Mexicans in Europe grades: A+ Hirving Lozano shines, Chicharito a C+
The European season has now drawn to a close for the Mexicans abroad. Before several of these names begin their preparation for the World Cup, let's first take a look back and grade how the most prominent Europeos performed in their 2017-18 tournaments.
Hirving Lozano, PSV Eindhoven (Dutch Eredivisie): A+
The stats and silverware speak for themselves: 17 goals, 8 assists and an Eredivisie title. Saying that Lozano was great would be an understatement, the 22-year-old was awe-inspiring. No other Mexican abroad had a more successful season than the winger.
Hector Herrera, Porto (Portuguese Primeira Liga): A
During the past several months, Porto's captain has proven to be a stable and dependable presence in the midfield. Although the Portuguese giants stumbled out at the UEFA Champions League round of 16, Porto were still able to claim this season's Primeira Liga title with Herrera taking charge as the club's leader.
Andres Guardado, Real Betis (Spanish La Liga): A
When Guardado first joined Betis last summer, many fans expected the veteran to spend his time battling La Liga relegation. Instead, the 31-year-old was a part of a squad that eventually secured a Europa League position. Earlier in the season, Guardado was also described as the "best player I have trained" by manager Quique Setien.
Guillermo Ochoa, Standard Liege (Belgian Jupiler Pro League): A
Ochoa's patience abroad has paid off. Following his unexpected and questionable move to Standard Liege last year, the goalkeeper later turned heads with a Belgian Cup title and second place in league. Thanks in part to Ochoa's heroics in goal, Standard Liege have now also secured a place in the third qualifying round for next season's Champions League.
Omar Govea, Royal Excel Mouscron (Belgian Jupiler Pro League): B+
On loan from Porto, Govea quickly earned regular minutes with his 27 starts for Mouscron. Once 2018 rolled around, it was clear that the 22-year-old was one of the best young talents in the Belgian league. The only true blemish was some off-the-field issues regarding his attitude, something the young Mexican will need to work on.
Carlos Salcedo, Eintracht Frankfurt (German Bundesliga): B+
In spite of his occasional absence from Frankfurt's XI, and injury problems as well, Salcedo eventually solidified a key role with the German club. After signing a four-year contract in mid-May, the defender then helped them clinch a shock DFB-Pokal title over Bayern Munich. With the German Cup title in hand, the Europa League group stage now awaits Salcedo next season.
Miguel Layun, Sevilla (Spanish La Liga): B
Credit must be given to Layun. Once a forgotten player on Porto's bench, he was then given a second chance when sent on loan to Sevilla in late January. Whether as a right-back, left-back or a winger, the versatile Mexican immediately made an impact with his 16 appearances and two goals in 2018.
Raul Jimenez, Benfica (Portuguese Primeira Liga): B-
It would be fascinating to see if Jimenez could thrive with more minutes. Although he was traditionally utilised as a second half substitute for Benfica, and was only given a start in six league matches, the striker finished the season with six goals and six assists.
Javier Hernandez, West Ham (English Premier League): C+
It would be a stretch to suggest that the season was a failure for Hernandez, but at the same, it was easily a forgetful one as well. A lack of minutes from manager David Moyes, coupled with a dismal style of play from West Ham, led to only eight goals and 16 starts for Chicharito.
Diego Reyes, Porto (Portuguese Primeira Liga): C+
When given the chance as a defensive midfielder or central defender, Reyes looked productive and impressive in Porto's XI. In fact, the 25-year-old also collected two goals and an assist for the eventual Portuguese champions. Unfortunately, Reyes was never able to truly hold a consistent role and was left on the bench in 21 of Porto's 34 league games.
Hector Moreno, Real Sociedad (Spanish La Liga): C
Following a worrying lack of minutes with Serie A's Roma, Moreno signed a three-year contract with Real Sociedad back in January 2018. The central defender then quietly ended his season as an occasional starter with the mid-table Spanish club.
Marco Fabian, Eintracht Frankfurt (German Bundesliga): C
Fabian suffered serious injury problems which had a significant negative impact on his season. That said, after returning to pitch in early February, the former Chivas player shone in his nine appearances in all competitions for Frankfurt in 2018.
Jesus Corona, Porto (Portuguese Primeira Liga): D+
With two full seasons of playing time with Porto under his belt, it was sad to see Corona finish his third with very little to talk about. Likely hurt by reported personal issues, "Tecatito" looked justifiably unmotivated for Porto. The once flashy and risk-taking winger finished the tournament with only three goals and three assists.
Antonio Briseno, Feirense (Portuguese Primeira Liga): D
The defender needed time to adapt to his new club and didn't start to earn regular minutes until the past couple of months. Despite his two goals since April, it was disappointing to see the 24-year-old struggle to adjust as the side were nearly relegated.
Uriel Antuna, Groningen (Dutch Eredivisie): D-
Antuna was virtually absent for Groningen in the first season of his two-year loan. The winger, who amassed a meagre tally of five starts, was often overlooked by the 12th-placed Eredivisie club. All that said, at only 20 years of age, he might need another season or two to gain confidence abroad.
Raul Gudino, APOEL (Cyprus First Division): F+
Here's the good news: APOEL clinched first place in the league table and earned a place in the first qualifying round of the Champions League. Here's the bad news: Gudino only took part in two matches as APOEL's goalkeeper during that title run. The 22-year-old will head back to Porto with sparse minutes from his recent stint on loan.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.