Mexico center back Hector Moreno wishes he were getting more playing time at Roma but insists the summer move to Serie A won’t stop him from being at his best for the national team at the 2018 World Cup.
Moreno has played in only five of Roma’s 12 Serie A matches to this point, starting twice, and he raised concerns after a poor showing in Mexico’s 3-3 draw against Belgium earlier this month.
The 29-year-old bounced back with a better showing in El Tri’s 1-0 win over Poland and says he’s doing everything possible to make sure a lack of competitive action doesn’t affect his international level.
“The day I’m calm or happy when I’m not playing, I’ll retire. I’m giving everything every day out of the desire to play,” Moreno told Marca. “I’m training more than I have in my whole life, playing and physically like I’ve never done. I’m more complete. It’s true that the rhythm won’t be the same. I want to change my situation and play more, but I’ll arrive to the World Cup in top condition. This is what’s in my mind as key.”
Moreno is a key part of El Tri, anchoring a defense that otherwise lacks experience in the middle and also starting many of Mexico’s attacks in manager Juan Carlos Osorio’s system. The Sinaloa native was playing a pivotal role with PSV before leaving the club for Roma this summer.
Despite Moreno insisting he’s working hard to break into the Italian team’s XI, there’s little indication he’ll be part of manager Eusebio Di Francesco’s first choices anytime soon, even with Moreno trying to prove himself during the week.
“I’m dying to play in the Champions League. I’m giving my effort, giving my all in every training session,” Moreno said. “I understand there was an adaptation process, I haven’t played when I might have wanted to, but I feel ready when the coach needs me. I’ve adapted to the system of play, to the Italian style and I’ve gotten better in my physical strength.”
Roma visits Atletico Madrid in a UEFA Champions League match Wednesday, with the Giallorossi looking to extend a six-match winning streak across all competitions.