Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has a tough decision to make.
The Mexican international striker, 28, is on fire for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen following his move last summer to Germany from Manchester United.
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Chicharito has scored 19 goals in 22 appearances for Leverkusen this season and is currently on their winter break tour of Florida, as they beat Santa Fe 1-0 on Sunday in the Florida Cup friendly tournament.
Speaking in Orlando, Bayer’s sporting director Jonas Boldt told ESPN Deportes that they want Chicharito to play for Mexico in either the Copa America Centenario in June or the Olympics in Rio in August.
“From our ideal point of view, for the club, it would be ideal if Chicharito played one of the two events, but not both,” Boldt said “That is our idea, although we have yet to sit and speak with our players. We have close to 10 players who could play at Copa America or the Olympic Games and the club also have their own commitments. But in addition to that, the players need to rest.”
If you were Chicharito, which tournament would you pick? Would you play in both?
Mexico are the defending Olympic champions when it comes to soccer after they beat Brazil in the final at London 2012. So being one of the three over-age players — one that has scored 40 goals in 74 games for El Tri, no less — on a squad that wins back-to-back gold medals would be pretty cool, right?
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As for the Copa America, Mexico have competed in that competition multiple times, not making it past the group stages in the past two tournaments they competed in. I’d go for the Olympics but then again, that competition will clash with the start of the Bundesliga season which is set to begin on Aug. 26, 2016. Bayer currently have 10 players on their roster who could play in either the Copa America or the Olympics so will want to manage the situation as best they can this summer so their preparations for the next season aren’t impacted too much.
There is also the small matter that if Chicharito wants to play in both and go against the wishes of Bayer then he is perfectly entitled to.