Mexicans abroad: 'Tecatito' Corona shines as the Europeo of the week
The 2018-19 season could be a banner year for Mexican soccer as more El Tri players than ever before are playing their club soccer overseas. With several key figures playing week in and week out in a number of European leagues, keeping track of all the noteworthy 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, here are the best performances from Mexican players in Europe last week.
Europeo of the Week: Jesus "Tecatito" Corona, FW, FC Porto (Portugal)
The resurgence of Corona continues. After looking relatively average for club and country for a long period, the 26-year-old has recently started to highlight why he was once considered one of the most promising young Mexicans around.
During last Monday's 3-1 win for Porto over Nacional, "Tecatito" put on a show with two assists to help his team to victory. An agile and crafty right winger, Corona was a constant menace for the opposition backline and while those two assists are what landed him the Europeo of the Week award, what truly helped set him apart from his peers is his versatility.
In Saturday's 0-0 draw against Sporting, Corona took up the right-back position in the second half for Porto. Although he isn't the most powerful, he made a few good interceptions and his deep runs displayed his ability to play as a wing-back if required.
Corona still has a long way to go before he meets the high expectations once thrust upon him but if he continues to shine in Portugal this season, a much-awaited move to a bigger club might finally come to fruition. A good run in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and/or the Gold Cup with El Tri wouldn't hurt either.
Honorable Mention: Raul Jimenez, FW, Wolverhampton Wanderers (England)
Little by little, Jimenez is beginning to prove his worth in England. After impressing fans and critics over the first half of the Premier League season, the Mexican striker stepped up as a game-changer during his FA Cup debut last week. In the 38th minute of their third round match against Liverpool, Jimenez netted the first goal for Wolves in a 2-1 victory.
Currently on loan from Benfica, it would be a bit of a shock if the 27-year-old isn't signed permanently by Wolves at the end of the season.
Honorable Mention: Antonio Briseno, DF, Feirense (Portugal)
Lost at the more obscure end of Portugal's Primeira Liga scene with Feirense, it's easy to forget about the central defender. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old is one of the main reasons why his team aren't at the bottom of the table.
Last Friday, Briseno made more passes and clearances than any other Feirense player in the 1-1 draw with Aves. While his team have been dismal up front, the Mexican defender has helped steady the defence and keep the squad alive in the race to avoid relegation. For that, he deserves credit.
Honorable Mention: Andres Guardado, MF, Real Betis (Spain)
Back from injury, Guardado earned his first start of 2019 last Thursday for Real Betis in a 0-0 Copa del Rey draw with Real Sociedad. Although Betis couldn't find the back of the net, Guardado was highly active throughout the game, catching the eye with his dribbling and distribution in the final third.
Three days later, the Mexican veteran and his club nearly stole the points away from Real Madrid. Despite an eventual 2-1 defeat at home, Guardado's team impressed with 73 precent possession in the narrow loss and the 32-year-old midfielder covered plenty of ground with his runs, while his 66 completed passes helped Betis maintain a significant amount of time on the ball.