The downfall of Mexican footballer Giovani dos Santos

16/06/2021

Mexico put all its faith in an exceptional generation of soccer players. A group of Mexican teenagers won the Under-17 World Cup in 2005. It was unheard of for a country that had not yet hit its stride in soccer. Among the players was Giovani Dos Santos (Mexico City, 32), one of Barcelona's promising young players. His intermittent talent and injuries had sidelined him to the extent that he was cut from America, where he spent more time in the infirmary than on the pitch.

Giovani Dos Santos had excited Frank Rijkaard, then coach of Barcelona in 2007. The player had earned a good reputation in the subsidiary team and the fact of having won the youth World Cup gave him points to debut in the First Division. He did so under the tutelage of Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Deco and his compatriot, Rafael Márquez. Gio wanted more minutes, became impatient with the few he received and his entourage forced his departure. Tottenham, in the midst of a rebuilding process, signed him in 2008. The photograph, which still circulates on social networks, showed him next to another young recruit: Luka Modric, who would end up at Real Madrid and with a Ballon d'Or in 2018.

A succession of indiscipline led Dos Santos to be punished by Tottenham. The nightlife of London devoured the Mexican who ended up relegated to Ipswich in a lower division. His performance did not end up convincing Tottenham, who loaned him to Galatasaray, Racing Santander, and Mallorca. It was in Spanish soccer where he was able to show his skills as a midfielder and dribbling lover. Villarreal gave him a vote of confidence in 2013 and signed him for four years. Stability had arrived for Gio who, in his time there, played in the Europa League and scored a free-kick goal against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. He played with his brother, Jonathan, in the Yellow Submarine. It was the big moment for the Mexican 10.

In 2015, a million-dollar offer from the LA Galaxy of the United States seduced the Mexican, who earned more than six million dollars a year. The performance of Giovani dos Santos went downhill. He was hired to help the club win the league, but it all remained an intention. Gio's best year was in 2016 when he scored 15 goals. Injuries sidelined the Mexican's performance for more than 70 days, according to figures from Transfermarkt. The club relegated him hours before the start of the 2019 season to free up the franchise player spot.

Dos Santos joined América as a free agent and was presented as the big signing. His father, Zizinho, played for America and was the family's favorite team. It seemed to be the opportunity for the player's redemption, but little happened. In his first season, he was a substitute and the team lost the Liga MX final against Monterrey at home. Just as he was beginning to gain momentum, he suffered a hard cut on his leg in a collision with Antonio Briseño. In the last tournament played under Santiago Solari, he played in seven of 17 matches, and in none of them was he able to finish 90 minutes. In his two years with América he only scored four goals.

The best Giovani Dos Santos, however, has been with the Mexican national team. With El Tri, he has won an Olympic medal, the greatest merit of his country in international tournaments, and gave a great World Cup in Brazil 2014 in which he pushed the Netherlands to the limit in the Round of 16. His performance has distanced him from the national team and has now left him stuck in the swamp without a team.

Source: El Pais Mexico