After Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández emerged as his teams’ goalscoring hero for another week, Inside Spanish Football’s Real Madrid correspondent Alex Kirkland insists that the Mexican’s humility has finally began to reap its rewards.
Chicharito’s year in Madrid was always going to require patience. A striker does not arrive on loan and walk straight into a forward line containing Benzema, Bale and Cristiano. Much of his season has been a study in professionalism – training hard, saying the right things, biding his time. But now, with more goalscoring heroics this weekend and another outstanding performance, it’s building towards a remarkable crescendo.
Scoring a decisive goal against local rivals to put Real Madrid into the Champions League Semi Finals would have been enough. An unexpected bonus. A stunning cameo. A memorable coda to an unremarkable campaign. But strikers, more than anyone, are confidence players, and Javier Hernandez’s confidence is currently sky-high. That much was obvious last night at Balaídos, encapsulated in two supremely composed finishes.
As in midweek, it wasn’t just Chicharito’s finishing that stood out against Celta Vigo. Yes, he is a penalty box predator. But in his last two performances the Mexican has shown himself to be much more than that. His link-up play is better than many people think, combining to brilliant effect with James Rodríguez for his first goal. His movement, too, is excellent. His run for Madrid’s fourth, latching onto Sergio Ramos’ stunning through-ball, was as well-timed as his first touch was deft.
Chicharito’s place in the Madrid team to play Almería on Wednesday night is assured. Some are even calling, in typically knee-jerk fashion, for him to retain it when Karim Benzema returns, perhaps against Juventus next week. The Frenchman remains a consummate frontman for this Real Madrid side, with a skillset his stand-in cannot match. But that doesn’t mean we can’t also appreciate the efforts of a player who has demonstrated the value of hard work and an exceptional attitude all season long.
This content was originally published here.