Diego Lainez

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Diego Lainez
Lainez training with Real Betis in 2019
Personal information
Full name Diego Lainez Leyva[1]
Date of birth (2000-06-09) 9 June 2000 (age 19)[1]
Place of birth Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico
Height 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)[1]
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current team
Real Betis
Number 22
Youth career
2012–2017 América
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2017–2018 América 39 (5)
2019– Betis 12 (0)
National team
2017 Mexico U17 6 (2)
2018–2019 Mexico U20 10 (0)
2018– Mexico U21 8 (1)
2018– Mexico 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:58, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:00, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

Diego Lainez Leyva (born 9 June 2000) is a Mexican professional footballer who plays as a winger for Spanish club Real Betis.

Club career[edit]


Lainez was recruited by scout Ángel González along with his brother Mauro. Mauro decided to join Pachuca's academy, while Diego opted to join Club América.[2]

On 1 March 2017, Lainez made his competitive debut with América in the Copa MX group stage match against Santos Laguna.[3] Three days later, he made his league debut against León, becoming one of the club's youngest players to debut for the first team at 16 years old.[4] On 19 March, after a lineup error that ruled out Gerson Torres from being eligible to play,[5] Lainez was assigned to start against Club Universidad Nacional.[6]

On 4 August 2018, Lainez scored his first two goals for América in a 3–1 win over Pachuca at Estadio Hidalgo; he became the youngest player to score a double with the club, and the fifth youngest to score a goal in the club’s history.[7] On 18 September, Lainez suffered a sprained ankle on his left foot during training following a tackle from Bruno Valdez,[8] forcing him to miss out on four weeks of action, including the Súper Clásico against arch-rivals Guadalajara.[9] He would return from injury on 20 October, and scored his first goal playing in the Estadio Azteca as América defeated Tijuana 3–0.[10] Lainez scored in both legs of the Apertura semifinal series against Universidad Nacional,[11] making him the youngest player to ever score during the playoff stage for the club.[12]

Real Betis[edit]

On 10 January 2019, Lainez joined La Liga club Real Betis on a five-year contract reportedly worth $14 million.[13] The move made him the youngest player to emigrate from the Liga MX,[14] as well as the second most expensive transfer paid for a Mexican player by a European club.[15] He was handed the squad number 22.[16] He made his debut in La Liga on 20 January in a 3–2 home victory over Girona, making his appearance as a 81st minute substitute.[17] The following week, Lainez earned a starting berth and played 75 minutes in Real's 1–0 defeat to Athletic de Bilbao.[18] On 14 February, he became the youngest Mexican player to score in the UEFA Europa League when he netted an injury-time equalizer in a 3–3 draw with Rennes in the first leg of the round of 32.[19]

International career[edit]

Mexico U-17[edit]

Lainez was ruled out of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship due to his activity with Club América's first team.[20]

On 14 September 2017, Lainez was included in final roster that participated at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.[21] In Mexico’s second group match against England, Lainez scored twice in the team’s 3–2 loss.[22]

Mexico U-20[edit]

On 25 October 2018, Lainez was called up by Diego Ramírez to participate in the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship.[23] Mexico finish runner-up in the competition, with Lainez being named in the Best XI.[24]

In April 2019, Lainez was included in the 21-player squad to represent Mexico at the U-20 World Cup in Poland.[25]

Mexico U-21[edit]

Lainez was included in the final roster that participated at the 2018 Toulon Tournament.[26] He scored the opening goal against Qatar in Mexico’s 4–1 win.[27] He would go on to win the Best Player Award,[28] as well as make the Best XI of the competition as Mexico finished runner-up.[29]

Lainez was included in the final roster that participated in the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games.[30] He appeared in all three group stage matches as Mexico finished last in their group with one point.

