The ‘golden boy’ of Mexican football looked certain for the number one keeper spot until recent errors for his club and the national side threw his position into doubt. Coinciding with Ochoa’s slide has been the excellent form of Luis Ernesto Michel, but the Guadalajara keeper’s lack of international experience suggests Ochoa will get the nod.
An agile jumper good at cutting out crosses, Ochoa was spotted playing in a youth-team game by then-Club America coach Leo Beenhakker and was handed his first-team debut as a 17-year-old.
The charismatic keeper has since become one of his country’s biggest stars. He was an unused substitute at the 2006 World Cup and starred at the 2007 Copa America, but was dropped to the bench by former boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, who considered him too young for international responsibility.
Current boss Javier Aguirre initially opted for veteran Oscar Perez but quickly turned to Ochoa and the 24-year-old repaid him by playing an instrumental role as Mexico won the 2009 Concacaf Gold Cup.
The curly-haired keeper enjoys popstar status in his home country, where his relationship with singer Dulce Maria has filled the tabloids. ‘Memo’ has been linked with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Zaragoza and is expected to be on the move after the World Cup.
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