LAFC captain Carlos Vela has confirmed that he asked to be excluded from Mexico's squad for the Gold Cup this summer and has hinted that his days in the national team could be over.
Vela has 12 goals in 12 games in MLS this year and is the front-runner for the MVP award, but wasn't included by Gerardo "Tata" in Mexico's March friendlies and was omitted from El Tri's preliminary Gold Cup squad.
Vela stated that family reasons were fundamental in not wanting to play for El Tri, as well as making room in the team for younger Mexican talents.
"I've had my opportunities, I've played a lot of games with the national team and nothing extraordinary has happened with Carlos Vela playing," Vela told reporters in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
"We have to give others a chance. There are young players that will reach the World Cup. I'll be 34 [by Qatar 2022] and I don't see it as a problem that I may not be there."
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Vela stressed that it's important to support and talk about the players that are in the squad, rather than those that aren't.
"Nobody is going to die because someone isn't there," he said. "I think [Martino] is a very intelligent person that understands the person -- not just the player -- well and he's a great coach."
Vela has often had a strained relationship with El Tri, rejecting call-ups ahead of the 2014 World Cup and eventually missing out on the tournament at a time he was a key player for Real Sociedad in La Liga.
Martino's preparations for the tournament have been further hampered by West Ham United striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Porto midfielder Hector Herrera also not participating for personal reasons, as well as the continued absence of Porto winger Jesus "Tecatito" Corona.
Mexico's Gold Cup campaign kicks off on June 15 against Martinique, followed by matches against Canada (June 19) and Cuba (June 23).
El Tri will warm up for the tournament with games against Venezuela (June 5) and Ecuador (June 9).