Could Carlos Vela be walking away from the Mexican national team again?
That’s the upshot of a new Univision report stating that the LAFC star “does not want to participate” in this summer’s Gold Cup with El Tri, despite extended conversations with head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino.
Martino confirmed in an interview with ESPN on Thursday that he's yet to find out what LAFC standout Vela's plans are for the summer, but hopes that the 30-year-old will be part of the Mexico squad, despite not picking the former Arsenal player for the March friendlies.
The current MLS Golden Boot leader with 11 goals (and five assists) in 11 matches, Vela is on a dominant run of form that has powered LAFC to the top of the league standings. Martino did not call him up for his first set of games in charge of El Tri, but reportedly wishes to bring him into the fold for the Gold Cup and beyond, and has not given up on those hopes despite the striker’s apparent disinterest.
“Whatever decision is taken in terms of what player is going to be on a list or not is the manager's. What we're dealing with here is that in this case, I can't decide anything about the life of a player. There are personal questions that he has to resolve,” Martino told the Dallas Morning News last week in regards to Vela after an event promoting Mexico’s June 9 friendly vs. Ecuador at AT&T Stadium.
“So, I can make my decision, but maybe he's not on the same page. One question is professional, the other is personal. Professionally, the decision is entirely mine. The personal is the player's.”
Vela sent out a somewhat cryptic tweet after the reports surfaced on Thursday afternoon.
One of the most talented Mexican players of his generation, Vela has had a complex relationship with the national team over the years. He was a key player in their 2010 and 2018 World Cup campaigns, but from 2011-14 took an extended hiatus from El Tri due to a range of factors including club commitments and disagreements with the technical staff.