Mexico's Raul Jimenez remains upbeat, confident despite lack of playing time for club and country

Raul Jimenez recognizes that he's been fortunate in his career to be around teams that know how to win -- from Mexico's gold-medal-winning squad at the 2012 London Olympics, to the Club America system that brought him up, to Portuguese side Benfica and its accomplishments during his tenure there.

The trophies with those teams seem like enough of a resume at any age, especially 27, but minutes have been hard to come by for the Mexican striker in Europe.

In an interview with ESPN's David Faitelson, Jimenez said that leaves him with plenty left to prove. His current goals? "Establish myself in Europe, be a starter, and at the national team level win something of importance."

Jimenez was on loan from Atletico Madrid -- where he struggled to get on the field -- when Benfica decided in 2016 to keep him outright in a deal reported to total €22 million, which made him the most expensive Mexican transfer ever. He had impressed Benfica with his performances in the club's Champions League quarterfinal run that year, but most of his big moments in 2018 came off the bench.

"The truth is I would always like to play 90 minutes, do it in every game," he said. "I would always like to be on the field. Those decisions are the manager's to make."

With the World Cup in Russia approaching, Jimenez said he has no regrets about coming over to Europe despite the lack of playing time and that he prefers Benfica's bench to a starting role at America. But it would be difficult to overlook options as he sees the success of others such as Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez -- at 30 already El Tri's all-time leading scorer -- or America captain Oribe Peralta, whose accomplished international career will come to a close after the tournament.

Still, there is a lot to learn from his fellow strikers. Jimenez doesn't view West Ham's "Chicharito," for example, as an obstacle on the field but rather a valuable resource.

"He's a great teammate, from whom I've learned a lot and will continue learning from," Jimenez said. "He's a great scorer, and there's no way it'll ever be a nuisance sharing the locker room, sharing the field with a player like him. He's done great things in his career that deserve recognition, here on the national team and with his clubs in Mexico and Europe."

To move up in the pecking order with his coaches, Jimenez knows he will need to capitalize on opportunities in Russia.

"It's a great showcase," he said. "You have all the games in front of you, there's two or three a day that the whole world is watching. If you do well, you have a great game; somebody sees it and you don't know what can happen after that."

Jimenez said he considers Colombian manager Juan Carlos Osorio's unorthodox lineup style to be "revolutionary" and that coach and players are on the same page even if the dialects don't match.

"He's very proper when he speaks, but we understand him," Jimenez said. "He's got his methods, a big vision when it comes to football, and we understand him completely."

El Tri open World Cup play against Group F counterpart and defending champion Germany on June 17. Jimenez said his teammates in Russia need to approach each game -- group play included -- as if it were the last in the tournament.

"We shouldn't limit ourselves," he said. "One needs to be of a mindset that to be champions of the world anyone can be beaten, and that's what we want, what we dream about. It's within our reach."