Porto are regarded as one of the elite clubs of Europe. Since the early 1990s they have emerged as a force in the European Football and they reached the pinnacle of all when they won the prestigious Champions League in 2004. Since then they have been a competitive side and have become Europa League champions as well in 2011.
In recent years, their performance has been satisfactory in both domestic and continental tournaments. However, after the departure of certain key players, they have lost a bit of their old spark. Departure of players like Hulk, James Rodriguez, Falcao and Jackson Martinez has undoubtedly been a hindrance in their progression. But since last season, they are building a new set of players who are good enough to bring back their glory days, at least they claim so.
They signed Iker Casillas from Real Madrid which has been a big boost, also the current squad has a bend of young and experienced players which is always a good side. Some quality Portuguese players like Jota, Varela, Andre Silva have been decent, while veterans like Maxi Pereira, Ivan Marcano and Adrian has been important as well. But the backbone of Porto’s recent surge has been the Mexican trio of Miguel Layun, Hector Herrera and Jesus Corona.
Hector Herrera is Porto’s captain, 26 year old Mexican who was signed from Mexican club Pachuca in 2013. Since then, he has established himself as an integral part of the squad and now regarded as one of the top box to box midfielders in Europe. A player who has decent defensive qualities with his amazing range of passing and long range shooting, Herrera has been influential for the team. He so far has played 121 games for Porto, where he has scored 20 goals and 22 assists.
Jesus Corona, this young 23 year old was signed from Twente last season. Jesus is a skillful winger who is another important player of the club. His pace, passing and outfoxing the defenders in the final third has impressed their manager and Corona has cemented his place for the club. Though this season he was injured and didn’t get a lot of opportunities, but still he has created 22 chances so far this season, most by a Porto player.
Miguel Layun, on the other hand, is the left back of Porto, who was on loan from Watford last season before moving permanently at the club ahead of this season. Layun has emerged as a top wing back in couple of years and has been rated highly. He is a good defender and his backtracking skills, positioning is lauded. Beside that, Layun has been superb going forward. He scored 5 times for Porto last season and has a good eye for goal even in International arena. Layun’s ability to pick a pass or cross for men in the box has earned him the player with most assists last season in the Portuguese league, with a whopping assist tally of 15 in the league last term.
These three Mexicans have played a pivotal part in Porto’s current quest to become an elite club in Europe yet again. All three of them have years ahead of them to make a broader impact with the club. With the talents they have, a perfect combination of young and veterans can take the Portuguese giants to another level in the continental stage.
Another Mexican who is currently a part of Porto is defender Diego Reyes, currently on loan with Espanyol. So, FC Porto may well be a team forcing their way up in the near future as their resurgence continues.
Photo by araizavictor