Mexicos National Team is pumped for the start of the World Cup, but theres one player whose future actually depends on his ability to make an impact during the tournament in Brazil.
Memo Ochoa announced he is leaving Ajaccio this summer. With tears in his eyes, he said good-bye to the teams faithfuls on the last Ligue 1 match of the season, but didnt clarify which net he would be guarding next year.
According the Catalan tabloids, theres a good chance he can land in Barcelona. At Camp Nou, to be more exact.
Sports daily El Mundo Deportivo has discussed the possibility during the last week, seeing as Barcelona is looking for a world-class goalkeeper to compete with new signing Ter Stegen, but they also needs this new player to be a low-cost acquisition.
After Luis Enriques arrival as new coach, Barcelona are planning a full rehaul of the team, and with the departure of both Valdes and Pinto from the team, Football Director Zubizarreta needs to cover two spots on the net.
With German Marc-Andre Ter Stegen already in the books, the Spanish press has been toying with the idea that Chilena Claudio Bravo would make a move to Barcelona from San Sebastian. But Real Sociedad are holding on to his contract and asking for 12 million euro to actually allow the transfer to happen, something Zubizarreta is not willing to accept.
Memo Ochoa’s chance
Thats where Memo Ochoa comes in.
The Mexican is battling Corona and Talavera for the starting spot and just a week before the start of the tournament, Miguel Herrera still doesnt seem to have made up his mind as to who will take on the number one role in his team.
Ochoa knows that he has a double reason to try his best shot at winning that battle. Playing in the World Cup, and representing Mexico, is an honor in and of itself, but if hes able to start for El Tri and make a splash in the competition, he can become next years Barça goalkeeper.
Andoni Zubizarreta, a former international goalkeeper himself, has seen the value on bringing the Mexican over from Barcelona. Ochoa is a very experienced goalkeeper, yet is at a primer age to join a big squad in the European stage. He is used to the pressure of a big club, having been brought up at America, and also has the commercial pull required from a big star at Barcelona.
Barças experience with Rafa Marquez as a franchise Mexican player was very positive. His presence in the team broaden the fan base for the club in the North American country, and Ochoa being one of the top Nike-backed talents would fit like glove at the Catalan club.
Being a free transfer for Barcelona would just make the deal even sweeter for the Cules, as they look to cut back on expenses in order to reinvest in attacking talent. So all in all, the operation couldnt be more of a win-win for all parties involved.
Memo Ochoa knows however many games Mexico will participate on in the World Cup will be crucial for his career, so it is imperative for him to get the starting role with Herreras squad, and to actually perform at his top-level.