Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has scored 45 goals for his country. He is one goal away from tying Mexico’s all-time goal scorer record. Yes, “Chicharito”, “The Little Pea”, “Cheech” is one goal shy of etching his name into the history books and standing side by side with legends. Yet, Javier Hernandez Balcazar became a legend long ago. Ask any Chivas, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Leverkusen, Mexico Fan. Ask his current teammates, former teammates, Sir Alex Ferguson, Louis Van Gaal, Carlo Ancelotti. Ask his friends and family. Ask any football fan that has ever watched Chicharito play. He is a legend.
There is nothing remarkable about his game. His passes aren’t precise all the time, he trips over the ball every once in awhile, he puts a shot into the crowd more often than he should. But when he scores we see ourselves in him. We only need to see his celebrations. He celebrates exactly like we would, the only way he knows how, with pure joy. The same joy that we had when we scored as children. He is us.
And yet, he is so much more. “The Little Pea” personifies what we all strive to be. Over the course of his 10 year career, he has had more ups and downs than most of us will have in a lifetime.
When he was playing for his hometown team, Las Chivas de Guadalajara, he was frequently benched and from the age of 18-20 he rarely saw minutes. “Cheech” persisted and with hard work he became a regular on the starting eleven for Guadalajara.
When his name was on the 23 man list to represent Mexico in the 2010 World Cup, the press couldn’t believe other strikers had been left off the squad for “Chicharito”. Javier Hernandez proved them wrong and scored the game winner against France to put Mexico through the group stage.
When Manchester United signed him, fans had never heard of him. Javier won them over with his fire and drive. In Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti hardly gave him any minutes but when he did “Cheech”scored. Most recently, Van Gaal let him go due to a lack of confidence in his play. Now, “Chicharito” couldn’t be playing any better at Leverkusen. For “Chicharito”, adversity is a common occurrence, yet he persists and triumphs.
Chicharito has worn the same jersey as some of the biggest names in the sport and has played on the grandest of stages in football, what is more, he always stands out in people’s memories. However, it’s not his skill people remember. “Chicharito” is dedication, persistence, devotion, loyalty, humility, passion, and joy. He is everything we strive to be. His story is our dream. So when he breaks the record and is officially a legend, we’ll know he was our legend long ago.
By: David Garcia