Javier Hernandez was unknown in Europe when Manchester United signed him for £6m from Mexican side Guadalajara. That summer he went to the World Cup with Mexico, having just turned 22-years-old, and United fans were eager to see who we’d bought.
We first saw him as a 73rd minute substitute in Mexico’s 1-1 draw with host nation South Africa. He came on in the 55th minute in Mexico’s following game, with his country drawing 0-0 with France. Less than ten minutes later Mexico took the lead after Hernandez scored, despite appearing to look 10 yards offside when he received the ball. Replays showed he was onside though, as he raced away from the backline, took the ball around Hugo Lloris and put his country 1-0 up. His grandfather, Tomás Balcázar, scored for Mexico against France in the 1954 World Cup. He then played for the last half an hour in Mexico’s 1-0 defeat against Uruguay but still progressed out of the group. Mexico were outclassed by Argentina in the round of 16 but Hernandez earned his spot in the starting line-up and managed to score again.
Before the World Cup, Hernandez had scored just 5 goals for his country, all in friendlies, against Holland, Bolivia, Gambia, North Korea and New Zealand. Since the World Cup, you can’t stop him from scoring for Mexico.
The following summer he won the CONCACAF Gold Cup with Mexico and was the tournament’s top scorer and best player. They won all three of their group stage games against Costa Rica, El Salvador and and Cuba. They beat Guatemala 2-1 in the quarter-finals (Hernandez scored the winner), Honduras 2-0 in the semi-finals (Hernandez scored), and USA 4-2 in the final in front of a crowd of 93,000 fans.
Chicharito is currently representing Mexico in the Confederations Cup and last week scored a goal against Italy. To have international goals against Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Holland, France and Italy is pretty good going for a 25-year-old!
That latest goal takes him to 33 in 51 games, making him the 5th highest scorer for Mexico. If he scores two more goals he will equal the goals tally reached by retired players Luis Hernández and Carlos Hermosillo, making him the 3rd highest scorer. He’s currently six goals away from equalling retired Cuauhtémoc Blanco’s record, which would make him the 2nd highest scorer. To equal the record of Jared Borgetti, who retired in 2008, Chicharito has to score a further 13 goals, and then he will be Mexico’s highest scorer.
All of the players below Chicharito in the top ten have now retired, meaning that if he does secure the record, it should be safe for quite some time.
When you compare Hernandez’s record with the best strikers in the world, his goals per game record is considerably better than anyone’s.