Javier Hernandez the most popular European football league in the world is the English Premier League, which consistently churns out celebrities for the game’s fans to admire. The Spanish League is the most competitive, especially with the two towering giants of club football, Barcelona and Real Madrid, ruling the roost. When it comes to ‘consistency’ and ‘efficiency’ however, the spotlight turns to the German Bundesliga, which prides itself in delivering well-oiled machines on the football field. One of these products is the Mexican forward Javier Hernández.
Born on June 1st, 1988, in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Chicharito (Mexican Spanish for ‘Little Pea’), as he is affectionately called, has made waves at the German club Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, ever since he was signed in 2015. Before becoming a mainstay of the German side’s attack, he began his career at the professional level in his home club Guadalajara. From 2006 to 2010, he was a systematic goal scorer for the Mexican club, which attracted many talent scouts from Europe.
After strong performances for the Mexican national side, the English Premier League giant Manchester United approached him with an offer which he did not refuse. For the next four years, he did what he usually did best: poach goals for his team. He enjoyed a dream run under the legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but when he retired in 2013, Hernández seemed to have lost the favour of the new manager, David Moyes.
Javier Hernandez is playing well for Leverkusen and show the best of him
This led to a season-long loan to Real Madrid in 2014, where he did not let such off-field scenarios faze him. After a fruitful run in the Spanish league, he was snapped up by Bayer Leverkusen in 2015 for, supposedly, a fee of £7.3 million. The German side had a dubious reputation for usually finishing as one of the top four teams in the league’s history without ever having won it!
It was at the back of this unfortunate record that Hernández’s transfer was finalized, with fans hoping that the forward could help turn the tide of events. Unlike his previous team Manchester United, where there was always a continuous supply of thoroughbred forwards like Wayne Rooney, Leverkusen were in desperate need of a prolific goal scorer, and Hernández was more than happy to help fill that role in the team.
He immediately shone for the German outfit in his first season, scoring goals left, right and centre. By the end of the 2015-2016 season, he had scored 17 goals in only 26 matches in the Bundesliga, which helped secure the team a third place finish in the league. This performance made him the top Mexican goal scorer ever in the Bundelsiga, and netted him three consecutive Bundesliga Player of the Month awards, from November 2015 to January 2016.
The facet that sets him apart from other similar forwards is his preternatural ability to predict crosses and through passes, which puts him at a distinct advantage against the opponents’ defenders. Combined with his close-range marksmanship and excellent off-the-ball movement, Hernández makes for a lethal striker for any team to have, which underscores his immense value to the Leverkusen side.
His performance for the German club was so impressive that he was awarded the CONCACAF Player of the Year award in 2015, and the fans voted him as their Bundesliga Idol for the same year. He also shared space alongside world legend Lionel Messi on the North American cover for the popular football video game franchise, FIFA 14.
Now, as the Mexican star prepares for the next season in the German league and in the Europa Cup, it can be said that Hernández has contributed vastly to the fortunes of Bayer Leverkusen, and will continue to do so in the years to come.