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Lopetegui: Raul Jimenez was pressured by Mexico to participate in the World Cup in Qatar

New Wolverhampton boss Julen Lopetegui has admitted he would have preferred not to call up Raul Jimenez for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but he understands the striker’s desire to play.

The former Real Madrid boss wants the Mexican striker to favor Wolves over his country after an injury-plagued season.

Jimenez has not played for Wolverhampton since August and has made just four appearances as he struggles with a thigh injury.

The 31-year-old spent three weeks in Mexico last month as part of his rehabilitation, although he was at the Molineux Stadium to watch Wolves’ 2-0 defeat of Arsenal on Saturday.

But with Wolves bottom of the Premier League having scored just eight goals, Luitigui would like Raul Jimenez to stay at the club during the tournament break in Qatar.

Read alsoMexico’s roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar

“I don’t think it’s time for him to be fit and it’s best to finish his recovery program with us, but I understand that it’s his decision and it’s his right.”

“It’s his decision, there’s no problem and I understand, but of course I told him my opinion,” he added in comments to England’s “The Independent” newspaper.

He continued: “I have a lot of respect for his decision, but I have to show him what I think about this situation. He is not fit right now because he is injured and has not played a minute for two or three months. It is a very important period.”

“Of course, I understand that the players want to go to the World Cup, I understand that the country is putting pressure on them to go.”

He continued: “But in the end you have to be able to play well and you have to show it in your team first, that’s my impression, that’s my opinion.”

“But he decided to go, Mexico decided to call him, of course I blamed him because I want him to be fit for us when he comes back.”

“Of course I’m worried because Raul is definitely an important player for us,” he concluded.



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