Jorge Campos, Carlos Hermosillo,
Luis Hernandez in the early years. More recently, the dos Santos brothers, Giovani and Jonathan.
Over its first 24 years, the LA Galaxy has had its share of
Mexico stars, but none of the order of Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.
For a decade after debuting for Mexico at the age of 21 in 2009, Chicharito, the son and grandson of
Mexican World Cup players, has been the face of Mexican soccer. He is El Tri's all-time leading scorer with 52 goals and his goalscoring prowess took him from Guadalajara to Manchester United.
From Old Trafford to Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan. He won Premier League titles with Manchester United in 2011 and 2013 and was named to
the Bundesliga Best XI at Bayer Leverkusen in 2016.
But Chicharito has averaged less than 10 goals a season in league play over the last decade at Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayer
Leverkusen, West Ham United and finally Sevilla this season. At Sevilla, he scored just one goal in the first half of the season, starting only four games and making nine appearances.
“People are going to say it was because I couldn’t make it, but sometimes in football there are things that are not in your hands,” Chicharito told The Los Angeles Times. “The last two years, the managers decided on
giving confidence to other players rather than me.”
Right stage to make move. Chicharito, 31, said the move to LA Galaxy
comes at the right time for him and in MLS's growth.
"MLS is getting very close," Chicharito told MLSSoccer.com in an interview. "I think our country doesn't want to admit that MLS is getting
very close. I've been out 10 years now, out of playing in Liga MX, and this is going to be my first time playing in MLS so I cannot tell you what exactly is the way, but the way I see it from the
outside, the explosion of MLS all over the world is not the same as Liga MX. I know it because my teammates, the coaches I have played for, they have more knowledge about MLS than Liga MX. Both
leagues are improving, but MLS is improving in bigger steps. Speaking about Liga MX, they don't want to notice that."
Chicharito knows all about MLS and the Galaxy from new Galaxy teammate Jonathan dos
Santos. He notes that Jona has continued to play regularly for El Tri since moving to MLS.
At the Galaxy, Chicharito will replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic and head the new frontline that
will feature Argentine Cristian Pavon, a 2019 midseason acquisition brought back for a second season on loan, and Serbian Aleksandar Katai, a free-agent signing after he was waived by
the Chicago Fire.
Ibrahimovic scored 52 goals in 56 games in two seasons, but the Galaxy failed to make the playoffs in 2018 and lost to LAFC in the Western Conference semifinals in
LAFC stands in Galaxy's way. Chicharito's task will be to lead to the Galaxy back to the top of MLS. It's won a record
five MLS titles, but none since 2014. To do that, Chicharito will go up against longtime Mexico teammate Carlos Vela, the 2019 MLS MVP, and the Galaxy will have to overtake LAFC.
“It’s going to be fun for us and even more for the LA Galaxy fans because we are going to take three points from every game we play in,” Chicharito said. “Carlos and I have
known each other and been friends since we were 14 or 15 years old, not to mention everything we experienced together with the national team. Now we’re going to be closer, but he knows that
I’m coming to the biggest team in MLS and the biggest team in Los Angeles, so we’ll see what happens in the Clasicos.”
The dates of the two El Traficos in the 2020
regular season: May 16 at Banc of California Stadium and Aug. 23 at Dignity Health Sports Park.