The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup marks the 16th CONCACAF Gold Cup, an international, biennial, men's soccer competition organized by the CONCACAF football governing body in North America, Central American, and the Caribbean.

Originally scheduled for July 2 to July 25, 2021, the international soccer tournament has now begun on July 10 and will end on August 1. The defending champions are Mexico, who won the 2019 edition. The CONCACAF Gold Cup will be used for the first time with the video assistant (VAR) system.

The Gold Cup will be held at 11 stadiums across eight metropolitan areas of the United States this summer. It is a major part of Concacaf's 60th-anniversary celebration. The final match will be held on Sunday, August 1, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Gold Cup 2021: Why is Carlos Vela not playing for Mexico?

Carlos Vela of Mexico celebrates after scoring at the 2018 World Cup. (Getty)

Mexico head to the Gold Cup 2021 as favorites to claim a back-to-back title as Gerardo Martino submitted a powerful list of players to seek the trophy. However, Carlos Vela won't be part of the squad to fight for another championship. In fact, he hasn't been featured for the Mexican national team for exactly three years.

Carlos Vela last played for El Tri during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and since then he has stated that it is time for a new generation of players to emerge. The Los Angeles FC captain, who is one of the finest MLS players at the moment, is yet to retire from international soccer, but his name is more than often associated with the national team.

As soon as Gerardo Martino had become the head coach of the Mexican national team in 2019, he traveled to Los Angeles in California to discuss a possible national team comeback for Vela. However, as per the manager, the now 32-year-old striker was not committed to returning just yet.

"When I talked to Carlos, he told me that he wanted to focus on his team, LAFC, and spend time with his family. So after that meeting, it was clear to me that his time with the national team was over," Martino told Los Angeles Times. "Carlos is a very smart person and he knows exactly what he wants. So it was very important for me to meet with him, hear his thoughts and make a decision with him in peace. He has been like that throughout his career."