Mexico national team figure Uriel Antuna explained why some players from El Tri choose to return home after playing in Europe, citing “maturity” as one of the reasons for homecomings.
The Eredivisie in the Netherlands has become the place where young Mexican players go to develop and shine – as Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano, Edson Alvarez and Santiago Gimenez have all made their mark in the Dutch first division.
However, Antuna has experienced a different path to consistently featuring for Mexico. After leaving Santos Laguna in 2017, the 26-year-old had a brief stint with Manchester City before moving on to FC Groningen in the Netherlands.
Antuna spent two seasons on loan with the Dutch side and then returned to North America to suit up for the LA Galaxy and eventually Chivas Guadalajara before joining Cruz Azul permanently in July 2022. Antuna has made his mark so far with the Cruz Azul, registering 15 goals in 68 appearances.
“Everyone has their own perspective on why they returned to Mexico, in my case to the MLS and then Mexico, in my opinion, I felt that it is a maturity that you take as time goes by,” Antuna said in an interview with TUDN.
“I would have liked not to return to Mexico but to follow that European dream, yes, I was going to suffer, earn less, go to a smaller team. It takes maturity and I think that failed me but I am happy, I have matured well.”
Antuna later highlighted the difficulties that come with playing abroad at a young age: “It has been difficult for me, criticism, adaptation, but in my opinion I would not have liked to go back to watching it now.
“I was 21 years old, I was young, things go through your head, sometimes making hasty decisions can lead to ruin or take off, each one must make conscious decisions.”
The Cruz Azul player has tallied two goals and two assists so far in the 2023 Apertura campaign, but his side have struggled with just four points from seven games played.