Javier Hernandez

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Chicharito seizes chance to be center of the Galaxy

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Carson, Calif. — Javier Hernandez has been to the top of the soccer world. He spent the last 10 years in Europe’s top leagues, winning trophies and representing some of the biggest clubs.

Yet from Manchester United to Sevilla, the Mexican striker better known as Chicharito often struggled to get consistent playing time.

Whether his path was blocked by Wayne Rooney‘s brilliance or a manager’s lack of confidence in him, Hernandez rarely got to show his full talent. When he wasn’t fighting injuries, he often served as a key backup instead of a centerpiece.

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That’s the main reason the 31-year-old Hernandez agreed to return to North America with the LA Galaxy, who introduced their latest superstar acquisition Thursday.

Chicharito is the center of the Galaxy now, and he is thrilled.

“I just want to play,” Hernandez said in his distinctively rapid bilingual delivery. “This league and this team, it’s giving me that opportunity (to show) that I’m one of the best players around the world. That’s why they want me to be here, to try to improve this league and this team. … It’s a win-win-win-win. I know I’ll be on the pitch most of the time if I keep working hard for the club. I’m going to be doing what I loved since I was in the belly of my mother.”

With Chicharito playing in only nine games so far this season for Sevilla, the timing was finally perfect for this long-rumored combination of player and club.

While the Galaxy made major improvements and reached the playoffs last season behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s franchise-record 30 goals, they desperately needed another topflight striker at the center of coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s attack when Ibrahimovic chose to return to Europe. Unlike most Major League Soccer clubs, the Galaxy have the money to go get elite talents, even in the January transfer window.

Hernandez is well aware of the five-time MLS champions’ history of landing world-class players, reeling off his own list of favorites: “Robbie Keane. Steven Gerrard. Giovani Dos Santos. Jonathan Dos Santos. Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Landon Donovan. David Beckham, that’s the most iconic one, obviously. And then my name is over those. I’m just so blessed and so humble that I can be a part of all this.”

The speedy, shifty Chicharito likely fits Barros Schlelotto’s style even better than the hulking Zlatan, and the Argentine coach worked aggressively behind the scenes to land Hernandez.

While Chicharito’s European career got off to a strong start at Manchester United under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, he repeatedly struggled elsewhere when managers clearly didn’t believe in his abilities.

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“More than anybody, Guillermo was involved in making it happen,” said Galaxy general manager Dennis Te Kloese, who has known Chicharito since the player’s childhood. “In the end, it had to do with Javier’s interest in being a part of this organization because he’s going to be in a team and with a coach who has a lot of trust in him.”

That clearly wasn’t always the case in Hernandez’s European career. After four years in Manchester, Chicharito spent one season at Real Madrid and two more at Bayer Leverkusen, followed by two seasons back in the Premiership at West Ham. He scored goals at every stop, but never landed a permanent, consistent role matching his importance to the Mexican national team.

“I think what makes a lot of the world-class players even better is (how) they get used to their circumstances,” Chicharito said. “That’s something that I think I can bring. I want to show them that I’ve never been a selfish player – even though strikers are going to be in front of everyone, and I’m probably going to take the shot. I’m completely motivated.”

The top goal-scorer in the history of the Mexican national team already knows Los Angeles from many trips representing El Tri, which is invariably treated as the home team at the Rose Bowl by California’s massive Mexican-American population. Chicharito was greeted at the airport by hundreds of noisy fans when he arrived with his young family Wednesday night.

“I’ve been playing in this country since I was 16 years old,” Chicharito said. “I’ve won a lot of games here, and I’ve been treated with a lot of value and respect. I want that, and it’s coming from the best club in the USA. They came to get me, and that speaks of what they think of me.”

While the MLS is an undeniable step back in overall exposure and competition, Hernandez knows he will deal with even more scrutiny on his home continent from the fans and Spanish-language media based in Los Angeles.

That extra scrutiny has already started: When Chicharito’s YouTube reality show released an episode Wednesday in which Hernandez told his father that moving to the Galaxy was “like the beginning of my retirement,” fans and critics immediately seized on the term often used to denigrate MLS.

Chicharito explained himself with a smile before he held aloft his Galaxy jersey and formally began his next chapter.

“In my country, we love and we are, like, obsessed with drama and excess,” Hernandez said, clarifying that he only meant he had finished the European portion of his career.

“They don’t really listen to what I said at the beginning of the retirement (comment). This retirement could last 10 years. That word is strong for them when I mention (retirement), but it’s just the beginning of that. Hopefully this beginning is going to last so long.”

Chicharito on LA Galaxy arrival: ‘Right place, right time’

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Javier ‘Chicharito‘ Hernandez has made a living out of being in the right place at the right time.

The LA Galaxy’s newest Designated Player believes he is now in the “right place at the right time” in his career as Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer confirmed his move to Major League Soccer.

Hernandez, 31, joins the Galaxy from Sevilla in La Liga and the former Chivas Guadalajara, Manchester United, Bayer Leverkusen and West Ham United striker is ready to take MLS by storm.

“Like when people describe me playing. You know, that he’s always in the right place at the right time,” Hernandez said in his first interview as a Galaxy player, with the LA Times.

After a few years battling for minutes at West Ham in the Premier League and Sevilla in Spain after a successful spell at Leverkusen, Hernandez is heading closer to home as the Mexico star is ready to play week in, week out for the most-successful franchise in MLS history.

“I’m going to be playing. That’s what I want in my life,” Hernandez said. “People are going to say it was because I couldn’t make it [in Europe], but sometimes in football there are things that are not in your hands. The last two years, the managers decided on giving confidence to other players rather than me. And now, the LA Galaxy, the manager of the club and the league, are telling me, ‘Look, Javier, we want to give you all the trust, all the confidence to help us,’ and that’s why I’m taking this opportunity.”

