Raul Jimenez stays red-hot, Guillermo Ochoa earns club honors in a banner week for Mexicans abroad
A long list of Mexico's top talents are making names for themselves at clubs abroad. With several key figures playing week in and week out in a number of top European leagues, keeping track of all the high-profile 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 -- and a "dishonorable mention" prize -- here are the noteworthy performances from Mexican players in Europe last week.\
Europeo of the Week: Raul Jimenez, FW, Wolves (England)
The Mexican striker's confidence continues to skyrocket in his first EPL season. Last Saturday, Jimenez was the hero for Wolves, as his goal and assist carried them to a 2-0 win over Cardiff City. The 27-year-old now has an impressive tally of 11 goals and six assist for the English club.
On loan from Benfica, Jimenez is clearly having a fantastic time with his new squad.
"I'm enjoying it. I love being here, we are making very good things [happen]," stated the striker earlier this week to Wolves' official website. "Quarter-finals of the FA Cup and in seventh position [of the league table], it's very good for us. We know we can do more, but we go game by game, looking forward."
Looking ahead, the big question surrounding Jimenez is whether Wolves will exercise their option to buy the player from Benfica. He won't come cheap either. If you believe the rumors, Wolves have reportedly looked into spending around €30 million for the Mexican. It's a steep price but one that is undoubtedly worthwhile for a player who has had a hand in nearly half of his team's goals this season.
At the very least, he'll have plenty of time to continue winning over any remaining doubters in the near future. Upcoming matches against Chelsea and Manchester United will provide him with invaluable opportunities to continue raising his stock.
Honorable mention: Guillermo Ochoa, GK, Standard Liege (Belgium)
It's easy to forget about Ochoa. Lost in the obscurity that is Belgium's top flight, many Mexican media and fans don't give the goalkeeper the same kind of attention as somebody like Jimenez or youngster Diego Lainez.
Nonetheless, the 33-year-old has quietly done very well for Standard Liege. Following last Friday's 1-1 draw with Royal Excel Mouscron, Ochoa was not only selected man of the match, but also as the player of the month for his side. Due in part to his eight clean sheets, Standard Liege currently sit fourth in the league table.
Honorable mention: Javier Hernandez, FW, West Ham (England)
Little by little, Hernandez is gaining back his confidence.
After scoring in the 3-1 win over Fulham in late February, albeit with his arm, the striker followed up his performance by playing a crucial role for West Ham in the side's 2-0 victory against Newcastle. "Chicharito" was the focal point to West Ham's attack and also drew a penalty for his side after being fouled late in the second half.
If Hernandez can stay fit, there is a good chance that he can have a strong finish to a season that has otherwise been fairly lackluster for the former Manchester United player.
Dishonorable mention: Hector Moreno, DF, Real Sociedad (Spain)
It appears as though Moreno has lost his starting role with Real Sociedad. After returning from injury in early February, the defender has yet to feature in a gameday XI for his Spanish squad. Sunday's 2-0 loss Atletico Madrid marked the fifth game in a row without a start for Moreno.
Mexican soccer fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that the 31-year-old can soon steal back his starting spot before the end of the season, especially in an important year for the national team.