After scoring for the Mexican national team in a 1-0 friendly win over Ecuador in front of 90,000 people in Los Angeles, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez let loose on his club team, desperate for playing time.
Chicharito has spent a lifetime on the bench. He was the ultimate “super sub” at Manchester United for years – and accepted his role gladly – before finally searching out a new adventure. He wound up at Real Madrid, a fantastic club but one that few expected him to earn more playing time at. It’s played out exactly as we thought.
“My situation is frustrating,” he told Fox Sports following the match. “I work hard and give 100 per cent in training, but as far as playing matches go, my chances are minimal. I belong to a great team but I’m not part of the important bit, the actual games. Sometimes my confidence is down, even though I’m trying to make it high, with the help of the people who are always by my side and who support me.”
The frustration is understandable. After a 4-year career at Old Trafford where he managed over 1,000 Premier League minutes in a season just twice and averaged under 1,200 league minutes a year, the numbers have fallen even further in Spain. Chicharito has just a measly 228 league minute to his name and 590 across all competitions, and has started just five matches but only one of those came in La Liga play back in October.
He says because the minutes are down, so is his ability to focus and keep an even keel. “What I’ve been feeling is frustration,” Hernandez said. “The worst thing would be to lose my confidence. I have missed opportunities, people to give me confidence to demonstrate what I can do on the pitch, to at least prove if I am any good or not.”
Chicharito is only on loan to Real Madrid this season, and would likely return to Old Trafford this summer, his situation no better than when he left. The 26-year-old showed his abilities – even when low on confidence – this weekend and that will help his cause, but this season is somewhat lost for the Mexican striker.