He will link up with Mexico teammate Jonathan dos Santos in the Galaxy’s team as they try and wrestle back the City of Angels from MLS new boys and reigning Supporters’ Shield champions LAFC.

Hernandez was always destined to play in MLS before he retired and now that day has arrived. Following in the footsteps of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be easy but if anyone can score goals, it is Hernandez.

Get ready for his jersey to be the fastest-selling in history as Mexico’s favorite son is ready to become an even bigger star in MLS in the final years of his career.

LA Galaxy ‘serious’ about signing Chicharito

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Okay, this Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to LA Galaxy report has moved on quite quickly.

Chicharito, 31, has been linked with a move from Sevilla to the Galaxy and it appears that a deal for Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer is getting closer as the most successful team in Major League Soccer history badly need a new star man.

If it goes through it would be for a franchise-record transfer fee of close to $10 million.

The Galaxy’s general manager Dennis te Kloese told the LA Times that they are pushing hard to sign Hernandez, who has played in just two La Liga games for Sevilla since November after his summer transfer from West Ham in the Premier League.

“I think he could be good for us. We’ll give it a serious try,” te Kloese said, as the report claims LA and Sevilla are in advanced negotiations.

Hernandez would link up with El Tri teammate Jonathan dos Santos at the Galaxy and he knows te Kloese well as he previously was the director of Mexico’s national teams.

Over the years it is tough to keep count of how many MLS teams Chicharito has been linked with a move to but it always seemed like a LA would work out, somehow, for the former Chivas and Manchester United.

Chicharito recently stated that he would be open to a move to MLS and the Galaxy need a Designated Player, and new star striker, to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic who left at the end of his contract following the conclusion of the 2019 season.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side start preseason training this weekend and it is believed they want Hernandez to be part of it. Things may not move that quickly but the wheels are in motion for the Galaxy to replace Zlatan and for Hernandez to become the latest in a long line of stars to call the LA Galaxy home.

Mexicans Abroad: Tecatito shines for Porto; Chicharito close to Galaxy move

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This weekend, there was just as much action off the field as there was on the field for Mexicans abroad.

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona scored one of the best goals of the weekend, while Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is nearing a move to MLS. 

Chicharito, who is currently at Sevilla, is reportedly meeting with LA Galaxy officials on Monday to negotiate a new contract. The Spanish club have approved a near $10-million bid, a franchise-record for the MLS side. 

Here is a list of several other Mexico national team affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) outside of Mexico this weekend.


Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers —  Jimenez had a rare off-game against Newcastle United on Saturday. The forward played all 90 minutes but only registered a shot on target.

La Liga

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Sevilla — Chicharito played the final 12 minutes in Sevilla’s friendly 5-0 win over Escobedo on Sunday. It might have been his final game in Europe, as the 31-year-old striker is set to finalize a move to LA Galaxy soon.

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — Herrera started and played 53 minutes in Los Colchoneros’ Spanish Super Cup final loss to city rivals Real Madrid.

Andres Guardado, Real Betis —  Guardado took the field in the 77th minute for compatriot Diego Lainez in Real Betis’ 3-0 win win over Cub Portugalete on Saturday.

Diego Lainez, Real Betis — The 19-year-old started and played 77 minutes in Betis’ win, recording two key passes and one shot on target.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — Araujo started and played 82 minutes in Celta’s 4-1 win over Merida in Copa del Rey play. The defender recorded one blocked shot and three interceptions.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli —  Lozano is visible not positioned highly in Gennaro Gattuso pecking order. The 24-year-old struggles to get playing time under the Italian. On Saturday, he played a minute in Napoli’s loss to Lazio.

Primeira Liga

Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Many may not be speaking about it, but Tecatito is having himself a solid season in Porto. The frenetic, crafty winger scored this beauty over the weekend:

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven —  Gutierrez played the final 45 minutes in PSV’s friendly on Saturday.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — Alvarez played the final 23 minutes in Ajax’s friendly on Saturday.

Jupiler Pro League

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — Govea played the final 45 minutes in Zulte’s friendly on Friday.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Pedro Arce, Panionios –  Panionios were inactive over the weekend.

Gerardo Ramirez Alonso, Roda JC – Ramirez Alonso didn’t feature for Roda JC on Sunday.

Report: Chicharito to meet with Galaxy officials to seal $10M deal

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Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is on the brink of completing a move to MLS.

The 31-year-old Mexican striker and Los Angeles Galaxy officials are set to meet on Monday to negotiate a contract, according to Marca.

It is reported that Galaxy will pay Sevilla $10 million for El Tri’s all-time leading goalscorer, who moved to Spain on a three-year deal in September from West Ham for $11 million.

Chicharito has reportedly given Los Angeles a “yes” on a proposed offer, and is now only a signature away from joining compatriots Carlos Vela and Jonathan dos Santos in the City of Angels. The forward has been linked to MLS for several years, but is now closer to league than ever before.

Sevilla recently notified Hernandez that he’s not Julen Lopetegui’s first choice at striker, a position that former PSV star Luuk De Jong and Munir El Haddadi are currently battling for. With the desire to be a regular starter at this stage of his career, Galaxy’s offer for Hernandez to be the face of the club entertains the Mexico international.

In late 2019, Chicharito admitted that he’d be open to a move to MLS. “Yes. Definitely,” Hernandez said. “Look, I am always thinking about my future. I want to be as open as I can to any opportunity. MLS is a league that is improving. It is an opportunity. Every league is an opportunity.”

Hernandez, who had successful spells at Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen, has made nine league appearances for Sevilla this season, scoring once.