Andrés Guardado Is Never Finished. His Entire Career Proves it.

Andrés Guardado is an athlete that all of the Americas should be proud of. The Little Prince is the subject of our latest player profile.

Andrés Guardado simply will not stop. He’s the epitome of hard work, strength of character and desire for all of the Americas. 

A born fighter, Guardado does not keep his battles solely on the field. He inspires others to work towards the betterment of themselves and the world around them.

He tackles the battle against breast cancer, pushing for global awareness and activisim, in the same way he'd fly into a tackle for El Tri.

Guardado is also a champion for global internet access for all, calling for action just like he calls for the ball in the face of pressure every single match day.

Guardado continutes to set higher and higher goals for himself, only to continually reach the lofty heights of his own demands. 

Andrés Guardado: From Humble Beginnings

Guardado began his journey at the age of only seven, playing for the youth team of the club he'd always supported, Atlas Fútbol Club.

Climbing through the youth ranks, he achieved his dream of representing the Atlas senior side just before his 19th birthday, on August 20th, 2005. 

His performances for Atlas, as well as his undoubted talent, did not go unnoticed by the national side. He was called to represent Mexico at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

El Principito (Little Prince) even started in Mexico's heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Argentina in the Round of 16. He exited the game in the 66th minute with the score still level.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the ultimate target had been reached, that the boy from Guadalajara would now bask in the glory that comes along with being loved in your hometown, a guaranteed starter for your boyhood club and the future of your national team.

For Guardado, however, the journey to prove himself among the world's best had only just begun.

Journey to Europe

He went on to become the most expensive transfer in Mexican history, moving to Deportivo La Coruña for 7 million euros.

Guardado found himself in a foreign country, playing in one of the world's most demanding leagues and with the pressure of an extremely large transfer fee hanging over him.

Guardado seemed absolutely unfazed. Totaling 5 goals and 5 assists in his debut La Liga season, Guardado drove Deportivo to a comfortable position in La Liga and qualifaction to the UEFA Cup (now the UEFA Europa League).

Terrorizing defences from the left wing, Principito had Europe on notice.

Having had his first taste of premier European club competition, the experience would go on to dictate the new goals Guardado would set for himself. 

He went on to become a consistent performer for Deportivo, even valiantly helping the Galician club to regain their top flight status after being relegated following the 2010-11 season. 

No longer content to play for a team that was battling near the bottom of the table, Andrés then set his sights on the ultimate footballing dream: appearing in the UEFA Champions League.

This ambition brought him to Valencia CF, twice UEFA Champions League runners-up and six-time La Liga Champions. On May 28th, 2012, Guardado signed a four-year contract with the club. 

Guardado was able to establish himself within the Valencia first-team and appeared 7 times for Valencia in the 2012-13 Champions League. Valencia's run was halted by an emerging Paris Saint-Germain team in the Round of 16. Guardado played the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 loss at the Mestalla.

Losing 3-2 on aggregate, this would be Guardado's final Champions League appearance for Los Che. 

Financial difficulties forced the club to sell David Villa, David Silva, Juan Mata and Roberto Soldado during a debilitating 3-year period. Finishing 8th during the 2013-14 season, it looked as though Guardado would have to look elsewhere to fulfill his lofty ambitions.

A chance to immediatly return to Europe's grandest club competition, this time with Germany's Bayer 04 Leverkusen, was too good for Andrés to turn down. He accepted a loan offer to Leverkusen, claiming he "didn't think twice about [the] Leverkusen offer."

Unfortuantely for Guardado, the Champions League experience was short lived. Once again, he found himself lined up against the new money of PSG and their who's who of world-class stars.

A 6-1 thumping ended any chance of a first quarterfinal appearance in the competition for Principito. 

Leverkusen did not exercise the option to purchase Guardado and he returned to Valencia, keen to test the waters elsewhere.

Again he accepted a loan offer, this time to PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie. Another loan, a weaker domestic league and a third team in two years marked a low point in the Mexican's career. His desire, for the first time, came into question.

Internationally speaking, things weren't going any better. Mexico finished an abysmal fourth in the Gold Cup, their stuttering campaign for the 2014 World Cup was the source of much criticism back home and Guardado simply wasn't finding the net for El Tri.

Once a constant source of goals for the national team, Guardado hadn't found the back of the net in over 20 matches for country.

Shunted to the left-back position, Guardado found himself in unfamiliar waters. His loan to PSV had all the markings of a make or break career move. 

The Little Prince Returns To Form

Guardado's fortunes began to look up after a strong World Cup showing. Deployed in center midfield, Mexico's previous struggles hardly mattered in the face of some dynamic performances in Brazil. Guardado even found himself on the scoresheet against Croatia, his World Cup goal scoring totals now equalling those of Wayne Rooney.

Returning to PSV, Guardado got his groove back. A journey to the Round of 32 in the UEFA Europa League was ended by a Hulk-inspired FC Zenit, but Guardado and PSV would go on to capture the Eredivisie league title.

Guardado was named Eredivisie Player of the Year by two leading Dutch newspapers. With Dutch giants Ajax hovering, PSV fans let their feelings be known with regards to how badly they wanted him to stay. 

On the 27th of March, PSV agreed to a three-year deal with Guardado, ensuring that the man with over 120 appearances and 20 goals for El Tri will fulfill his remaining European ambitions in Eindhoven.

The summer of 2015 also saw Mexico recapture the Gold Cup, Guardado scoring a phenomenal goal against Jamaica in the final with a stunning piece of quality, technique and cool.

Awarded the tournament's Golden Ball, Andrés Guardado continued to be the respected scourge of US soccer fans eveywhere with his performance in the 2015 CONCACAF Cup playoff.

Judging by his recent goal for PSV, Principito isn't slowing down anytime soon. 

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