Marco Fabian is currently the name on everybody’s lips in Mexican football, with the creative midfielder outstanding in El Tri’s U-23 side’s triumph in this year’s Toulon Youth Festival. The youngster is also a leading figure in an Azteca squad aiming to make history at London 2012 and clinch a first ever medal at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament.
What's more, the Guadalajara starlet has a host of other ambitions he wishes to fulfil, among them playing abroad, excelling at a big European club and, above all else, appearing for Mexico’s senior side at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Very well-mannered and visibly in good spirits, Fabian spoke about all this and more in an exclusive chat with FIFA.com.
Fresh from his exploits in Toulon, where he struck seven times in four games to take the competition’s top scorer’s award and equal a record previously set by Alan Shearer, Fabian could barely hide his delight. “I think it was a great performance at both an individual level and as a team. It was just what we needed ahead of London : to come up against different styles of football, with a different type of competitiveness. That made us grow in stature as players, no doubt about it.”
For the gifted creator, one of the most valuable lessons Mexico learned from the tournament was that they can indeed stand firm against more physically powerful European players. “In Latin America the style of football is more about cunning, whereas in Europe it’s much more about power and aerial play – so there are significant differences. But I feel that Mexican players are able to adapt well to different styles and, at this moment in time, we can compete with any of those teams.”
Indeed Fabian is optimistic El Tri are ready to make a splash at this summer’s showpiece on British soil: “We’re going over there aiming to make our mark and really do Mexico proud. This is the right opportunity and we’ve got a very good generation of players. There are still some issues to iron out but we’re able to compete with anybody.”
Going back to Fabian’s goalscoring record in Toulon, that achievement is all the more impressive given he is a No10, rather than an out-and-out centre-forward. And in the view of the player, who stood out for his technical ability and powerful shooting, this purple patch came about largely due to the remarkable spirit in the Mexico camp: “This is the result of what I’m doing out on the pitch, which is working hard, enjoying myself and having fun. Being in this team spurs me on, thanks to the great camaraderie we have. We’re all really excited.”
In addition to his high expectations for El Tri at the upcoming Olympics, the Guadalajara player has also set himself other short-term individual goals, including earning a move to Europe. “I know that this tournament was a great shop window,” he said, on the interest sparked by his displays in France.
“I don’t think Mexican players ought to wait too long before going abroad. I’m determined to try my luck and hopefully excel. I don’t just want to move to Europe, I want to establish myself there, make a mark. All of this has helped me realise I’m able to go toe-to-toe with anybody.”
Fabian’s current success must now taste even sweeter, as it comes on the back of a period during which he continually threatened to make the breakthrough, only to be tripped up time and again by a lack of maturity. “Every player has his own development process,” said the trequartista, who insisted he has learned from past mistakes. “There was a period during which I had a lot of ups and downs and I couldn’t find consistency, but I’ve gradually overcome that. The mistakes and bad decisions I made have helped me mature. I feel like I’m playing better than ever.”
Should he fulfil his goal of a move to the Old Continent, Fabian will owe a debt to Manchester United hitman Javier Hernandez. Chicharito is one of his best friends, a long-standing source of valuable advice and a key factor behind the player’s determination to succeed across the Atlantic.
“I’ve known him since I was eight years old, we grew up together,” Fabian explained. “He’s the player who’s done Mexico most proud and he’s an example to follow. He made us realise that any young Mexican can go really far, if they have his attitude and desire. I’d love to play alongside him at Brazil 2014: that’d be a dream come true.”
The next FIFA World Cup™ is not for another two years, however, and, as the interview concluded, the youngster was quick to turn his focus back to a much more immediate goal: London 2012. “We’re aiming for the gold medal,” said Fabian, in bullish fashion.
“We can make this dream come true, we’re all going over there with a winning mindset. It’s a difficult and important tournament but it’s not impossible to win. We can change history, we can bring back gold and of course I can picture myself proud, victorious and putting Mexico’s name right at the very top [of the game].”