Mexicans abroad: Tecatito Corona continues fine form for Porto, Lainez provides late heroics
A long list of Mexican soccer'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 Europe's top leagues, keeping track of all of El Tri's 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" label -- here are the noteworthy performances from Mexican players in Europe last week.
Europeo of the Week: Jesus Corona, MF, Porto (Portugal)
After being suspended for the UEFA Champions League loss against Roma earlier in the week, Jesus "Tecatito" Corona showed Porto fans what they were missing in a 2-0 win over Vitoria Setubal last Saturday.
"The figure" stated O Jogo, one of Portugal's largest sporting tabloids, about Tecatito's performance in the recent victory. After being a part of the build-up for the first goal, the 26-year-old Mexican continued to create opportunity after opportunity in the final third. Corona was simply brilliant in the win. With his trademark dribbling and flair on full display, Tecatito was unlucky to not finish without at least a couple of assists in the game.
Nonetheless, Corona appears to finally be reaching his exciting potential. Once an inconsistent and mercurial youngster, the winger/midfielder/occasional right-back has now matured into a more reliable figure. Tecatito has been a game-changer this season for a Porto squad that is aiming for a second consecutive league title.
More importantly, if Corona maintains this current momentum, he could also have the opportunity to make a move to a bigger European league/club. Given a good end to his Portuguese season, Porto may finally be able/willing to let go of the pacey player who has been at the club since 2015.
Honorable Mention: Hector Herrera, MF, Porto (Portugal)
If we're discussing Porto, we also have to include Herrera in this list as well. During the win over Vitoria Setubal, the team captain scored from close range in the 15th minute and finished with more completed passes than any other player on the pitch. The goal was already Herrera's second this month in league play.
Honorable Mention: Diego Lainez, MF, Real Betis (Spain)
Lainez to the rescue. Last Thursday in the first leg of a Europa League knockout battle against Stade Rennes, the up-and-coming talent salvaged Betis an away draw with a late equalizer in the 90th minute of a 3-3 thriller.
"We can already see that he's a player who does interesting things. The goal was unexpected. When I saw he was about to shoot I wanted him to cross, but he did well, he scored," said manager Quique Setien about Lainez after the match.
Honorable Mention: Raul Jimenez, FW, Wolves (England)
Although it's slightly out of the ordinary to see Jimenez go a week without a goal or assist, the Mexican striker was still a crucial player for Wolves, providing key passes and constantly battling in numerous duels. Following 90 minutes in the 1-1 Premier League draw against Newcastle United last Monday, Jimenez was part of the starting XI that helped carry Wolves to a narrow 1-0 FA Cup victory over Bristol City on Sunday.
Dishonorable mention: Jorge Enriquez, MF, Unattached
The 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and Bronze Ball winner of the 2011 Under-20 World Cup is now without a team. Following a handful of disappointing loans in Liga MX, Enriquez, now 28, took his chances in Cyprus with a move to AC Omonia last summer. After being left out of matchday rosters in early 2019, reports recently emerged that the Cypriot club has rescinded his contract.
What's next for "Chaton?"