Truth be told: Chepo on Vela and Mexico

Posted by Rafael Ramos Villagrana

Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre showed a different face and a different discourse when El Tri's coach spoke with and other English-speaking journalists in San Francisco recently.

He changed his discourse on two key points. Or at least he revealed new situations.

There are two possibilities: either he misled and its English-speaking interviewer or he has managed a different message to his Spanish-speaking audience.

That not-to-be-missed chat contained many of Chepo’s well-known references and statements, but there are two notable new ones.

He always said about Carlos Vela that "the player’s attitude opens or closes the doors to this National Team, and he should change his attitude."

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Now De la Torre assures that Carlos Vela clearly told him that his intention is to establish himself in Spain's La Liga and that he doesn’t want to be distracted by lengthy trips and scheduled matches with Mexico’s National Team. He had never before revealed these details in relation to the Real Sociedad forward.

So which is it Chepo? What you've told the Spanish-language media or what you stated to the English-language media.

He has never before uttered the following second revelation in Spanish: "it's not only about trying to make it past the second round, it's about reaching the final," regarding the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, adding that since Mexico hadn't yet qualified he would not discuss this further.

As far as I can remember, it is the first time that Chepo mixes the World Cup final into his rhetoric. He had painstakingly avoided speaking about processes, about a step-by-step, about the importance of first securing a spot at the World Cup.

Surely fans would have thanked him for these discourses – about Vela and about World Cup aspirations.

First of all, because Vela’s absence in El Tri is perceived as an outright rebellion, especially when Chepo stresses "wrong attitudes" and when, according to him, the Real Sociedad striker came clean with them.

Note: this doesn't make Vela exempt from being judged by the public, when he decides to prioritize his career in Spain over El Tri. That is a separate valuation. He has the right to choose. Likewise, Chepo has the right, and the obligation, to specify the nature and authenticity of explanations and denials.

In the end, Chepo’s alleged sincerity with exposes him vis-à-vis his own previous statements and pardons Real Sociedad star Carlos Vela, at least from being a villain.

The topic of the World Cup final is extremely subjective. Chepo is right when he says that "games are quite circumstantial," and when he says that history links Mexico to being hasty, especially when they've pinned out-of-control hopes to recent World Cups.

Ultimately, the intent is not to victimize or demonize Chepo for revealing to an reporter what is really going on. What's serious is to have concealed it from those before whom he has a supreme duty: Mexican fans.

At least now it is clear that Vela isn't as bad, despicable or vile, or as much a traitor to his country, as some flag-waving fanatics claim. And Chepo must be thanked for revealing in his outburst that he will dare – unconditionally, prudently and intelligently – to take on the imposing challenge of trying to reach the World Cup final in Brazil.

I highlight this second point because, let's remember, if anyone's legs have trembled, thoughts been clouded and mind become blocked in important games at World Cups, it's been the coaches.

We can illustrate through several examples:

1. In 1994, when coach Miguel Mejia Baron doesn't use star foward Hugo Sanchez against Bulgaria and makes no substitutions.

2. In 1998, when Manuel Lapuente makes up a role switch between Claudio Suarez and Rodrigo Lara against Germany.

3. Next up, the inclusion of Alberto Garcia Aspe and Luis Hernandez via substitutions made by Javier Aguirre against the United States in 2002.

4. Who could forget the internal chaos under Ricardo La Volpe in 2006?

5. And of course, in 2010, Aguirre’s ill-fated experiments with Cuauhtemoc Blanco against Uruguay, and Adolfo Bautista against Argentina.

It's not the players who have failed. Rather, the ones who have failed are those who have mistakenly chosen or reassigned the players and done so with a quivering, sad voice.

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