Former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez spent six years at the Old Trafford club, signing for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in 2010 and leaving in 2016, then under the management of Jose Mourinho. After falling down the pecking order at the club during David Moyes’ time at the club, Chicharito was loaned to Real Madrid in 2014.
Louis van Gaal managed United at the time the Mexican left the club, albeit temporarily and after not actually setting the world alight at the Spanish club, the player returned to the Theatre of Dreams. In Madrid, Chicharito played 33 times, scoring nine goals and nine assists, winning the FIFA Club World Cup – despite not playing in the tournament.
Hernandez stated that the pressure at the Madrid club was much more intense than it was at United and the scrutiny was nothing like he had seen before. I guess that is why the supporters of the club are the way they are, making or breaking the career of a player based on a single appearance, which is something they have been known to do.
Having played for both United and Madrid, Hernandez was asked in an interview with Rio Ferdinand, a United legend, to describe the differences between the two clubs which led to the player talking about the way of life in Spain which led to a more intense focus one him during his time at the club. Hernandez said:
“I think it’s the culture. It’s just a description, it’s not something that I want to make less or make more any of the clubs.
“It’s just a description, you know how the way of life in England is a little bit more calm, a little bit more close, a little bit more in that way.
“In Spain and Portugal it is more the Latino way. It’s the culture, it’s more open, they’re more exposed.
“In United I never felt in the outside that it was completely as massive as it really was.
“But you know not many fans outside, not many press, not leaking news, you can walk a lot in Manchester, they respect you more.
“In Spain they respect you but they are more like my country they want things from you they want the picture they want to grab you.”
Hernandez fell out of favour with Moyes, which led to the same by Van Gaal, selling the player Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen for around £7.3 million. It was a shame it had to end that way but he’d gone from scoring 20 goals in his first season, 12 in his second, 18 in his third to nine in his fourth, scoring no goals in his fifth and sixth seasons at the club.
At Leverkusen, Hernandez started to show his striking ability once again, scoring 39 goals and nine assists in 76 appearances at the club. He stayed at the club for two seasons before returning to the Premier League, signing for West Ham United for £16 million, before Moyes managed the club. Chicharito scored 17 goals and four assists in 63 appearances.
On deadline day at the start of the 2019/20 season, Chicharito left West Ham for Sevilla, signing a three-year contract. He played 15 times for the club, scoring three goals. In January 2020, the Mexican striker signed a three-year contract with MLS side LA Galaxy, becoming the highest paid player in the league. He has played twice so far.
Chicharito was a poacher at United and a great player to bring off the bench with the club needing a goal. I cannot help but wonder if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had replaced Ferguson, could he have continued his form as a top striker in the game, helping United on the road to glory again. Granted, it never happened but many will not argue his ability.