The instant “Chicharito” Hernandez put that ball into the net against Argentina in the World Cup, you knew you were looking at a special player. It was brilliant. All he required was a sliver of daylight between the goalie and the near post and he stuck it in with his left foot.
He will take to the field tomorrow for Man Utd against the MLS All Stars if cleared of injury concerns and no doubt most of the attention will be on the lad.
At £7m he is the same sort of bargain that got Cristiano Ronaldo’s feet wet at Old Trafford and by the looks of things, we could have a similar trajectory.
He has a family lineage to go with that talent. His grandfather, Tomas Balcazar, a Gualdajara stalwart, scored a goal against France in the 1954 World Cup and almost six decades later at the same age of 22 years, Chicharito replicated the feat against France in this World Cup. Chicharito’s father, Javier Gutierrez, a striker was also a member of the Mexican team which reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup.
Man Utd were scouting Chicharito in October 2009 and were in no urgency to sign him but once the 21 year old made the World Cup squad, there was a flurry of activity which resulted in United’s solicitor going to Gualdajara to make the deal happen. Sir Alex was fearful that that a good performance would open up offers for him from other clubs.
“But then he came into the national team and that created a potential problem: if he went to the World Cup and did well at the tournament then we could be in danger of losing him.”
That turned out to be a nice bit of serendipity. On April 8th, Chicharito became the first Mexican player to sign for Man Utd.
We are looking at a rejuvenation of Mexican football – it was quite gloomy a year ago when the top clubs fell off their perch in the league and El Tri had all but conceded to the USA in the battle for regional supremacy.
Now we have Carlos Vela, Giovani Dos Santos, and Pablo Barrera heading an increasingly confident and skillful national team. But the best and the brightest of the lot is “Chicharito”. The wonder of Gualdajara will make good.