LA Galaxy striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is convinced that his mental attributes propelled him to his success in Europe with giants like Manchester United and Real Madrid.
The 31-year-old admitted he doesn’t possess the raw talent of Zinedine Zidane or Mexico legend Rafa Marquez, but that he’s been able to make more of his career than many others because of his mentality.
“There were millions [of players] with footballing talent, but not with mentality,” said Hernandez in an Instagram Live with ESPN’s Sergio Dipp. “I wanted to be the best, to be in Real Madrid. I could have stayed with my family in Guadalajara and not challenged myself.”
“I’m very brave, very daring,” he continued. “When courage and competitiveness go hand in hand this [kind of career] happens, that’s why I attained those individual accolades, without matching Zinedine Zidane or Rafael Marquez.”
Hernandez talked about his move to Manchester United from first club, Chivas, almost 10 years ago on April 8, 2010, and said he didn’t believe it when it became clear the interest was real.
“My dad told me: ‘Hey, Manchester United want you,’ and I told my dad: “No way dad, you’re teasing me,'” remembered Hernandez. “One night I was playing video games with the club, with [Wayne] Rooney, and two days later you tell me that the club wants to sign me? I told him: ‘No dad, it’s not a true. Impossible.'”
Hernandez’s father Javier, a former Mexico international, cried as the realization of the size of the move set in, according to ‘Chicharito,’ who had “indescribable feelings” when the deal was set in stone.
“[When you join a club like United] it is difficult to find a balance between enjoying it, not getting obsessed over wanting more and thinking that you have already done everything,” said Hernandez, who scored 37 Premier League goals for United. “It is like bittersweet. It was all amazing and then on the plane I asked myself: And now what?”
Hernandez went on to play for Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, West Ham United and Sevilla. He moved from Sevilla to sign for LA Galaxy in January, and became one of his country’s top footballing exports.
Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer wouldn’t rule out a move back to Europe, but is confident he made the right decision to join Major League Soccer.
“You never know [if I could move back]. I don’t know. It’s difficult, but why not?” Hernandez stated. “I’m a person who is assured when I make decisions. I can change my mind, everyone can, but I’m sure of the project that I’ve chosen [at Galaxy].”