Carlos Vela is a striker for Mexico and Arsenal in the English Premier League.  He is a potent striking threat who creates as many goals as he scores, but is at his best lurking around the penalty box.  He burst onto the football scene as a 16 year old when Mexico’s U17 team performed brilliantly in the World Championships – beating Brazil 3-0 in the Final.  Vela is now a fixture in the Mexican attacking line.

Vela was born on 1st March 1989 in the run-down area of Cancun, Mexico.  He played football everyday, often kicking the ball up with his older brother (a professional footballer back in Mexico) until it was dark.  He learnt his trade on the dusty streets as much as in various local youth team academies.

Following Mexico’s stunning victory in the U17s World Cup, Carlos Vela was offered his first professional contract with Guadalajara Chivas, but refused to relocate to train with the full squad unless the club also moved his entire family.  Vela never actually played for the first team but the signed contract ensured that Guadalajara were in position to sell him on when a large European club came knocking.

Despite much competition, it was Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who managed to sign Carlos Vela, with Arsenal buying the Mexican for just £200,000, plus various additional appearance clauses.  Vela joined Arsenal in spite of the fact that he couldn’t play for them because of work permit regulations.  Instead, he ended up making his first-team debut at Salamanca after a year adapting to Spanish life with Celta Vigo.  A loan spell with Osasuna saw Vela grab more of the limelight as the Spanish papers started to recognise what a good player he was.

Carlos Vela joined the first team squad at Arsenal in May 2008, after his work-permit was finally granted following his appearances for the full Mexican national side.  He made his debut for the Gunners in August 2008 against Newcastle, and is pushing Eduardo for the first-team goal-poacher spot.

He grabbed his first goals in the Carling Cup, smashing home a hatrick in their 6-0 win over Sheffield United, wowing the Arsenal fans.  He has fantastic potential and will be a force for years to come.

Carlos Vela is one of the first names down on the Mexican team-sheet, and has been recognised as having the potential to help Mexico to the World Cup 2010.  He made his debut in 2007 against Brazil, and scored his first goal in a friendly match against international giants Guatemala.