Mexico midfielder Hector Herrera confirmed he won't be taking part in this summer's Gold Cup, instead resting up ahead of a transfer move.
The veteran midfielder is approaching his 50th match played for Porto in the 2018-19 season between captaining the Dragons in league matches, a run to the Champions League quarterfinals and a pair of cup competitions.
The 29-year-old reportedly has agreed to a deal that would see him join La Liga side Atletico Madrid this summer. His contract with Porto is expiring, and he has long been expected to leave the club on a free transfer. He said Sunday that his club future played a role in his decision not to join manager Tata Martino's side in the United States as Mexico looks to win back the Gold Cup.
“Through this release, I want to inform my motives for my absence for the 2019 Gold Cup," Herrera wrote on Twitter. "I find myself in need of recovering my peak fitness after the physical and mental toll of a season in which I have played more than 50 official matches with my current club - and additionally to have the chance to define my professional future."
"Thank you to all the directors of the Mexican national team and Mexican fans for their understanding," he continued. "Thank you for your time and success to my national team!" Herrera wrote before signing off "Your friend."
While Herrera is the first player to confirm his absence, several World Cup veterans are likely to miss out on the tournament. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Mexico's all-time leading scorer, is expecting his first child and likely won't take part. Hirving Lozano suffered a knee injury with PSV that may cost him his tournament.
Carlos Vela's status is up in the air, with the LAFC star not taking part in Martino's first two friendly matches as manager. And while Herrera's Porto teammate Jesus "Tecatito" Corona was called up for those contests, he set off a dispute between him and the federation by not reporting. While Martino said he may welcome the player back into the squad, there is no guarantee.
There should still be plenty of star names for Martino to call on, with Wolves forward Raul Jimenez, Standard Liege goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and Real Betis midfielder Andres Guardado looking set for the tournament.
There also will be a healthy domestic-based contingent. Chivas goalkeeper Raul Gudino, his club teammate forward Alexis Vega and Santos Laguna goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco will start working out at Mexico's Centro de Alto Rendimiento on Monday with more players from teams eliminated from the Liga MX playoffs expected to join them in the following days.
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