Yesterday, in a friendly game against Brazil Giovanni Dos Santos once again showed why he can be such a mercurial and frustrating footballer. The 23 year old Mexican collected the ball far on the left wing and from a near impossible angle floated the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net. Whether it was a moment of inspired genius or a miss-hit cross is debatable but what is not in doubt is the potential skill and ability of this baby faced, midfield dynamo.
Similarly, in last year’s Gold Cup final against the USA, Dos Santos provided a moment of magic when he dribbled past a scrambling Tim Howard then chipped a perfect shot over a gang of defenders and into the goal. These are two of many acts of genius that Mexicans hold dear and it is why the followers of “El Tri” treasure “Gio “so much. The problem for supporters of Tottenham is why he doesn’t show this form for them.
Guardado,Dos Santos and Chicharito for Mexico
Since signing from Barcelona in 2008 Dos Santos has mustered a paltry 17 appearances for Spurs with the majority of games being in the Carling Cup or Europe League. His time at White Hart Lane has been extremely disappointing and has led to him being farmed to Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing de Santander.
It is clear that Harry Redknapp rates the Mexican but his patience seems to have finally worn out. As far back as 2010 he said;
‘If he [Dos Santos] could pass a nightclub as well as he can pass a ball, he would be all right.’
Unfortunately Dos Santos has not heeded the warnings and now seems destined for an exit from White Hart Lane.
Baby faced Giovanni was born into a footballing family. His Brazilian father played for Mexican League teams in the 80’s and his brothers Eder and Jonathon play for Club America and Barcelona respectively. Dos Santos burst onto the international scene during the under 17 World Championships where his displays earned him the Adidas Silver ball, second behind Manchester United’s Anderson.
Barcelona were quick to recognize his potential and he was drafted into their famed youth squads. Again in the under 20 World Cup in Canada his performances were enthralling, quickly becoming Mexico’s key man and although his team were eliminated in the quarter finals by Argentina he was awarded with the Adidas Bronze ball.
Football journalists and pundits were gushing with the praise, and he was heralded as the next Maradonna(or maybe Hugo Sanchez), it seemed like the world was at his feet.
Maybe guilty of impatience at Barcelona he then unwisely opted to move on to Tottenham and while his chances may were thwarted by messrs Messi, Iniesta and Xavi at the Nou Camp, Modric, Krankjar and Lennon were often before him on match days at White Hart Lane.
The lesser spotted Dos Santos for Spurs
But while his club form has stalled in England for Mexico Dos Santos has become a pivotal figure and his performances often have a bearing on Mexico’s final result. His displays for Mexico have earned him a runner-up award for the FIFA Young Player of the Tournament award at the 2010 World Cup and player of the tournament at 2009 Gold Cup. He inspired Mexico to Gold Cup successes in 2009 and 2011 and his afore mentioned goal against the USA was voted best of the tournament.
Playing behind the main strikers he often creates opportunities for his team-mates with incisive runs and close ball control. When given an opportunity to score he is composed usually electing to round the keeper and slot into the gaping goal. He reminds me of Gianfranco Zola although not as physically strong, this may be why he is struggling in the rumble tumble of the premiership.
Regardless of where he plays his club football Dos Santos will be a main stay in the Mexican team and as a result future World Cups. Recently he was linked to Swansea and Brendan Rogers but it remains to be seen if the Liverpool coach continues his interest with his new club.