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Mexico cuts top young player from World Cup roster

To meet the tournament limit of 23 players, the team drops midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, 20, who seemed assured of a place in South Africa. His father angrily vows his son will no longer play for Mexico.

May 31, 2010|By Kevin Baxter

Reporting from Herzogenaurach, Germany -- Mexico trimmed its roster to the World Cup limit of 23 players Monday, cutting a top young player it may now lose for the future.

Midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, a precocious 20-year-old who seemed assured of a place in South Africa before being slowed the last month by a torn muscle, was sent home after meeting with Coach Javier Aguirre and Nestor de la Torre, executive director of the Mexican soccer federation.

"Jonathan … is a player with a great future," De la Torre said. "On this occasion, he didn't realize his dream. But we have in front of us the Pan American Games, we have the Copa America. The Olympics. There's a long road ahead for Jonathan with the national team."

Still with the team is Dos Santos' brother, Giovani, a key cog in Mexico's offense. De la Torre acknowledged that Giovani's reaction to his brother's departure could affect Mexico going forward.

"Not just Giovani, but other teammates too," he said. "In any group, there are three, four that are very close. It's a group.

"Whenever a teammate leaves, a teammate with whom you've spent time with, eaten with, practiced with, it's difficult. It hurts. More than that, they're brothers. For that we have to support them."

Neither of the brothers spoke at Monday's news conference. But the boys' father, Zizinho, a former standout in Mexico Primera Division, did not hide his anger.

"Jonathan will not play for Mexico anymore," he told the Mexican TV network Televisa. "I love Mexico, I adore it, even though I am Brazilian. But they cannot hurt him this way."

Mexico's World Cup team, with club teams in parentheses:

Goalkeepers: Luis Michel (Chivas), Memo Ochoa (America), Oscar Perez (unattached) Defenders: Jonny Magallon (Chivas), Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL), Efrain Juarez (UNAM), Paul Aguilar (Pachuca), Francisco Javier Rodriguez (PSV), Hector Moreno (AZ), Rafael Marquez (Barcelona), Carlos Salcido (PSV), Ricardo Osorio (unattached) Midfielders: Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Israel Castro (UNAM), Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruna), Giovani dos Santos (Tottenham) Forwards: Javier Hernandez (Chivas/Manchester United), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Veracruz), Adolfo Bautista (Chivas), Alberto Medina (Chivas), Carlos Vela (Arsenal), Pablo Barrera (UNAM), Guillermo Franco (unattached)

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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