Raul Jimenez The Newsest Atletico Madrid Player

Raul Jimenez headed to Atletico Madrid

Photo Courtesy of the Official Liga MX Facebook Page

It’s been an interesting past three to four weeks when it comes to news about potential transfer(s) of Mexican National Team forwards. Naturally most of the speculation on this front surrounded Javier Hernandez whose future with Manchester United seems all but over. While teams like Southampton, Valencia, and even Juventus have been rumored as potential destinations for ‘Chicharito’, one of the first clubs mentioned as a potential landing spot was Atletico de Madrid (Atletico Madrid). As of time of writing this article, Chicharito is still a Manchester United player whose future is still unclear. Yet Chicharito is not the only Mexican forward who’s been the subject of transfer speculation.

The other Mexican forward who has been the subject of transfer speculation has been Club America player Raul Jimenez. About two to three weeks ago, it was reported that FC Porto, a first and very important stop for many Latin American futbol players into Europe, had put in a bid or at the very least had strong interest in bringing in Jimenez. After a couple of weeks of little to no activity, this lead to talk on a larger scale as to whether or not Mexican clubs were overvaluing Mexican players and in turn, hurting the development of Mexican players in the process as a whole. Then last Saturday, some surprising news about Jimenez’s European future took on another dimension.

Last Saturday afternoon, FOX Deportes reporter Ruben Rodriguez reported on Twitter that Atletico Madrid had tabled a 10-11 million Euro ($14-15 million) bid for the 23-year-old forward. After a few days of analyzing the offer and of negotiating a certain percentage of the transfer between Club America and Raul Jimenez, the player officially became an Atletico Madrid player having agreed to a six year deal. There are a couple of takeaways from this transfer which is the most valuable of a Mexican player playing on a Mexican team in terms of transfer value.

The first takeaway from Raul Jimenez joining Atletico Madrid is that it is clear that a friendly played between Club America and Atletico Madrid played a major role in the Spanish club wanting to sign Jimenez. After turning in a display which caught the eye of Atletico coach Diego Simeone with Simeone going out of his way to praise the player, it is clear that Jimenez was identified and targeted as the player to fill that third forward left vacated at the club. It must also have helped that Simeone and Club America coach Antonio Mohamed are friends and played together on various Argentina National Team(s) and that relationship helped give Simeone an idea about Jimenez as a player.

A second takeaway is that Jimenez must be praised for having done a very good job of showing a high level of professionalism in the last few weeks when it appeared his efforts and dream to make the move to Europe were being thwarted by his club. All Jimenez did was score goals and put in at minimum 7 out 10 performances in the last three games he played with for Club America.

The career trajectory had by Raul Jimenez has been a very impressive one. He was a number of Club America U-20 teams who won Liga MX U-20 league three-peated as league winners and then when he got the chance to establish himself with the Club America first team, no easy feat given the position he plays. Then everything went to another level in 2012 as Jimenez was a member of a Mexico team that won the Toulon Tournament and as a result of an impressive showing played his way onto what would be a Gold Medal team at the 2012 Summer Olympics. This was followed up a year later by winning the Clausura 2013 title with Club America, a career defining goal against Panama in 2014 World Cup Qualifying and most recently being a member of the Mexican National Team squad at the 2014 World Cup.

The move to Europe for Raul Jimenez comes at the perfect time for Jimenez who is ready to take the next level in his development as a player. With Atletico Madrid, he will get the chance to play with a club who will play European futbol year in and year out as currently constituted, he will be playing in one of the three best and most talented leagues in the world, and he will be playing under a coach who will know how to manage and get the best out of him as a forward. And for Mexico, it means that it has the chance to have another player continue to improve at a higher level and in turn, help the national team improve.

8 year old Raul Jimenez took a trip to Madrid and during that trip, he paid a visit to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and like all of us who have visited, toured the stadium home to Real Madrid. Upon touring the museum portion of the tour, he stared at and was in awe of the trophies won by Hugo Sanchez and at that moment he told his father he wanted to be like Hugo Sanchez. 15 years later, Raul Jimenez will be emulating ‘Hugol’ by heading to Europe with Atletico Madrid being the destination. No doubt all Mexicans hope that he can replicate at least half of the accomplishments that ‘Hugol’ had when playing in Europe.

Lucas Carreras is a contributing Mexican National Team and Liga MX writer for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow Lucas on Twitter by following him @maldini3fan

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