Wolves striker Raul Jimenez is Mexico’s number one.
Mexico head coach, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, believes Jimenez offers more to the team than Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, who is the country’s leading goalscorer.
The hardworking former Benfica forward is soon to be confirmed as Wolves’ club record £32m signing. But he was criticised for missing chances, despite scoring twice in Mexico’s 7-0 win against Cuba in their opening CONCACEF Gold Cup game.
West Ham striker Hernandez has grabbed 51 goals in over 100 internationals, while Jimenez has a lower conversion rate with 19 in 73. Mexico play their next game, against Canada on Friday night (5.30pm, BST).
“Raul is our most important forward, I’m talking about Mexican football, not just this competition, but overall,” said Martino. “I’m not bothered if my number nine is a goalscorer or not, if others are scoring goals. I’m not concerned, as long as the football he provides is the same that he has shown so far.”
Jimenez has become a huge crowd favourite at Molineux and revealed he has been inspired by the Wolves faithful singing his name.
“All the supporters have been amazing throughout the season and I’m very proud of them. We are very happy for all the support, throughout the season, from these amazing people,” he said.
“I have no words to describe the songs they sing about me. When I was young I used to hear the fans singing the names of the other players in the stands. Now it’s my turn and I’m very happy for that.”
Jimenez was not a prolific goalgetter from the start of his Wolves journey, but he became the club’s 13-goal record scorer in a Premier League season. And he revealed he feels settled and at home in the area.
“This was my first year in England and I just want to say thanks to all the people here in Wolverhampton that make me feel at home, and the coach, my team-mates and all the staff that are always with you, this season was amazing,” he said.
“The three years I was at Benfica, in terms of minutes played, I was starting, then got some injuries and when I returned, the strikers were scoring goals, so it was difficult to get in the starting 11 again,” said the Mexican. “But when I come to the pitch as a substitute I always try to do my best with some assists.”