Santiago Giménez, Mexico
Santiago Giménez has scored 49 goals in 86 goals for Feyenoord since joining the Dutch team in July 2022 Via @santigim11 on X/Twitter

SEATTLE - The time has come for Santiago Giménez to lead Mexico's forward line. With veterans Henry Martín and Raúl Jiménez out of contention, the 23-year-old is set to be "El Tri's" main striker during Copa América 2024, his first time playing at a major tournament.

After missing the cut for the 2022 World Cup squad, Giménez returned to action with the national team in the CONCACAF Nations League campaign.

Since missing out on the World Cup, the Feyenoord striker has seen more and more game time, playing in 18 of Mexico's 25 games in all competitions, starting in seven of those.

Giménez had another successful season with Dutch team Feyenoord, reaching double-figure goals for the second season in a row. The former Cruz Azul star led all Feyenoord players in goals during the 2023-24 season and was the only one to reach the 20-goal mark.

Giménez started the Eredivisie season scoring nine goals in his opening six matches. His first big moment of the season came against Ajax, where he scored his first hat trick in Europe.

The Mexican striker made a childhood dream of his come true last October when he made his UEFA Champions League debut against Lazio. He marked the special night with a brace to give Feyenoord a 3-1 win against the Italians.

Overall, Giménez had seven multi-goal games during the 2023-24 season, with six of them coming in the Dutch league. He competed for the Eredivisie's top scorer title all throughout the season, but his 23 league goals ended up falling short of Luuk de Jong's 29 strikes.

Giménez's goals played a huge role in a successful season for Feyenoord. The team based in Rotterdam finished the Eredivisie season with 84 points, a club record, and 92 league goals scored, the team's most since 1984.

Santiago Giménez, Mexico
Santiago Giménez's heatmap for Feyenoord during the 2023-24 Eredivisie season Via

Since arriving to Feyenoord in July 2022, Giménez has scored 49 goals in 86 appearances in all competitions for the Dutch team. He has also won trophies, ending a five-year drought without a league title in 2022-23 and winning the KNVB Cup this year.

With Feyenoord, Giménez played as a "false 9," creating goalscoring opportunities for his teammates thanks to his movements outside of the penalty area. Without strikers like Martín and Jiménez that like to move outside of the attacking penalty area, Giménez will be the player in charge of holding up plays for Mexico during Copa América 2024.

Throughout his career, 'Santi' has demonstrated that he can impact a game without having to be in close contact with the ball. In 2023-24, Giménez averaged 0.80 non-penalty goals per 90 minutes played, ranking among the 98th percentile of players in this regard. He also created 23 chances for his teammates and assisted six goals in the Eredivisie.

But despite his great form at the club level, Giménez has struggled to get opportunities as the main man up top for Mexico. 'Santi' has only started in 12 of his 27 caps for Mexico and has only four goals for 'El Tri,' including the winning goal at last year's Gold Cup final.

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