Mexico is a football crazy country. There are several daily newspapers dedicated purely to football, and it’s very much concentrated on what is happening domestically.
With a population of around 120m, Mexico is one of the planet’s biggest football markets, which several huge clubs have found out. Even Real Madrid were surprised with the commercial boost they got when signing Javier Hernandez on loan from Manchester United.
To put it simply: Mexican football is massive.
But one of the daily football newspapers, Record, have found out, when speaking to Daily Record journalist Jonny McFarlane that Rangers’ Carlos ‘Gullit’ Peña may be struggling with the attention and pressure he’s receiving in Scotland.
Peña was a personal ask of Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha, and a deal was agreed for the player in May. The Scottish Premiership transfer was seen as a fresh chance for the Mexican to fulfil his potential, something he’d been failing to do.
Spending more time in the newspapers for the wrong reasons than right, Peña could move from Chivas Guadalajara to somewhere he was less known and kick on with his career under Caixinha.
It hasn’t worked out yet, and one of the reasons, McFarlane has told Record, is that Rangers are bigger than Chivas and perhaps Peña isn’t used to the attention: “You have to be mentally very strong. The media call Glasgow ‘a goldfish bowl’, it’s a very intense environment for players… Rangers are maybe even bigger than Chivas in my opinion. There is enormous pressure to win every game.”
Record let the comment slide, but the very fact the newspaper have followed Peña’s problems to Glasgow shows the Mexican media’s obsessive coverage.
If Glasgow is a goldfish bowl then Mexico is an aquarium.
Whilst the pressure of Rangers may get to some players, along with the intense media coverage, it’s not likely to feel especially new for a player used to years of doubts and shaking fingers from his home press.
The reasons for Peña’s failure to shine are probably more related to settling into a new type of football at Ibrox, and that he was failing to shine before he left Mexico anyway… hence the move.