Alberto “Venado” Medina was a great player, but a tragic night in Irapuato may have stopped him from being one of the best Mexicans to ever play.
Many may not remember but there was a period in the 2000s where Chivas de Guadalajara was good, actually amazing at spells and it’s a mystery how they managed to only win one title that decade. Boasting the likes of former Mexican National team keeper Oswaldo Sanchez, goal-scoring machine Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista, Midfield general Ramon Morales, and of course Chivas legendary forward Omar Bravo. That’s a great list, but one player that doesn’t get mentioned much is Alberto “Venado” Medina.
In the year 2000 when he made his debut for Chivas, he earned the Most Promising Player award for his speed, athleticism, and playmaking abilities. He would go onto pair with Omar Bravo who arrived in 2001 and Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista who arrived in 2003 to make one of the deadliest front three combinations going forward the league had seen in decades.
The reason he may not be mentioned in the same breath as these arguably greatest of all time Chivas players was due to a bad night in 2003 where an injury almost ruined his career. That night in Irapuato in 2003 is a night that lives in infamy for many Chivas faithful’s.
A regular match visiting Irapuato where they captured a 3-2 victory against their opponents. The game was all but wrapped up when Irapuato went on one last attack. Then a low cross was serviced in from the left side of the field hurdling towards the center of the box. Alberto “El Venado” Medina positioned himself in front of the Irapuato player in Hugo “el Choco” Reza to gain possession of the ball when Hugo “el Choco” Reza body slammed into Medina as his right foot landed in an awkward position as he attempted to turn. Foul was called and the game was over at that point after a kick-off from the spot of the foul. Chivas had won 3-2
There was one problem though, Alberto “Venado” Medina couldn’t get up. This past year, Alberto “Venado” Medina went further into the injury on the Chivas fan show called “Los Lideres del Rebano” on Youtube. He went on to explain Dr. Rafael Ortega who was in charge of taking a look at his foot in Irapuato and explained to him if he were to do surgery on his knee and leg right there in that town in Mexico that he would never be able to play ever again.
Dr. Rafael Ortega called on a friend he knew in San Diego and was able to get Alberto “Venado” Medina into surgery to save his leg and continue his playing career. The surgery was done, but Alberto Median would go onto miss the next 7 months. On top of that almost career-ending injury to throw salt in the wound he explained on “Los Lideres del Rebano” that he went on to miss the U-20 World Cup and the chance to establish himself into the Mexico National Team more. It hurt him in many ways and may have even opened up more opportunities for him in Europe.
For the 12 years he played for Guadalajara he still managed 52 goals and 39 Assists. It’s noted those aren’t the most impressive numbers but the threat of his playmaking ability (especially on the counter), combined alongside some of Chivas’s top 10 players of all time he didn’t need to be and who knows if he was ever the same player after that night in Irapuato. Omar Bravo during his 2001 & 2008 run with Guadalajara had 101 goals. Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista had 42 goals in his 3 years run with Chivas from 2003-2007. Medina may have numbers closer to those players.
Alberto Medina had a career with the National Team, but just not the one many would have wanted for him. In his tenure playing 56 games and scoring only 6 goals for them. Winning the 2009 Gold Cup contributing 2 goals. On top of that not much else. He scored in every Friendly leading up to 2010 South African hosted World-Cup but stayed on the bench with players as Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco leading the frontlines under coach Javier Aguirre.
What if things were different? What if he never got injured during the 2003 Apertura? I mean sure he had a great career and at the end of the 2000 decade his decline was immense, but what if that night Guadalajara faced Irapuato was different? Would he have made more of a difference for Mexico in the 2006 World Cup, or 2010 World Cup? The world may never know.