Guillermo Ochoa defended the inclusion of Raul Jimenez in Mexico’s World Cup 26-player roster, insisting the Wolves figure stands with “a desire to play, to be on the field and contribute.”
In September, Jimenez suffered a groin/adductor injury that forced him back to the sidelines. Wolves confirmed the Mexican striker would be unavailable for the foreseeable future, putting into question his national team involvement.
In the weeks leading up to the final roster announcement, Jimenez trained with Mexico and traveled to England to receive his last bit of medical attention regarding the injury. Though his place on head coach Gerardo Martino’s list remained on the line, with Santiago Gimenez as the clear choice to take over, the player fought to make a comeback.
The Mexican national team has since revealed Jimenez is healthy, and able to feature in any of the three group stage matches. To silence doubts, Ochoa came to his defense.
“I see Raul’s ambition, hunger and desire to play, to be on the field, to contribute and help the team. The desire to play football again after what happened to his head [the clash with David Luiz in 2020] is an example for everyone. It has to be a motivation, an example of life. I’ve seen him doing very well in training, I’ve seen him working on extra things,” said Ochoa in a press conference.
The longtime goalkeeper went on to address the criticism Jimenez receives.
“It’s unfair to him because they take five seconds of a video and don’t have all the information they need to report fairly,” he added. “Sports is no longer talked about, articles are made from people who have nothing to do with sports. It has become a show around football.”
Mexico will kick off their 2022 World Cup campaign on Tuesday against Poland, before facing Group C opponents Argentina and Saudi Arabia. Though Jimenez is unlikely to start in Mexico’s inaugural match, with Henry Martin taking that starting role, the Wolves figure will see time in the group stage.