After sitting out this summer’s Copa America Centenario, LA Galaxy attacker Giovani dos Santos wants to return to the Mexican national team.
Dos Santos was not on Mexico’s roster for the Copa America, with manager Juan Carlos Osorio indicating that the 27-year-old chose to opt out of the tournament. The MLS All-Star is ready to come back to El Tri now, however, telling reporters in San Jose on Tuesday that he’ll be ready if Osorio calls him for Mexico’s World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Honduras in September.
"I've been working for it, I always work for it,” dos Santos told FutbolMLS.com’s Kristel Valencia in a Spanish-language interview ahead of Thursday’s AT&T All-Star Game against Arsenal (7:30 pm ET; ESPN, UniMas in the US, TSN, RDS in Canada). “I've always said it, every player wants to play for the national team. I want to do things well and if they call me be ready to return."
Dos Santos, who has scored 17 goals in 90 caps since debuting for Mexico in 2007, has yet to be called up by Osorio since the Colombian took over last fall. He flatly denied any notion of a rift with the former Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls manager on Tuesday, saying that the two have a “good relationship.”
"The doors of the national team were never closed neither on my side or his, that needs to be clear,” dos Santos said. “The doors of the national team are open, we had a normal conversation, we have a good relationship and the possibility of returning was always there."
Dos Santos’ absence at the Copa America marked the first summer he didn’t participate in a tournament with Mexico’s senior team since 2008. He’s been a mainstay for El Tri since his teenage years, appearing for Mexico at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, 2009, 2011 and 2015 Gold Cups, 2012 Olympics and 2013 Confederations Cup.
Mexico got off to a solid start at the Copa, beating Uruguay 3-1 in their opener and going on to win Group C. Things didn’t go so well in the quarterfinals, where Mexico were dealt a crushing 7-0 defeat by eventual champions Chile.
The result was a shock to the entire country, dos Santos included.
"It was shocking,” he said. “Mexico was one of the teams that I believed was ready to be champions, but these are things that happen in football. I do trust in this generation of players, it is a very talented national team that has everything to change the history of the Mexican national team.”
"It is complicated to speak to the fans right now, but I do believe that as games for the World Cup qualifiers are played, they will see the players’ performance,” he continued. “I think that what it's important is to trust in the national team, there is a great group of players, we were not the best before the 7-0 [loss vs. Chile] neither are we the worst after. I think this is a very talented generation of players, and I believe they can bring so much joy to our country."