Mexico boss 'Tata' Martino left fuming over Jesus Corona absence
SAN DIEGO -- Mexico head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino couldn't hide his disappointment that Porto winger Jesus "Tecatito" Corona didn't travel to meet up with El Tri this international break and suggested there will be repercussions.
Corona pulled out of the Mexico squad citing an ankle injury he has been playing through of late, but Martino wanted him in Southern California regardless of his fitness for El Tri's only meetup before the summer's Gold Cup squad is announced.
"What happened is that Jesus let the doctors know on Saturday about a problem he'd had with his ankle," Martino told Azteca Deportes on Tuesday. "On Sunday, I spoke with him twice, once early in the morning and the other in the airport.
"In the morning, I manifested the idea that even with impossibility [of playing with] the injury he had, we needed him to be with the group to get to know each other, it being the first meeting we'd have had.
"He didn't have to train or play if he couldn't, but we needed him to be here. At first he said yes and then on midday on Sunday, he called to say he'd thought about it and that his ankle wasn't right and that he preferred not to travel."
Martino questioned whether family members, Porto or agents had talked to the 26-year-old Corona about not traveling, but stressed that "he's done something wrong" and that "he knows there will be repercussions in the future."
However, the Portuguese club told ESPN that it had informed the Mexican federation about Corona's injury.
"Like I say, no one goes gun in hand asking them to come in and when they decide not to come we move on and keep going with the group that does want to be here," added Martino, who said the national team hadn't received a statement from Porto on the injury.
In-form LAFC forward Carlos Vela is the other unexplained absence from the Mexico squad, with Martino explaining that after talking through future plans for the national team, he decided that the 30-year-old shouldn't be involved.
"I don't meet up [with the players] to make pacts," said Martino. "I had to take a decision and name the squad list and in that list I decided that Carlos shouldn't be in."
Vela, speaking after LAFC's draw on Sunday against New York City, said he wished Martino's team well and hinted at his frustration regarding the treatment he receives in the Mexican press.
"I think they have really good players in Mexico, always," Vela told reporters. "It's just getting new players and they do well. For sure, Tata has a good team."
"What happens is that when I'm there, they kill me ... When I'm out, they want me there. It's never a good thing."
Porto midfielder Hector Herrera's case is simpler, explained Martino, with the former Pachuca player granted time away from the national team this week in order to push through his Portuguese passport before the summer.
Porto and its Mexican duo face Liverpool in the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League, with the first leg taking place on April 9.
Martino's first game as El Tri coach is on Friday against Chile at SDCCU Stadium. The squad then travels to San Jose on Sunday ahead of next Tuesday's match against Paraguay at Levi's Stadium.