Moreno’s Qatar move understandably splits El Tri fan opinion

first_imgHector Moreno is in Qatar, and if he sees out his contract he’ll be there for the next three years.How you feel about the Mexico international center back moving to Al-Gharafa probably has put you in one of two groups. Either you applauded the move as a deserved end-of-career financial boon for a long-serving Mexico international or you bemoaned another El Tri player taking the easy way out of Europe and parachuting into a league with lesser competition.And, good news! You’re probably right. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? There’s a little truth in every side of the debate – the same debate that has accompanied Mexico players’ moves back to North America as well. When Giovani dos Santos, Carlos Vela and Jonathan dos Santos moved to various parts of Los Angeles or when Carlos Salcedo decided to leave Frankfurt for a life with Tigres in Monterrey, critics said the same. With America in the market for a new goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa may be the Mexico veteran subject to the hot takes.On the one hand, these players are human beings. They’re entitled to make decisions they feel benefit themselves – even if it comes at the expense of the team whose success a whole nation lives and dies with. If Moreno wants to cash in with some money made in the Middle East after a decade in Europe, who’s to stop him? He’s no doubt doing what he feels is best for him and his family. Same with a player who returns to Liga MX or joins MLS. The joy he feels being close to family and friends may be worth more to him than the joy he would feel celebrating a goal in La Liga or, more likely for many players, getting sporadic minutes in a big European league.On the other, there’s no doubt Moreno will be less challenged as a player in Qatar than if he’d stayed with Real Sociedad. The 31-year-old defender looked crisp this summer in the final two matches of the Gold Cup, no doubt in part because he’d had to earn his place with La Real. Other players, like Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez or Jesus “Tecatito” Corona found their footing and improved by leaps and bounds by having to fight off competition for a place in their well-stocked European clubs.Jozy Altidore Hector Moreno USA Mexico Gold Cup 2019The real crux of the matter is players older than 30 should be getting phased out of the national team no matter what their club situation. Some exceptions exist. There are plenty of players who still can do the job even as they push past the milestone, but players in their prime are supposed to be jumping past these veterans. It’s admirable Ochoa is shaping up to be the No. 1 in Qatar at age 38, but is he really being pushed for the starting job by any up-and-comers in Liga MX or abroad?Moreno, with his unique profile as a left-footed center back who is extremely effective in picking out attackers on the opposite side of the field, is a player not easily replaced. There’s a reason both previous Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio and current El Tri boss Tata Martino have rolled with the veteran in their XIs even as he played limited minutes at the club level. The debate would be a moot point were Nestor Araujo locking onto the job and making the role his own. Instead, the Celta de Vigo defender struggled to display the level needed at the Gold Cup. This is a team in which Rafa Marquez started at the World Cup last summer at a spry 39 years of age. Part of that was down to injuries, but Edson Alvarez wasn’t yet ready to play the defensive midfield spot full-time.Osorio and Martino seeing the same value in veterans doesn’t mean they’re singing from the same hymn sheet in other aspects. While Osorio regularly railed against players not pushing themselves to find challenges at the club level, Martino looks to have accepted that players are going to come to North America or head off to the Middle East. That’s the reality of the market right now.More productive than complaining about the decisions those players already have made for themselves is focusing on what’s coming. El Tri fans should enjoy Moreno while they can – and let him enjoy himself as he plays out the last years of his playing career. It’s up to others, not him, to make sure the national team continues to improve.last_img

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