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Chicharito Believes Again. And You Should Too.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was recently called up to the Mexican National Team for their upcoming October friendlies against Honduras and Panama. The call up is exactly what he needed after a disappointing year at Manchester United and a forgetful World Cup last summer, in which he logged only 75 minutes and 1 goal in 4 appearances.

Pair this call up with a season long loan at Real Madrid, and Hernandez can now play with a renewed sense of belief. La Liga should consider itself warned. 

For those of you that need reminding, Javier Hernandez came out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa on fire. He was a hot commodity that was drawing praise from soccer pundits and former players alike. No less than Hugo Sanchez, arguably the great Mexican player of all time, hailed Chicharito as the next great Mexican striker . 

Hernandez soon completed a dream move to Manchester United, where he would have the opportunity to develop under Sir Alex Ferguson, and play along side Wayne Rooney. Rooney and Hernandez were a match made in soccer heaven, as Rooney liked to drift deeper to receive the ball - a la a number 10 - and Hernandez prefered to play off the last defender in a more classic poacher’s role. 

Aside from having a perfect match on the pitch, Javier was in extremely good hands off it when it came to Sir Alex Ferguson. The mentality of the legendary manager is summed up best by Hua Hsu, of Grantland:

“He was a player’s manager, in the sense that he rewarded loyalty and devotion with a kind of overprotective mania. He could convince [a player] to play out of position or reduce [his] goal tally for the good of the club, and in return he would defend [him] to the death…He waged holy war on [a player’s] behalf because this was more than a team — this was a legacy, a tradition, a union.”

In his first season as a Red Devil, Hernandez was backed in all the right ways. He believed in himself, and the results were extraordinary:

He scored off heal flicks. He scored off the back of his head. He scored against big clubs. He scored against small clubs. He even scored on a miss hit that deflected OFF HIS OWN FACE! 

The “natural born goal scorer” was scoring goals like it was an affront to the laws of physics if he didn’t. 

His second season and third seasons at Manchester United weren’t as much of a spectacle, but this was not an indication of a decline in play. He posted great records in the 11-12 and 12-13 season, scoring 30 goals on 72 appearances in all competitions in those two years. But at a club like Manchester United, such continued production was expected of him after the success of his first campaign. 

Manchester United’s 2013-14 season was one of turmoil, to say the least, as it marked the end of the reign of Ferguson, and the beginning of David Moyes’ Red Devil Career.

Needless to say, things didn’t go well, and Hernandez was stuck with a manager who didn’t trust him, and form that was beginning to betray him. His record in the campaign: 9 goals in 35 appearances.

Javier had this to say of his last year at United, “There was no confidence…It was a very tough year especially because they didn’t believe in me.” He was ready for a change, and a season long loan so Real Madrid was the perfect getaway.

At Real, Hernandez has again found the perfect fit. He easily complements players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and James Rodruiguez. He maximizes their effectiveness by allowing them to have the ball at their feet, while Hernandez is free to poach away. 

Oh, and he likes his new manager, too. When asked of Carlo Ancelotti, Hernandez had this to say, “The faith [Ancelotti] has in his players motivates me and makes me work hard.” That may seem a little underwhelming, but readers should know that Ancelotti is highly regarded for his easy going, affable nature and flexibility as a coach

Competition for a starting spot will be fierce - established starter Benzema is no slouch himself - but The18 will not be surprised if Hernandez scores some of Madrid’s biggest goals this year.

So, Chicharito, do you believe you can do it?

We thought so.

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