Billy’s Soccer Beat
Javier Hernandez is probably the most recognizable North American soccer player in the world. Hated in the United States, revered as a folk hero in Mexico, the man called Chicharito is as famous as anyone who plays the game that doesn’t allow you to use your hands. However, after a season riding the bench with Manchester United, Hernandez was loaned to Real Madrid, where he has struggled to find playing time.
With his career reaching its apex, it may be time for fans of Chicharito and Hernandez himself to start considering exactly what move he needs to make to suit his career.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has been vocal in the media lately, claiming that Real Madrid “need” Chicharito, despite a bevy of striking options and the fact that the Mexican striker has seen very little playing time this season. Hernandez has even been linked to Italian club Lazio, where he would be able to secure regular starter’s minutes and play in Europe’s top competitions.
Despite this opportunity, Hernandez remains at Real Madrid, fighting for playing time at one of the best clubs in the world, and finding himself sitting on the bench in game after game.
At 26, it’s time for Javier Hernandez to give up his dream of becoming a starter for a top five club. Both Manchester United and Real Madrid have demonstrated that he is simply not talented enough to regularly crack their starting lineup, and he is simply not the young upstart who may develop into a star one day.
We know what we’re getting from Chicharito. While he remains a world-class player, he does not cross into the elite level that characterizes say, the best ten strikers in the world. Thus, it is time for Chicharito to move.
Javier Hernandez can make a choice with his next move that goes one of two ways: betterment of his game or money.
If he chooses the route that makes him a better soccer player, the choice is obvious. Find a European team that competes for a Champions League spot every year, but rarely finds itself in the final. I’m talking about someone like Lazio, Spurs, even Valencia, where Hernandez could find regular time as a starter and establish himself as one of the top scorers in a European league.
However, the route I favor more, as a native of North America, is a simple cash grab, where Chicharito returns stateside. Sign with MLS or Liga MX. Can you conceive the amount of Chicharito jerseys that could be sold for the LA Galaxy? Or Dallas? Houston? Can you imagine the outpouring of national pride that would occur if Javier Hernandez returned to Chivas Guadalajara, the club that built him from youth?
In either scenario, Mexican national team fans would flock by the busload to see their prodigal son return to his home: North America. If Javier Hernandez wants to make the most of his soccer career, he need look no further than the friendly confines of his home continent across the pond.
Ultimately, it’s hard to give up the dream of becoming a regular player on Real Madrid or Manchester United. After all, these are clubs every soccer layer grows up dreaming of playing for. However, for Chicharito to properly capitalize on his charisma and playing ability, his best move is to return home. Thus, as a proud supporter of soccer in North America, I urge Chicharito to return to the place where he is unequivocally adored. Please Javier Hernandez, come back home to North America. Do it for the fans.