Newly dubbed Tigres superstar André-Pierre Gignac showed what he’s made of in a crucial 4-1 win vs. Chiapas over the weekend, putting the team on his back and netting his first hat trick in Liga MX play. Fantasy owners rejoiced.
But the real question is whether or not the 29-year-old Frenchman is as prolific as his opponents make him out to be, or if he might just be too much for the Mexican league?
Gignac was Ligue 1’s second-highest goalscorer in 2014-15, converting 21 strikes for Marseille. He’s easily a frontrunner for top goalscorer this year as well, and looks more than capable of pushing his squad out of its nightmare Apertura campaign start (arriving at game week five with three losses and one draw) and in contention for a title.
Just look at these goals, though. In the 28th minute, Gignac has time to chest the ball down in traffic, volley it to a teammate, and receive the give-and-go pass with a one-touch right-footed volley straight into the opposite corner of the net. Goal number one.
In the 36th minute, he finds himself 1v1 with one defender between him and the goalie. He pulls a basic cut at average pace and buries the ball into the near corner. Goal number two.
In the 69th, he looks like Cristiano against Granada, gliding across the field on a breakaway, dribbling with pace and power, and finishing in the opposite corner. Surely it can’t be this easy for him? Goal number three.
Ronaldinho was recently quoted saying,“If more big name players come to Mexican football, the world will look more closely at Mexico.” While this is certainly true, and while it’s wonderful to witness these players in action on a weekly basis, the question remains: is Gignac too good? And perhaps more importantly, is a more cosmopolitan domestic league better for El Tri?
Each team in Liga MX is allowed five non-Mexican players, but with updated rules, players from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal can gain Mexican citizenship after two years in the country. This opens up tremendous opportunities for clubs to bring in other players from abroad, with France representing the pinnacle. The cost of signings from other Latin American countries can often be lower than that of previously established Mexican players. Are Mexicans getting the chances they need to succeed? Is the influx of foreign flare and spike in competition helping or hurting? And how many goals will Gignac actually net this year? Sound off in the comments.