Carlos Vela has virtually done it all since signing as LAFC's first player ahead of the club’s expansion season in 2018. The Mexican international is a two-time MLS All-Star, a two-time MLS Best XI selection and a Landon Donovan MVP-Golden Boot double winner in 2019.
The 32-year-old, though, isn't done setting lofty goals.
Vela scored an MLS-record 34 regular season goals in 2019, helping lead LAFC to the Supporters’ Shield. And while LAFC have been among the league’s elite since their arrival, an MLS Cup has been elusive to this point.
Coming off an injury-plagued 2020, a healthy Vela has a second MVP award in his crosshairs, he told Kevin Baxter of the LA Times in an exclusive interview.
“I will fight for the MVP again. Because if I think in that way it will be good for the team,” Vela said. "When you play good, you do good things, the team is also doing good things. Everything is going in the same direction. So my individual goal is to make the MVP. For the group, the goal is to win the championship. Two years ago, we won the Supporters’ Shield. So we are doing the right things. But we are still missing something.”
In 2020, Diego Rossi made history by becoming the youngest player in the league to win the Golden Boot a year after Vela captured it. It was the first time in league history players from the same team won the award in consecutive years.
Does that mean LAFC have two alpha males in attack heading into this season? Vela said he’s looking to continue to provide the young Uruguayan guidance, just as he did before.
“Diego and I, we have a great relationship. He’s young, so I feel like I have to show the way; how he can play or how he can be a better player,” Vela said. “Diego has to go to Europe so I’m trying to teach him. I can say, ‘Look Diego, you are doing well, you’re a good player. But come on. You can be better.’
"So I don’t think Diego is thinking like, ‘Oh I have to beat Carlos.’ [It’s] how he can learn from me or how I can teach him to be a better player — and, of course, myself to just keep going, keep getting better. We’re in a different situation. That’s why I don’t feel like we are fighting.”
For the entire interview, click here.