Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez netted his first goal for LA Galaxy since July 7 on Wednesday and celebrated in the style of LeBron James, indicating the NBA star is an inspiration as he seeks to return to form after a disappointing 2020.
“I celebrated like that because LeBron for me is someone I admire a lot,” Hernandez said in a video conference following the Galaxy’s 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders. “I admire him because he reflects responsibility in every aspect of his life and shows that he can handle it. It is something that I am learning.”
Former Manchester United striker Hernandez had only scored once in 10 Major League Soccer games for the Galaxy ahead of Wednesday’s match. The Mexico international admitted it had been a difficult 2020, but he feels he is getting back to his old self, even if the Galaxy only have one game remaining in the regular season.
“I was joking with my teammates, I told them I’m sorry [it’s late], but I’m back, that I finally arrived even though it was late,” said Hernandez.
The 32-year-old was signed last January by the Galaxy as a Designated Player, coming in to replace the prolific Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the team has failed to make the playoffs and Hernandez has struggled with injuries and a lack of on-field connection with team-mates.
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“This year has been negative in every way,” said Hernandez. “I don’t want to talk about anyone but me. I have gone through many factors that have harmed me and made it difficult for me to get the best out of myself, but as you have seen today, I am making decisions in my life with a lot of responsibility, with love, to be able to give my best, to give back after all the trust that this team has placed in me.”
Hernandez has faced heavy criticism in his native Mexico due to the perception that he hasn’t been focused on the game, although the striker – Mexico’s top goal-scorer – is adamant that he wants to return to the Mexican national team in 2021.
“With the national team, I’ve always said, I’m completely open,” said Hernandez. “If the call-ups come, I’ll be happy to continue to represent my country.”
The Galaxy under interim coach Dom Kinnear will finish its regular season on Decision Day this Sunday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.