Mexico national team[edit]

On 29 August 2018, Lainez received his first call-up to the senior national team by interim manager, Ricardo Ferretti, for the friendly matches against Uruguay and the United States.[31] He earned his first cap in Mexico's 4–1 defeat to Uruguay on 7 September.[32]

Career statistics[edit]


As of 11 May 2019[33]
Club Season League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
América 2016–17 Liga MX 9 0 1 0 10 0
2017–18 15 0 7[a] 0 1 0 23 0
2018–19 15 5 3 0 18 5
Total 39 5 11 0 1 0 51 5
Betis 2018–19 La Liga 12 0 2 0 2 1 16 1
Career total 51 5 13 0 3 1 67 6
  1. ^ Includes one match from the 2017 Supercopa MX


As of 27 March 2019.[34]
Mexico national team
Year Apps Goals
2018 2 0
2019 2 0
Total 4 0

Style of play[edit]

"I look to take players on a lot, play a lot of one-twos, but I also like to shoot from distance."

—Lainez on his own playing style, March 2017.[35]

Described as "a diminutive, left-footed forward with a sharp burst of pace", Lainez has been praised as one of the best young players in the world, being featured in The Guardian's 2017 list of the 60 best young talents in world football,[36] as well as Goal.com's 2017,[37] 2018,[38] and 2019[39] NxGn lists of the world's best teenage players.

He has also been described as "creative and methodical in terms of orchestrating attacks. Despite being a teenager, Lainez has a very mature reading of the game which often fuels his sharp decision-making on the field." Lainez appears equally adept at passing and crossing as well as not shirking away from his defensive duties.[40] Thomas Harrison of Outsideoftheboot.com described him as "a winger who can also operate as a 'number ten', [he] is renowned for his outstanding balance, trickery and change of pace when running with the ball, and the stats back up this belief. Diego ended the 2017–18 with a dribble success rate of above 65%, one of the highest figures for an attacking player in Liga MX."[41] Lainez has cited Lionel Messi as an idol and an influence on his playing style.[37]

Lainez has shown maturity despite his young age.[42][43][44] During a friendly match against the United States on 11 September 2018, defender Matt Miazga mocked Lainez for his short height following a foul on the Mexican player. The incident lead to a minor scuffle between the squads but Lainez remained calm and showed no petulance.[45][46]






