Monday, June 27

Rogelio Funes Mori, from relegation with River to being Mexico’s new scorer


Rogelio Funes Mori celebrates a goal with Monterrey, in Liga MX, last April.
Rogelio Funes Mori celebrates a goal with Monterrey, in Liga MX, last April.Azael Rodríguez / Getty Images

In the Funes Mori family there will be two shirts to support their soccer players. The albiceleste from Argentina to support Ramiro, central for Villarreal, and the Mexican for Rogelio, who has decided to play for El Tri. Gerardo Tata Martino asked the Mexican Football Federation to do everything possible so that the Argentine striker could become a Mexican national. After a procedure before FIFA, Mexico has won a goal with an albiceleste stamp.

Martino has called up Rogelio Funes Mori for a couple of friendly matches, against Panama and Nigeria, for June 30 and July 3, respectively. The Argentine strategist, however, left Javier out Chicharito Hernández, Mexico’s top scorer. The Tri coach does not have his main scorer, Raúl Jiménez, who still does not know when he can return to the courts after suffering a skull fracture at the end of November 2020. However, the door is still open for Chicharito because at the end of this month Martino must deliver the final list to play the Gold Cup. “What Tata says has our blessing,” concluded Yon de Luisa, president of the Mexican Soccer Federation.

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The Funes Mori brothers were born in the province of Mendoza. As children, the family moved to Texas. The brothers trained in the Dallas FC Basic Forces and participated in a reality show of promising players. Rogelio won the contest that promised him a contract as a professional, but that never happened. That bitter episode was the best thing that could have happened to the young Funes Mori because they returned to Argentina to prove themselves in the River Plate youth teams: Ramiro as central defender and Rogelio as the scorer.

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Rogelio Funes Mori debuted in 2009 under criticism from River fans who questioned him about wearing the 9 shirt and intensified when the club fell to the Second Division in 2011. The brothers stayed on until the Millionaires were promoted. Benfica signed the attacker, but could not take off for a short time in the Turkish League with Eskişehirspor. Meanwhile, his brother Ramiro stood out with River for a couple more years before making the jump to Everton in the Premier League. Rogelio got the opportunity to play in Mexico with the Rayados de Monterrey. His hiring was seen as the umpteenth South American footballer who would try to win a place and ended up becoming one of the club’s historic scorers with 121 goals, tied with the Chilean Humberto Suazo.

Rogelio Funes Mori had to go to FIFA to request his change of federation. The forward was part of the Argentine national team on three occasions: in 2009 he played with the U18s, in 2011 he played the South American U20 tournament and, in 2012, he made his debut with the senior team in a friendly against Brazil. “I want to share with you with great pride that I am already Mexican. I feel love, respect and gratitude for this great country and its people. I’m very happy! ”Rogelio Funes Mori, 30, wrote a few days ago.

Mexico is not at odds with naturalized soccer players. Two of them have contributed greatly to the national team: Antonio Naelson Sinha and Guillermo Franco. Matías Vuoso, another Argentine who opted for El Tri, was key with a goal for Mexico to reach the World Cup in South Africa and key in the Copa América 2015. Both were key in Ricardo La Volpe’s process that culminated in a good World Cup in 2006. Others who have not been so lucky have been Christian Chaco Giménez, Damián Álvarez, Lucas Ayala, Lucas Lobos and Leandro Augusto.

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Martino, who already suffered a setback with Mexico after losing the Nations League to the United States, plays it with the twin Rogelio Funes Mori.

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