Gerardo Martino explains Raul Jimenez's inclusion in Mexico World Cup roster
Mexico national team head coach Gerardo Martino explained the decision to name Raul Jimenez to the 26-player World Cup roster, after injury concerns surrounded the Wolves figure in the weeks leading up to the squad announcement.
Martino confirmed Jimenez is healthy, and will feature in the team’s final friendly against Sweden before traveling to Qatar to kick off the World Cup campaign.
“The decision about Raul was based on his evolution and what we discussed with the medical team. He will probably have some minutes tomorrow vs. Sweden,” he said in a press conference.
Many questioned Jimenez’s health after a groin/adductor injury sent him to the sidelines in September. The player trained separately from Wolves and Mexican teammates for months leading up to the roster announcement, raising extreme concerns.
Jimenez stood as Martino’s top choice as the team’s number nine, trumping Rogelio Funes Mori, Henry Martin and Santiago Gimenez in the hierarchy. He featured in most Concacaf tournaments and the qualifying cycle from 2019 to 2022, barring injury spells.
Though he’s managed 29 goals in 96 appearances for Mexico, overall, his recent health and lack of playing time created anxiety. But after rounds of treatment and rehabilitation, Raul finally joined Mexico on the pitch in Girona to secure his place on Gerardo Martino’s final list.
After Monday’s roster announcement, the attention will now shift to the Sweden warm-up.
"Our proposal will be the same as always: to be able to play as we want to play. To have our players in the best possible shape," said Martino. "Sweden is similar to Poland when it comes to quick transitions. They can be similar but not identical. Tomorrow's plan is to have our players on point."
El Tri will kick off their World Cup tournament on November 22 against Poland, before confronting Group C opponents Argentina and Saudi Arabia.