In the second test match under Julian Nagelsmann, the DFB team will face Mexico on Wednesday night (2 a.m., live on ARD and in the live stream). There, midfielder Edson Alvarez is already being compared to one of the greatest footballers in the country’s history.
Ricardo Antonio La Volpe, who won the World Cup with Argentina in 1978, seems to have a good instinct. In 2016, the now 71-year-old was a coach at CF America in Mexico and had a player in the squad who reminded him of one of the country’s football legends. “I said: He and Rafa Marquez – they’re the same thing“, La Volpe remembered last. “He” – that’s Edson Alvarez. Now, like Marquez before, the undisputed boss of Mexico’s defensive midfield.
“Without the ball he’s just incredible”
“The Machine”, as he is nicknamed, will be making his 73rd international appearance against Germany at the age of 25, so in this respect he is following in the footsteps of the Mexican idol Marquez, who played a total of 147 times for his country. What also unites them: they are football fighters, are not afraid of duels and also use one or two unfair means to advance their teams. Marquez had more subtlety in his game, but Alvarez was more of a “he hurts” type of player.
Mexico’s Rafa Marquz in a duel with Germany’s Marco Reus at the 2018 World Cup.
“Edson is an animal, he works a lot and hard. You don’t see him with the ball every time, but he’s incredible without the ball. He runs for everyone” said Emerson, one of his new teammates at West Ham United, recently. “Even in the rondo before training or during the warm-up, he gives 100 percent and wants to win.“And that makes him the new favorite at the Premier League club. Thanks in part to Alvarez, West Ham (currently seventh) got off to a strong start to the season.
Successor to superstars? No problem
The Londoners invested 38 million (with bonus payments 41 million) euros for their new one “Holding Six” – and Alvarez found himself in a situation that he was already familiar with and that never seems to be a problem for him. His job was to replace Declan Rice (now Arsenal FC), who had been the standout man for years in a rather staid West Ham team. That’s what happened at his former club Ajax Amsterdam when he came after Frenkie de Jong moved to Barcelona.
“Do I feel pressure? No not really. When I was at Ajax for the first time I had to replace Frenkie de Jong, but I never put myself under that pressure” said Alvarez. “I bring what I can bring – my spirit, my fight, everything.”
Successful in the Premier League: Edson Alvarez (l.) with West Ham coach David Moyes and teammate Mohammed Kudus.
Playing too hard for BVB?
Apparently that wasn’t enough for Borussia Dortmund. Alvarez recently confirmed: “That was a pretty concrete option. In the end it didn’t happen, but yes, there were many advances from them, including visits to Amsterdam to meet my family.“But the then Ajax sporting director Sven Mislintat also made it clear that BVB had never made an official offer to the club.
Mislintat relies heavily on Alvarez. “In my opinion, Edson is one of the best standalone sixes that was on the market at a rationally justifiable price“, he told the “Kicker”. But BVB wanted a playing six and not a fighter like the Mexican.
To a certain extent, its strength is also a weakness. In four seasons in Amsterdam, Alvarez saw 35 yellow cards and was sent off three times. In the Premier League, he has already been warned four times in six starting eleven appearances in the league – each in the first half. The line between hard and overly hard is quite fluid in his game.
Alvarez’s good memories of Germany
After the success against the USA (3-1), Julian Nagelsmann’s DFB team will know that things will be a little rougher in the midfield on Wednesday night (the game will be replayed in full on the first at 9:05 a.m.). could. Alvarez in particular will want to prevent the offensive forces like Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sané from flourishing in a similar way to the Nagelsmann premiere. By the way, Alvarez has already managed that: in Mexico’s 1-0 victory at the 2018 World Cup, the midfield clearer came on as a substitute in the 58th minute and defended the lead with his colleagues.
It was Alvarez’s first appearance on the big football stage, while Marquez ended his career with the Mexican national team after the World Cup tournament. The fact that his successor was already on the pitch with him may have made it easier to say goodbye.