El Tri in LaLiga - Mexican Players in Spain's Top Division


By Gabriel Pessoa

Diego Reyes is the newest addition to the CD Leganes roster after signing a loan deal from Fenerbahce. The Mexican defender joins a growing contingent of ‘El Tri’ players in LaLiga.

In fact, Mexico has a rich history in Spanish club soccer with players like Chicharito Hernandez, Hugo Sanchez, Rafael Marquez and Giovani Dos Santos, among others having previously enjoyed successful careers in the Spanish top-flight. 

Here is a look at some of the prominent Mexican players participating in LaLiga Santander today: 


Diego Reyes

Club: CD Leganes | Age: 26 | Position: CB

Although he’s arriving on loan to Leganes from Fenerbahce, Reyes is no newcomer to LaLiga, having already racked up some mileage in the division during stints with Real Sociedad and RCD Espanyol. 

Over the years, Reyes has shown that he is a defender who is comfortable playing with his feet. Although being somewhat lightweight, Reyes is tall and poses an aerial threat on set-pieces.

If need be, Diego Reyes is capable of playing center midfield as well. Throughout his career Leganes’ newest signing has proven himself to be a composed player on the ball, and not the type of center back to shy away from pinging a cross-field pass to start an attacking move. 



Andres Guardado

Club: Real Betis | Age: 32 | Position: MF 

This next player has been around the block in Spain’s top tier. ‘El Principito’ has matured and become a proper LaLiga veteran. 

Andres Guardado joined Deportivo La Coruna back in 2007 and, after suffering relegation in the 2010/11 season, helped the Galician side return to Spain’s elite division. Aside from a few short stints in German and Dutch soccer, he has remained in Spain ever since. 

Possessing a cultured left foot, Guardado is a great distributor of the ball and has an abundance of technical quality. 

The mental image of Andres Guardado threading through balls to the likes of Joaquin and Antonio Sanabria sends shivers up the backsides of LaLiga defenders. Last season, he ranked among the top ten leaders in assists in the league.

A dead ball specialist, Guardado can also pose a serious threat to any opposing team with set-pieces.

Now entering the twilight of his career, Guardado will look to serve as a mentor to a certain newcomer…


Diego Lainez

Club: Real Betis | Age: 18 | Position: RW/LW

The world has yet to witness Diego Lainez’s full potential. Even at his former club, America, Lainez was used sparingly. It would be unfair to start throwing out comparisons, and yet you can’t help but notice a few familiar traits when watching his highlight reel.

The resourcefulness in tight spaces, the speed, the vision, the skill... we have seen this somewhere before. Let's just say Diego Lainez reminds of us of a certain other diminutive lefty. 

With his first official start for Real Betis under his belt, Lainez should begin to grow and develop into a more fully-formed player under Quique Setien. 


Nestor Araujo

Club: RC Celta | Age: 27 | Position: CB

Here we have a defender’s defender. Araujo stands tall at 6’ 2” and is fearless in the back line. Whether it be for RC Celta, the Mexican national team, or even his former club Santos Laguna, Araujo has proven he is not afraid of putting in a shift. 

Araujo is composed on the ball and can easily thread a pass between opposing lines. He is also a consistent threat on set-pieces and has a knack for heading the ball into the back of the net. 


Hector Moreno

Club: Real Sociedad | Age: 31 | Position: CB

A defender who does not shy away from the limelight, Hector Moreno featured prominently in El Tri’s World Cup squad throughout the group stage in Russia last year, but due to an accumulation of yellow cards was unavailable for Mexico’s eventual exit from the competition against Brazil in the round of 16. 

Look for Moreno to remain a regular feature in Mexico’s back line under Tata Martino. 

For Real Sociedad, Moreno is a prominent feature and even recently scored against Rayo Vallecano. Do not be surprised if Moreno maintains this high level of play moving forward in his career.