[BARCELONA-MAN UNITED] How popular is Javier Hernandez in Mexico? Television giant Televisa will delay its broadcast of Mexico's match against Ecuador in Seattle Saturday afternoon so it can show the UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Chicharito's Manchester United.
When he left Chivas de Guadalajara for Manchester 10 months ago, Nike erected a billboard that read: "The future of an entire nation is at your feet. You leave as a hero, return as a legend."
Well, the future is now for the Sweat Pea, who is expected to start Saturday for United at Wembley Stadium.
The 22-year-old Hernandez has scored 20 goals for United this season, impressing with his athleticism, skill and vision, and most of all his maturity.
Many trace his success to his strong family ties.
His grandfather, Tomas Balcazar, played for Mexico at the 1954 World Cup. His father, Javier Hernandez, nicknamed “Chicharo” or “The Pea” for his green eyes, played for Mexico at the 1986 World Cup.
And Chicharito remains close with his family, who moved to Manchester with him.
He has gotten better as the season has gone along, scoring key goals for United in its drive to the Champions League final and Premier League title.
"We thought he was a young lad who was going to progress and maybe have to get used to our training and English football," says United manager Alex Ferguson, "but he's been an absolute star and a real bonus for us."
Hernandez has quickly won the respect of United star Wayne Rooney with whom he will lead the attack.
"Lil Pea is the real deal," Rooney recently tweeted. "[He's the] buy of the century."
(Man United 2010-11)
27-13 Premier League
5-1 FA Cup
3-1 League Cup
8-4 UEFA Champions League
1-1 FA Community Shield