The Lucky Career of Uriel Antuna

If we will go back a few months ago, Uriel Antuna wasn't one of the most famous names in Mexican football. He is one of those talented youngsters that played for the youth national team, and everyone hoped that would fulfill his potential. Although he has the skills to succeed, Antuna may be one of the luckiest players you ever heard about.

Antuna, 21 years old, grew up in the "Comarca Lagunera" in the Mexican state of Durango, and since he was a child, he played for the local team, Santos Laguna. Having one of the best football academies in Mexico, Santos Laguna was a good place for Antuna to learn different aspects of the game and improve his abilities. After he won the youth title with his team, Antuna got a chance to make his senior debut in Santos Laguna during the 2017 Clausura tournament. It was his first and last match in the senior team. Even though the managers had plans to promote him, Antuna's lucky road began.

On June 5, 2017, the U-20 Mexico national team lost against England in the U-20 World Cup quarterfinals. Mexico played better, but the English team eventually won and afterward even on the title. While all the other Mexican players would prefer to leave that day behind, the destiny of Uriel Antuna was different. Antuna's performance during the tournament, and especially against England, caught the scouts' eyes. One month later, Santos Laguna officially announced that he was signed by no other than Manchester City.

Antuna doesn't have a European passport so he couldn't play immediately for The Citizens. Moreover, Manchester City bought him as a prospect. Therefore, he was sent to play in the Netherlands for Groningen to get some more experience and hope to become part of the senior national team pool. Antuna was good in Groningen, but not more than that. Still, Antuna got his first call up for the senior national team from the Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Antuna didn't play, and meanwhile, he got less playing time in Groningen. Then the luck goddess appeared again.

Groningen released him during the winter transfer window, and Antuna was looking for a new location. Manchester City has several feeder teams in different parts of the world, but Antuna found himself playing for a team that is not part of that list: Los Angeles Galaxy. The main question after his signing was how Antuna could play in a team that has Giovani dos Santos, Ola Kamara, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Well, that was another lucky time for Antuna. Gio dos Santos was released, Kamara has been sold to China, and suddenly Antuna found himself playing regularly next to Zlatan.

Antuna played in the MLS, but in another part of the world, luck had another vital role in his career. Jesus Corona declined a call up from Gerardo Martino to play in friendly matches due to an injury. Martino didn't like it at all and decided that Tecatito would not receive a call up for the Gold Cup squad. Corona's loss was Antuna's gain, as he got his call up to the preliminary squad.

Uriel Antuna played his debut match in the friendly match against Venezuela before the Gold Cup, but Martino already decided to name him as a reserve play that will be used in case of an injury. In the same match, Edson Alvarez got injured, his participation was on doubt, and a few days later the medical team confirmed that he could play. It seemed that here the luck of Antuna would come to its end and he will need to keep waiting.

Two days before the first match, something has changed. Jorge Sanchez got injured, and in a last-minute change, Uriel Antuna was called up to fill his place. In the opening match against Cuba, it took less than two minutes to watch Antuna's lucky strike. A ball by Raul Jimenez hit the post and fell directly to the legs of Antuna, who scored his first international goal. He scored two more goals against poor Cuba, as Mexico won 7-0.

Don't have any doubts about Antuna's skills. He is a hard-working player who is giving all that he can when he is on the pitch and during the training. His career was full of lucky moments until now, and he knew how to use it to get better. Maybe his Gold Cup appearances would give him more luck, and also the work permit, that will lead him to Manchester City.