Santi Gimenez: Mexico’s New Hope


Santi Gimenez in 2023

Christopher Alvarez, General Editor

Lately, a young player has been tearing up the field in the Eredivisie, the Dutch football league. This player is Santiago Gimenez, a 21 year old Mexican striker, who has already proved himself to be one of the deadliest in the world. It is rare to see a Mexican player do so well in Europe, as just seeing Mexicans play in Europe is rare. 

Born in 2001 in Argentina, Santi was raised in Mexico from the age of 2 and has grown up there all his life. Because of this, he chose to play for the Mexican National Team instead of the Argentinian National team since he says that he feels more Mexican. He started out his career in 2017 playing for Liga MX team Cruz Azul, where he made himself known as a lethal striker. He ended his time in the Liga MX with 21 goals. In 2022, he was scouted by Feyenoord and ended up transferring. As of 2023, he has 18 goals scored in the Eredivisie and the Europa League. 

Gimenez credits his development on the field to his faith in Christianity. He has said that having faith in Jesus helps him push himself more and more each time. Santi was baptized after the World Cup in Qatar, where he was called up but ended up not making the final 26. 

His performances in Europe are not going unnoticed by both at home Mexican fans and abroad Dutch fans. Gimenez recently posted a picture of a mural in the hometown of Feyenoord, Rotterdam, which depicts him pointing upwards to the sky in his #29 jersey which seems to imply that fans already put him in legendary status. In Mexico, there has been an uproar to play him in matches. The last match that Mexico played in was against Jamaica for the CONCACAF Nations League. The team was met with boos from Mexican fans towards the older Mexican players. The fans continuously chanted “Santi” over and over throughout the game, despite him being on the bench the entire time.

So why are fans of El Tri making him out to be our last hope? Aren’t other good players like Hirving Lozano already enough?

Well for one, it’s super rare to find a young Mexican player this good. Although Lozano is a really good player, he alone isn’t enough to carry the team. We should be a football powerhouse, like our rivals in the South, but we never picked up steam like them. This is due to how badly the Mexican confederation is set up and how greedy the owners are. The Liga MX is one of the most profitable leagues on the planet, with the highest attendance rate outside of Europe. Teams in the Liga MX end up inflating the prices for their players when approached by European teams, scaring them off and keeping the players in limbo there. If the club doesn’t allow it, it doesn’t happen. This is why there aren’t many Mexicans in Europe as opposed to Argentinians or Brazilians or even Americans. 

This depressing reality is shown with our recent World Cup performance, where we made an early exit in the group stages. Our last coach was a terrible choice for the team, and his call ups were extremely mediocre. We stick too much to our old players who aren’t what they used to be. Players like Raul Jiménez used to be excellent players, but now that they are old and on the brink of retirement, it’s time to let them go and let the younger generation shine. Maybe the only exception to this is our star goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, but it’s still sad that the best goalkeeper in the country is someone who seems to be close to retiring.

The future of Mexican football seems a little gloomy, but there are sparks seen with players like Santiago Gimenez.