Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has defended Tata Martino’s decision to call up Wolves striker Raul Jimenez for the World Cup.
Jimenez is fighting to be fit for the nation’s opening game against Poland on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old got 45 minutes against Sweden in a friendly last week, and looks to be a fair bit away from being 100% match fit.
Martino decided to keep Jimenez in his squad when he cut it from 31 down to 26, and the decision has been questioned by some sections of the Mexican media.
Some Wolves fans have also struggled to accept Jimenez going to play in Qatar, given his lack of club minutes.
But Mexico’s number one Ochoa believes Martino was right to bring Jimenez to Qatar.
He said in a press conference (quoted by 90min): “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.
Over the weekend, footage of Jimenez in Mexico training emerged.
Journalist Rodolfo Landeros posted the clip and suggested that he wasn’t moving totally freely.
This morning, Jimenez’s girlfriend’s Daniela Basso called out the media for their reporting of the situation, stating ‘the number of lies is not to be said’.
And Ochoa has seemingly also criticised the press, adding: “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. Sport is no longer talked about, articles are made from people who have nothing to do with sports. It has become a show around football.”
Raul Jimenez’s fitness could be better than has been made out, as Guillermo Ochoa defenders his selection for Mexico
At this point, nobody outside of the Mexico national team really knows where the striker is up to with his fitness. Wolves have not given any updates and the player has also been silent.
He did get 45 minutes against Sweden. But it was a lethargic display, which was to be expected having not played for so long. But he didn’t look to be showing discomfort.
The training footage Landeros posted over the weekend has seemingly not gone down well given the comments from Ochoa and Basso.
Hopefully, all will become clear once Mexico get their first game out of the way, and we see how much he features.