  1. ^ a b c "Diego Lainez". ligamx.net (in Spanish).
  2. ^ "Tesoros de la Coca". Adrenalina (in Spanish). Excelsior. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  3. ^ "De último minuto, Santos venció a América y calificó en Copa". MedioTiempo (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Diego Lainez le cambió la cara a un gris América que igualó 1-1 con León" (in Spanish). Univision. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  5. ^ "¡Increíble! El América no sabía que Gerson Torres no podía jugar" (in Spanish). Marca.
  6. ^ "Lainez repite como titular, ahora no por necesidad" (in Spanish). ESPN Deportes.
  7. ^ "Diego Lainez el américanista más joven en anotar doblete" (in Spanish). Club América. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  8. ^ Orvañanos, Alejandro (18 September 2018). "Diego Lainez sufrió un esguince en el entrenamiento del América". Marca. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  9. ^ "¿Por qué Diego Lainez no juega el Clásico entre América y Chivas?". Goal. 30 September 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Diego Lainez marcó su primer gol en el Estadio Azteca con América". MedioTiempo (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Cuántos goles lleva Diego Lainez en Primera". Goal.com (in Spanish). 9 December 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Diego Lainez, el jugador más joven de América en anotar gol en Liguilla". Récord. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  13. ^ Arnold, Jon (10 January 2019). "Club America transfer news: 18-year-old Diego Lainez signs with Real Betis". Goal. Goal.com. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Diego Lainez, el mexicano más joven en emigrar a Europa" [Diego Lainez, the youngest Mexican to emigrate to Europe] (in Spanish). La Áficion. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Diego Lainez, el segundo jugador mexicano más caro que va a Europa" [Diego Lainez, the second most expensive Mexican ever to move to Europe] (in Spanish). La Áficion. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Real Betis: Squad". Liga de Fútbol Profesional. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Diego Lainez hace su debut en La Liga" [Lainez makes his debut in La Liga] (in Spanish). ESPN Deportes. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Diego Lainez disputó 75 minutos en su primer partido como titular" [Diego Lainez disputes 75 minutes in his first match as a starter] (in Spanish). ESPN Deportes. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Diego Lainez's late goal salvages draw for Real Betis vs. Stade Rennes". ESPN. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Diego Lainez no es seleccionado para la sub 17". Dilofutbol.com. 17 April 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Diego Lainez encabeza convocatoria del Tri para el Mundial Sub 17". www.univision.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  22. ^ "FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 - Matches - England-Mexico". FIFA. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  23. ^ "With the surprise of Diego Lainez, Mexico release call up for CONCACAF U-20 Championship". FMF State of Mind. 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  24. ^ "TSG announces the 2018 CU20 Best XI". CONCACAF.com. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Convocatoria de la Selección Nacional de México Sub-20". MiSeleccion.mx (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  26. ^ "Revelan convocatoria del Tri Sub-21 para el torneo Esperanzas de Toulon". ESPN (in Spanish). 22 May 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Mexico Roll Past Qatar 4-1 in 2018 Toulon Tournament". Bleacher Report. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Festival International Espoirs 2018 : les récompenses" (in French). Toulon Tournament. 12 June 2018.
  29. ^ "L'équipe type du Festival International Espoirs 2018" (in French). Toulon Tournament. 11 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Diego Lainez to lead team for the Central American and Caribbean Games". FMF State of Mind. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Convocatoria de la Selección Nacional de México". miseleccion.mx (in Spanish). Mexican Football Federation. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  32. ^ "Lainez y Alvarado, el futuro Tricolor" [Lainez and Alvarado, the Tricolor future]. ESTO (in Spanish). 3 September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  33. ^ "Mexico - D. Lainez - career statistics - Soccerway".
  34. ^ "Diego Lainez". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Diego Lainez: I play like Messi". Marca. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  36. ^ "Next Generation 2017: 60 of the best young talents in world football". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  37. ^ a b "Meet Diego Lainez: The 16-year-old sensation who dreams of becoming the 'Mexican Messi'". Goal.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  38. ^ "NxGn 2018: The 50 best teenagers in the world". Goal.com. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  39. ^ "NxGn 2019: The best 50 wonderkids in football". Goal.com. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  40. ^ Sengupta, Meghna. "Who's This Mexican Attacker Liverpool Are Trying To Sign? Everything You Need To Know". Soccersouls.com. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  41. ^ Harrison, Thomas (16 August 2018). "Talent Radar: Liga MX's 10 Young Players to Watch in 2018-19". Outsideoftheboot.com. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  42. ^ Arenas, Alain (8 September 2018). "Diego Lainez, un talento precoz que se impone a sus entrenadores". El Economista. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  43. ^ Valdez, Jesús (2 June 2018). "Diego Lainez podría irse al Lyon por 25 millones de euros". Marca. Retrieved 7 November 2018. 'Diego tiene un potencial que ya es muy interesante para su edad y muestra madurez en su juego', agregó [Jordan] Bozonnet.
  44. ^ "Diego Laínez da muestras de Madurez". Pasión Águila. 3 August 2018. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  45. ^ Marshall, Tom (11 September 2018). "Mexico's 5-foot-5 Diego Lainez not offended by 6-4 Matt Miazga's mocking". ESPN. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  46. ^ Blumrosen, Daniel (13 September 2018). "Diego Lainez no le teme a las alturas". El Universal. Retrieved 7 November 2018. No hay algo que le haya incomodado, ni siquiera el polémico episodio con Miazga, quien buscó hacerlo menos e intimidarlo sobre el césped del estadio Nissan. Con madurez, Diego considera que es 'algo que pasa en el futbol, roces... No va más allá. Es totalmente normal'.

External links[edit]