Mexico v Cameroon: Why will Mexico be without influential striker and Arsenal transfer target Carlos Vela?
Vela has not played for his country since 2011 and will not take part in Brazil
Mexico will line-up against Cameroon on Friday evening in their opening World Cup Group A fixture without one of their most influential players in Carlos Vela, but why isn’t the Real Sociedad striker in Brazil with the rest of his international team-mates?
LIVE: The latest news on Day 2, including Cameroon v Mexico, Spain v Netherlands and Chile v Australia
Vela has made 35 appearances for Mexico since making his debut in 2007, but he has not been capped by his country since 2011 after he received a six-month suspension for attending a party following the 3-1 victory over Ecuador in Monterrey.
Having initially been banned in 2010 along with colleague Efrain Juarez as well as being fined 50,000 Mexican peso along with 12 other players, Vela returned to the international set-up in February 2011 when head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre named him in the Mexico squad to face Venezuela.
However, following criticism for his performances in the green of Mexico and a strained relationship with the Mexico Football Federation executives, Vela refused to join up with the squad for the 2011 Concacaf Gold Cup.
The 25-year-old also refused to be a part of Mexico’s successful Olympic team for the London 2012 Games, and made a third snub to his country when he was asked to join up for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers in March last year.
In a final last-ditch attempt to persuade the Sociedad striker to feature in Brazil, MFF officials flew to Spain for talks with Vela about taking part in the World Cup, but he announced earlier this year that he “100 per cent mentally ready to represent Mexico”, with new manager Víctor Manuel Vucetich labelling Vela’s World Cup inclusion as a “closed case”.
Read more: Mexico v Cameroon match preview
Arsenal will activate £3.5m release clause for Vela
Explained: Why are Arsenal making a move for Vela?
Instead of dazzling in front of the world’s eyes in Brazil, Vela will spend the summer orchestrating where his future lies, with his former club Arsenal set to trigger a £3.5m buy-back clause in his contract in an effort to bring him back to the Emirates.
While Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay confirmed talks have taken place with the Premier League side, but he added that he remains hopeful of keeping hold of Vela as the striker wants to stay in Spain.
“Arsenal have informed us that Vela would be with them next season,” said Aperribay. “We are fortunate that the player is keen to stay in San Sebastian with us and that's an important factor for Real Sociedad.”
Former Tottenham midfielder Giovanni Dos Santos is expected to lead the line this evening against Cameroon, with Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez set to start the match on the bench.
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