By 90Min
May 04, 2019

Spells with Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion early in his career mean that Mexican star Carlos Vela is already well-known by English football fans, but now the 30-year-old is making a name for himself on the other side of the pond with a string of outstanding performances in North America.

Vela joined the newly-formed Los Angeles FC as a Designated Player in 2018 and has been a revelation in Major League Soccer, with the playmaker currently the top scorer in MLS this season, having netted 11 goals in just 10 games.

Here are six things to know about LA FC's main man.


1. He's One of Only Ten Players to Win La Liga Player of the Month at Least Twice

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Vela is one of only ten players to win the La Liga player of the month award at least twice, having picked up both awards during his time with Real Sociedad.

He first picked up the gong in December 2013 and then again in November 2014. Only Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez have won it more times.


2. He Won the Golden Boot During the FIFA Under-17 World Championship

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The Mexico international has won 72 caps at senior level, scoring 19 goals since he made his debut at the highest level in 2007. Prior to that, Vela won the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championship and, having scored five times in the tournament, also picked up the Golden Boot.


He presented both trophies to his father, Enrique, with the final occurring on his dad's birthday.


3. He Failed to Make the Grade at Arsenal

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Vela spent in seven years plying his trade in England, but was rarely given an opportunity to shine at Arsenal.

He made just 62 appearances under Arsene Wenger, scoring 11 goals in the process - but he failed to nail down a regular spot despite showing initial promise. He had five loan spells away from the club, finally finding his feet at Real Sociedad during the 2011/12 season.

As a result, they made the deal permanent and the rest is history.


4. He Was Suspended by Mexico for Six Months for Throwing a Party

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Alongside teammate Efrain Juarez, Vela was banned from playing for Mexico for six months after breaching four rules of his countries code of conduct.

The then 21-year-old was found guilty of throwing a party at the team's hotel in the aftermath of their 1-0 win over Colombia in a friendly. The national team's management, and relevant authorities, didn't take kindly to it and Vela paid the price.


5. His Brother Is a Professional Footballer Too

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Vela's older brother, Alejandro, is also a professional footballer currently playing for Venados in the Mexican second division.

The 35-year-old has spent almost his entire career in his homeland, with his only experience outside of Mexico being a nine-game loan spell with Minnesota United in 2015.


6. Vela Is Taking MLS by Storm

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Since joining Los Angeles FC at the start of last year, Vela has been a revelation in MLS and is filling his boots full of goals.

He became the first player to score in the inaugural El Trafico derby, which pitted the brand new MLS franchise against neighbourhood rivals LA Galaxy. The game took place in March last year and Vela opened the scoring after just five minutes, 

The inaugural match between the two teams from Los Angeles was played in March 2018 and Vela grabbed the first goal in its history after five minutes, before adding a second 21 minutes later.

He is also the highest scorer in the derby, having bagged four goals in the three games the sides have contested - one ahead of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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