West Ham new boy: the global brand who is just ‘living the dream’
PUBLISHED: 22:35 09 August 2017
Chicharito ready for his Hammers debut at Manchester United
In Javier Hernandez, West Ham seemed to have signed someone very special.
Not just his goals, not just his experience for club and country, there is something more about the diminutive, bubbly, smiling Mexican – he is a global brand.
Arriving for his first press conference in claret and blue, there are two Latin American TV crews to talk to him. They ask journalists about ‘Chicharito’ they ask Joe Hart about ‘Chicharito’ and then they ask Hernandez himself.
He smiles, jokes and his Spanish is rapid, like a machine gun. The rest of us don’t understand a word of it, are just thankful that they don’t have to take notes, but you can tell he is playing the game, that he is honest and giving the foreign press just what they want.
When it is our turn, the little striker does not disappoint when talking about his return to English football and his return to Manchester United this Sunday.
“I am very happy, very excited,” he said. “This is the best way to come back to England and to the Premier League for me. “Now we need to get the result.”
Hernandez won the Premier League with Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson and his career since then has taken him to Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen, so does he think coming to West Ham is a step down?
He ponders for a moment; he had already been asked that by the South American press.
“I prefer not to think about that,” he said, perhaps accepting the premise. “I am feeling the same way as when I first came to England and when I play for the national team, because I love to play this game.
“Right now I am a Hammer, I am a West Ham player.”
That is great to hear, so the questions are will he be fit for Sunday’s Premier League opener at Old Trafford and if he scores, will he celebrate the strike?
“I feel I am ready, I am 100 per cent fit and been enjoying training with the lads,” he said. “The only thing I can say is that I am ready and if the manager decided I should start, then I will be very happy.
“As to celebrating, I don’t know,” he continued. “Imagine the emotions that I will have going there. If I am lucky enough to score in my old stadium, against my old team and in front of my old fans, I probably can’t, but it would be my first goal with my new club who has put their confidence in me, so I don’t know.”
The Mexico international comes with a big reputation as a goalscorer. He is certainly very serious about the art of goalscoring. He mentions a goal he was denied by the Premier League in his United days, but he is also realistic.
“Even if I am described as the best striker in the world, or the worse striker in the world, that is something that I need to prove on the pitch,” he said. “I will try to show what I can do and then in May we can decide just how I did.
“One thing I don’t want to change, even if I am 40 years old, is the hunger I have inside. The only pressure I have on me is my own pressure.”
So what about his stature on the world stage? Dimitri Payet was well known in Europe, but Hernandez is known and loved all over the world and new team-mate Joe Hart described him as a global brand.
He laughs: “I will thank Joe when I see him! It gives me even more motivation that I am doing more and more of what they want.
“They know me around the world, they take the time to get to know me and follow my career and my game, but I am happy to be at West Ham and it is going to be a good challenge.”
A total of 29 minutes, Hernandez talked honestly and at high speed. If he plays as fast as he talks then it is going to be very exciting for West Ham.
“I am living my dream,” he smiles. “I have been in great cities like London. I am playing in the best league in the world and I am looking forward to showing that happiness and confidence on the pitch.”
Who knew the Hammers had signed a superstar?!