Car­los Vela goes to Hol­ly­wood

The Mex­ico for­ward talks Arsene Wenger, meet­ing Will Fer­rell and why he snubbed the World Cup

FourFourTwo - - CONTENTS -


You joined Los An­ge­les FC for their de­but sea­son in MLS. Have you en­joyed it so far? It’s been amaz­ing. All my friends feel a bit jeal­ous now be­cause I live in Los An­ge­les and I’m part of a very ex­cit­ing pro­ject. I’m very happy that I made the move. I played in Europe for over 10 years and wanted to be closer to my friends and fam­ily – for Mex­i­cans that’s im­por­tant.

You were an­nounced as the new club’s first ever sign­ing. Was that an hon­our? I felt spe­cial when I first signed. Last year I made it clear what I wanted. I told my agent, ‘I want to go to Los An­ge­les.’ That was my No.1 goal and it’s all worked out. I’d had a few op­por­tu­ni­ties to join MLS with dif­fer­ent teams, but al­ways said no. I wanted to wait for the right sit­u­a­tion. We’ve put a strong team to­gether and I hope we can win lots of ti­tles. It doesn’t mat­ter that we’re new to MLS. I be­lieve we are strong enough to com­pete with any team.

Will Fer­rell was there to wel­come you on ar­rival. What was that like? Meet­ing Will was a great plea­sure and every­one at LAFC made me feel at home. They made me feel re­ally im­por­tant. I want to be a key player for the city and it’s amaz­ing how quickly we’ve gained so many fans in Los An­ge­les. We are look­ing for­ward to the ri­valry with the Gal­axy and want to be­come the No.1 team in LA.

You’re go­ing to the World Cup with Mex­ico this month. How do you rate the team’s chances in Rus­sia? I be­lieve this is the strong­est Mex­ico team in years. This might be the one tour­na­ment we’ve all waited for. Our con­fi­dence is very high and for me it’s a spe­cial chal­lenge. Af­ter not play­ing at the last World Cup, I’m very hun­gry and want to demon­strate that I can help the team. I’ve pre­pared well for this year’s tour­na­ment, so I hope the coach picks me.

Why did you de­cide against play­ing at the 2014 World Cup? I missed all of the qual­i­fiers and they called me up at the last minute, but it was too late. For me, it just wasn’t fair. Through­out the qual­i­fi­ca­tion process you don’t want me to play, but then sud­denly I should join you? My friends went through some tough bat­tles and earned their place on the plane – I did not de­serve it. This time it’s dif­fer­ent.

Your first group game is against the hold­ers, Ger­many. Can you pro­duce a sur­prise? There’s a very good am­bi­ence around the group, which is cru­cial. It doesn’t mat­ter who’s play­ing, we al­ways work to­gether and all want the same things for the team. We’ve known each other for a long time, so that should also be a ma­jor ad­van­tage for us.

How huge would it be for Mex­ico to reach the quar­ter-fi­nals, af­ter go­ing out in the last 16 at each of the past six World Cups? We cer­tainly talk about fi­nally go­ing be­yond the last 16. We want that and even more in Rus­sia – we won’t stop. It’s not just about get­ting to the fifth match of the com­pe­ti­tion – it’s about putting in some great per­for­mances and leav­ing a mark. We all hope we can have a mem­o­rable tour­na­ment.

You started your ca­reer at Ar­se­nal un­der Arsene Wenger. What were your thoughts when he left the club at the end of the sea­son? It was a hard mo­ment for ev­ery­body. When a man­ager or player has a long ca­reer at one club, the mo­ment you say good­bye is ex­tremely tough. But when it’s all over, you’ll look back and re­mem­ber mainly the good mo­ments. Arsene did a great job at Ar­se­nal and there’s no doubt he’s one of the best man­agers in the world. I just want to use the op­por­tu­nity to thank him for ev­ery­thing that he’s done for me and my foot­ball ca­reer.

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