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Is Chicharito’s Run About To End?

“As I am not one to be content with sitting on the bench, I always want more."

So said Javier Hernandez to beIN Sport France this weekend. Which, on reflection, is why we’ve seen a smile on Chicharito’s face these last few weeks: Real Madrid’s number 14 has started all of Los Blancos’ last five fixtures, scoring four goals and assisting a further three in the process. Suddenly the talk is no longer of dreary transfers to Southampton or West Ham; it’s about Madrid’s desire to keep Chicharito at the Santiago Bernabau permanently.

But, if Chicharito doesn’t want to languish on the bench, would staying in the Spanish capital really be in his best interests?

The optimists will point to the last month of football: Little Pea is on fire, creating goals at a rate of one every 66 minutes since the start of April, seeing Madrid through their tough Champions League quarter-final fixture with city rivals Atleti as well as helping to overcome Celta Vigo 4-2 last weekend. How could such a proven goal-scorer again be allowed to languish on the bench as he was for much of this season?

The pessimists, however, will look at the men emptying out of the Berbabau’s shiny medical facility and ask: how much longer is Chicharito’s run set to last? After all, he only got his chance through serendipity, which shone down on him but saw fit to leave fellow forwards Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema on the physio’s table. The former is game-ready once again, and replaced Hernandez shortly after the hour mark on Saturday, setting up Ronaldo’s third. The latter, while not fit for Tuesday’s trip to Turin, is expected to return next weekend.

chicharito bale

Chicharito, lining up alongside Gareth Bale (Photo: @LaReta_com)

It will be instructive, therefore, to see how Carlo Ancelotti uses Chicharito between now and the end of the season, starting with the Champions League semi-final first leg against Juventus. Last week Ancelotti said that Hernandez was undroppable, but with the BBC strikeforce (nearly) back to full fitness, will that still be the case? Ancelotti certainly isn’t a man who panders to players on the strength of a price-tag, but there will undoubtedly be pressure from up-on-high for Bale to start on Tuesday and thereafter: the Welshman is the world’s most expensive player, and in 39 appearances for Real this season only two have come from the bench.

Few would argue that Chicharito’s performance level over the last few weeks doesn’t warrant an extended run in the side. But Real Madrid isn’t just any old club: at the Santiago Bernabau, galacticos intermingle with low politics to make a mockery of rational decision-making.  

If Chicharito finds himself back on bench-warming duties for the season’s remaining few fixtures, he should think thrice before signing a long-term contract with Los Blancos.

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