In articles, we tend to stay unbiased to the best of our abilities and report facts, but this is different. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was and still is different, so this is for you Little Pea, thank you.
When the news broke that Javier Hernandez was officially moving to the MLS & LA Galaxy would become his new home it was saddening. It was saddening because for 10 years in Europe he had such a prolific career, in turn, making him the highest goal-scoring Mexican to ever wear El Tri’s prestigious colors. He wasn’t the kid at Manchester United where Fergie had confidence in him anymore. The stereotype of him being an inside the box cherry picker was broken with his spells at Bayern Leverkusen, West Ham, and Real Madrid. He proved everyone he needed to prove wrong, and the most unfortunate part is we didn’t appreciate him enough.
When I say we, I mean all of us, Mexico, Europe, and especially Mexican-Americans in the U.S. Mexicans don’t get the respect they deserve because not one star hovers on top of that Mexican crest as they do for other countries crests in Latin America and Europe. Javier Hernandez is the epitome of Mexico being in the Concacaf region. Years ago online I remember reading a quote when Javier Hernandez was having a tough going at Manchester United, you remember when Van Gaal was left in charge after the disastrous spell that was David Moye? Anyways the quote I’m referencing read “Poor Chicharrito too small for the big teams, and too big for the small teams”. if that quote doesn’t embody Mexico’s National team generation that Javier Chicharito Hernandez was the poster boy of for the decade of 2010 I’m honestly not sure what does.
We gave him hell. Mexican Media pundits as Real Madrid Legend Hugo Sanchez made it sound easy for this generation of players for EL Tri and especially Chicharito. Going with the old sayings as “when I was young, I worked like nobody else, and made it happen to start at practice, oh and did I mention I played for Real Madrid?”. Other pundits sympathizing with him, and fans supporting him. The crowd would go from anger to celebration whenever he finally got the opportunity to play. He had a work ethic that was beautiful, often to his detriment as coaches loved and praised his work ethic, but left him on the bench for feeding into the stereotypes of his limited play. He wasn’t the most technically gifted athlete Mexico has ever seen, but in all honesty, I’d take one Javier Hernandez’s over eleven Carlos Vela’s. That’s not a dig against Carlos Vela, he has had a storied career and is great in his own regard.
There are certain key moments that will stick with me for the rest of my life. His tenure at Real Madrid was amazing, and something only is seen from something like the cult classic movie Goal, which if you have never checked out, please watch it but avoid the third movie. That’s how far fetched another Mexican playing for arguably the most successful team of all time felt. It felt unattainable. The exploits of Hugo Sanchez’s tenure at Real Madrid was the stuff of legends, but that was long ago. The kids at the Mexican Flea Markets don’t wear fake Real Madrid jerseys because Hugo Sanchez played there. They wear those jerseys because of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, and the like.
Chicharito accomplished a few things at his short stint but the goal that takes the cake was his goal in the 2015 Champions League to help put Real Madrid through to the Semis against Atletico Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo came into the box from the right and was literally being dragged down by the collar by an Atletico Madrid player while Chicharito made a run into the box and Ronaldo sliding barely had enough on the ball for a weak pass that he eventually made it to a Javier Hernandez that was meeting the ball and sliding it literally past Diego Godin and Jan Oblak near the left post and GOALLLL! I remember celebrating so hard in my cramped dorm room to the point I started crying. Not usually the emotional one, but these are games us Latinos only see on television with no Northern American, or Central American layers participating at such a high level. We grow watching Champions Leagues, with dreams of playing in the competition only to be smacked with the reality of the pay to play system in the U.S and being told we aren’t good enough growing up because of our nationalities accomplishments in the world’s game.
Having a Mexican score in such an important game meant so much more than a lot of people realized. Someone that looks like on of us, ate what we ate, had the pride we had, we like to think he had the same dysfunctional family, was always told he wasn’t good enough, and from the most beautifully underrated nation just scored. At that moment his nationality meant nothing to anyone watching except us Latinos. At that moment he was just another player at Real Madrid celebrating with his teammates, it was hope for us. It spoke out with thousands at Estadio Santiago Bernebeu cheering on one of us but at the same time the same level as everyone else for once. The stadium spoke with the words “I wish you were here”, and Real Madrid felt like I was down the street from my snowed in a dorm room in Chicago that day.
That’s just one story, but I know Javier Hernandez has inspired many others that didn’t have the discipline and lineage that he had to pursue the game, the broken dream of every boy that grew up, That was 10 years ago though, as his career winds down on his final eve for the National tour that is the MLS and he prepares to start his final performances we give thanks.
So for once lets put away the life coaches, the pundits, the judgment, the dumb hot takes on Twitter, and from the bottom of our hearts here at VivaLigaMX.com thank you Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez for putting up with us and being the striker we didn’t even deserve, but the striker we needed. Thank you for being the guiding light in the fog that was the decade of the 2010s and leading us not only now but forever. For once you may let your shoulders down a bit and relax, enjoy your family which is closer than before, and cherish this earth as you have nothing to prove to anyone.
I know where I will be this upcoming MLS season and that is watching D.C United take on the LA Galaxy, and wherever you go we will always follow Chicharito.
Thank you Chicha.