What we have seen is confirmed.
Mexico has announced its first list for the 2022 World Cup, and there is an unknown, but not surprising. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Mexico’s top basketball player, was not on that plane bound for Qatar in November. And it has nothing to do with actual football.
If you try to understand it, don’t.
Since arriving in Major League Soccer, Hernández has been one of the most consistent players at what he does best – scoring goals. His first season in 2020 was a tumultuous one as he navigated personal issues that were admittedly linked to his duties. He bounced back and scored 17 goals in the next season, falling twice short of winning the Golden Boot, and that too after missing a long period of time due to hurt.
This year, he scored 18 and led the LA Galaxy to fourth place in the Western Conference, the best of the franchise since 2016.
Playing in LA is a reminder to Chicharito of how much Mexicans love him. Even LAFC fans leave the club wanting to get a photo or autograph. His status as a Mexican legend is etched in stone.
However, ask Gerardo “Tata” Martino about Hernández and he will tell you that he just decided to go with other competitors.
Rogelio Funes Mori, Alexis Vega, Henry Martin and Jesús Corona are some of the players he chose. Corona, however, was injured after breaking his fibula in the summer as was Raul Jimenez. Martino said he will wait until the “last minute” for Jimenez and Corona to recover from injuries before deciding whether they will join the team heading to Qatar.
But through competition and friendships, it is clear that El Tri is the main concern in the final third. It’s a headache to create and calculate, and it’s also a big talking point when you don’t give an adventurer in a country a chance to help.
Despite all the arguments in Tata with Chicharito, the pride and stubbornness of the teacher did not keep him from the list. Hernández, unlike his Los Angeles counterpart Carlos Vela, is hoping to contribute to the El Tri jersey.
He recently crossed paths on Instagram with famous Mexican Formula 1 driver Sergio “Checo” Pérez and reiterated that. Checo asked Chicharito with a smile, “when are you going to the World Cup?”
Hernandez laughed in response: “That doesn’t concern me, you know. My bags are ready but you know they are not under my control. I did everything possible.
Checo responded with many, in addition to the decision-makers in the Mexican Football Federation, thought: “You deserve better than anyone else.”
Let’s be clear about this, Chicharito is not solving problems for El Tri. It’s more about disrespecting and erasing a player of his caliber. One who has played on major stages around the world throughout his illustrious career.
When Mexico opens its tournament on November 22 against Poland, it will look from a distance before it can get a chance to help.
And if you believe in the few moments of trouble from the fans, the name Chicharito is the front of many conversations. Poland have a world class striker in Robert Lewandowski. Argentina has a man named Lionel Messi, among the big stars like Ángel Di María, Lautaro Martínez and Paulo Dybala.
A 34-year-old striker who has played for clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid will look good at that club. Especially the player who is known as one of the strongest in the game because of his movement in the final third.
That ship sailed for Hernandez in what turned out to be the last World Cup final.
Regardless of the situation, Chicharito will be happy for Mexico to hope to run with the one on the field.
And Mexico will face it, as always, in a completely different way.