and a return to international football would likely reflect very well on the league.

This entry was posted in Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Mexican National Team, MLS Talk. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

5 Responses to Will Blanco Save Mexico?

  1. Enrique says:

    Completely agree, the problem is that Eriksson already ruled him out when he was asked after the game. This is a mistake, he doesn’t have to start, come in as a sub and play the last twenty minutes, give the team a different rythm and better passing in the midfield like he’s always done. Sven doesn’t want him because he’s too slow but like you mentioned Kartik, he doesn’t realize what Blanco can do in the locker room, he’s always been respected, even in controversy.

    It’s a big deal if you take into account that Marquez has proven to be a bad leader and the media and fans are getting sick of it. Pavel Pardo is a good leader and he prides himself on showing it on the field but he just didn’t do it against the US. Something is missing with the players and I don’t think Sven can fix right now and he’s not going to be given the time to do it. Blanco would help.

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  3. Mr.T says:

    Blanco is a great player…even now at his age.
    Bringing him in would help El Tri. But I dont think this will solve mexico’s problems. Maybe Blanco can help, but it would be a limited help. He’s not the player he used to be.
    I think mexico and mexican players should stop acting like they are cracks..just because they are i europe or because of their history. What matters in the NOW. and right now they are worse than Honduras..maybe even worse than el Salvador. They need to learn to play as a team. They need new blood. I keep saying it,…get rid of Rafa/Oswaldo and Pardo. These players are a cancer to the team. Bring in players that truly want to be there, players who are hungry and feel that they have something to prove. The problem with mexico is that they expect to win just because they are mexico..the old giant of the concacaf…the dead giant. They need to learn to fight for balls…to RUN…they just f-ing wait around just watching the ball roll waiting for it to reach their feet….they need to run.
    Blanco is an option..and a probable temporary solution. But they need to stop working on the temporary and work for the long term.

    Gio and Vela..give them time. All they need is more playing time with their teams…if they get that they’ll be come awsome players. I’m looking forward to 2014 WC. Can’t wait to see Jonathan (will be better than pardo) in the mayor….Gio…Vela…Nery…Memo o Blanco (the keeper)..pato..magallon..all representing mexico.

  4. Jokerman326 says:

    Good post, Mr. T. I agree with most, especially your comments about Pardo and Sanchez. Sanchez, imho, was never that great of a keeper to begin with. Rafa is good. Obviously, or he wouldn’t be at Barca. But he needs to take that hunger he shows in La Liga and bring it to El-Tri. Oh, and stop hurting his team. Smart and talented defenders don’t need to be hacking thugs.

    Mexico needs to get *hungry*, and the hungry players are either not on the squad or are sitting the bench. I actually think that one of the things that drives the USMNT’s continued improvemeent is the hunger for respect. The “little guy with a chip on his shoulder” syndrome. Mexico needs to adapt that attitude, from the offices of the Federation on down.

    Blanco would absolutely help his national squad, if only to inspire the younger players.

  5. ricArdo says:

    yea we need to bring blanco beacuse mor else were not gonna qualfy please bring him back

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