After it was announced that Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez would not extend his contract with the LA Galaxy the rumor mill started that the Mexican would make his way back to where it all started: Guadalajara. A big part of the Chivas fan base wants to see Chicharito make his way back to Mexico, but would it be a good decision or is the feeling of nostalgia clouding people’s judgement?
On November 3rd LA Galaxy and Chicharito himself announced they would be parting ways. The Carson-based team had an option to extend his contract for an extra year but they decided against it.
While the news the team decided to move on was shocking it was not surprising. The player tore his ACL a few weeks into the 2023 season which meant the Galaxy were going to have to give his possible extension a second thought. That kind of injury usually leaves out a player for about eight-nine months. Even after his return that wouldn’t guarantee Chicharito would be back at a high level. It takes most players some time to find their rhythm pre-injury and age can also play a factor. He is currently 35 years old and the older a player is the longer it can sometimes take to come back from a major injury. It’s not to say it can’t be done, because it can, but typically that does not happen.
His off the field projects can also have led to his contract not being extended. Chicharito has his own Twitch account where he goes live while he plays video games. While some people say it’s not a big deal for players to do that it still can be a distraction. There is nothing wrong with players making a living for themselves off the field considering they can’t play soccer for the rest of their lives, but if it starts affecting their performance on the field then yes it’s a problem. Thankfully for Chicharito it wasn’t having a big affect on him considering he scored a total of 38 goals for the LA Galaxy, but one has to wonder how much better he would be competing if he didn’t have his Twitch account.
Around the same time the news of his departure came out so did the news that he would become the new president of Olimpo United, a team in Gerard Pique’s Kings League Americas. He did play in one game in the Kings League a year ago but that was it. Now he’s in charge of a club which would require a lot of attention from him to the point it would be hard to juggle playing in the MLS, gaming and being president of a club. This is why it wasn’t completely surprising when the LA Galaxy didn’t extend Chicharito, maybe they knew it was best to let go of a player that wasn’t 100% focused on soccer and wouldn’t be able to give it his all after returning from a major injury.
Chicharito holds space in every Chivahermanos heart, but that doesn’t mean that he should come back. The Mexican started his career at Guadalajara in 2006 when the club won the 2006 Apertura title and during his years at the club he scored 29 goals for the club. He was performing at such a high level that Manchester United took an interest and signed him. After that he remained in Europe for 10 years where he scored 127 goals. He made history during his time abroad and it should not be looked down upon. Unfortunately he just wasn’t able to regain the form her had while at Manchester and Bayer Leverkusen. His move to the MLS did help as he scored 38 goals during his three years but he was never the same. His off the field projections did not allow him to tap into his full potential.
If Chivas were to sign him maybe it would be what they need in regards to a veteran presence, not athletically. In an interview from earlier this month, Fernando “Nene” Beltran spoke about what happened in the locker room that day that Chivas lost the final during the Clausura 2023. Beltran went on to say that what the team really needed was a veteran player to come in and calm everyone down during halftime. Instead of hyping and calming everyone down all the players started to attack each other and point out everything everyone did wrong. Beltran felt like if they had someone in their with them with experience winning trophies maybe the team wouldn’t have attacked each other and instead united everyone. Chicharito does have experience considering his resume and if he had been in there maybe he would’ve united the team and maybe the outcome of the game would’ve been different (Beltran starts talking about the final at the 50th minute mark).
¡DE ÚLTIMO MOMENTO!— Jovenes Futbolistas MX (@Jovenesfutmx) November 25, 2023
Con información de Héctor Huerta de ESPN, Fernando Hierro y Chicharito estarían en pláticas para volver a Chivas, club que lo formó y lo debutó en Liga MX
Would signing Chicharito to Chivas be a good decision? Honestly no it wouldn’t. He’s coming off a major injury, hes 35 years old and he has many off the field projects he’s currently working on that would distract him. However, if it was up to the fan base they would sign him in a heartbeat for the nostalgia. Maybe it would be a good idea to sign him considering Chivas is struggling up top. Chivas does have potentially strong players coming up like Yael Padilla, Ricardo Marin, JJ Macias (barring he stays healthy) and other young players from the academy. Why sign a 35 year old player who isn’t the player he was once before? Chivas has a big decision ahead of themselves, but whatever they decide to do it might just be the one move that would please their entire fan base in a moment where they need their fan base to be behind them a 100%.