Reproducing this here as the link on the Telegraph is broken:
El Chicharito living the Manchester United dream
Javier Hernandez, aka El Chicharito, living the Manchester United dream – Telegraph
So clandestine was Javier Hernandez’s £10 million move to Manchester United that the Mexico striker kept it secret from his family and girlfriend for a whole week.
By Duncan White
Published: 12:18PM BST 11 Apr 2010
Sir Alex Ferguson was eager that his move for Hernandez would not get hijacked by one of the big Spanish clubs and demanded that the surprise transfer be conducted with complete discretion. Even the player’s agent was left in the dark about Manchester United’s interest.
Tomas Balcazar, Hernadez’s grandfather and Mexico international who played in the 1954 World Cup, was told he was going on a trip to Atlanta in the United States only to discover the day before that the real destination was Old Trafford.
Hernandez and his family were entertained at the Bayern Munich game before meeting Ferguson properly the following day.
“Ferguson wanted to meet with us so me and my family went to have lunch with him,” Hernandez said. “I know why he’s been able to be so successful because he is just a really straightforward person.
“He’s an extraordinary man – he makes such an impact on you and it is not just because of his accomplishments but because of the kind of person he is. We talked about football, he told us a few stories you know, but otherwise we did not talk about much. He just wanted to meet my family and me and get to know us a bit.
“I was at the game at Old Trafford on Wednesday and I think that the whole atmosphere, the way the fans express themselves, the way the country lives for football…it is very hard to describe. I just wanted to jump on to the pitch and start playing. The support is amazing, whether the team is winning or losing, and, the quality of the players and the league is well known.
“Football in England is more developed than it is in Mexico and the culture of the country means that the football is more about playing fair and honestly. Everyone is doing their best to make sure you get good football on the pitch. I like that.”
United’s scouting network first came across Hernandez, who is known as El Chicharito (‘the little pea’: his dad, also Javier Hernandez and a Mexico international, was known as El Chicaro, ‘the pea’), when he was playing for the Mexico Under 17 side five years ago.
Last September, however, a former Mexican international footballer called Marco Garces returned to his homeland having spent four years studying for a sports science degree at Liverpool John Moores University.
During his time in England, Garces became friends with United chief scout Jim Lawlor. Garces, who now works for Pachuca’s academy, was asked by Lawlor to recommend Mexican players to him and he suggested coming out to watch Hernandez.
United sent a scout out to watch him in December before Lawlor himself visited Mexico for three weeks in February and March, to make an in-depth assessment.
Hernandez speaks good English and studies for a degree in business administration in his spare time, so there were no issues with his character.
Lawlor watched him in two Chivas games, but it was his goal-scoring performance in Mexico’s 2-0 friendly win over New Zealand on March 3 that convinced Lawlor of Hernandez’s capability to reach the levels demanded by United.
“Jim filed a fantastic report on the boy, so last week we sent our club solicitor over there with Jim to do the deal. We’re delighted to sign him,” Ferguson said.
United dealt directly with Chivas club president Rafael Lebrija, stressing the need for discretion and, as part of the deal, have promised to play a friendly to mark the opening of Chivas’ new stadium this summer. The secrecy of the deal only added to the thrill for Hernandez.
“I got goose-bumps when I realized I would be joining Manchester United,” he said. “These are the things you dream about. I longed for a move to Europe when I was a kid watching lots of football on tv.
“I’m just full of gratitude to everyone who helped me accomplish this. Suddenly I’m going to be playing with the players I know from PlayStation and television. I’m living in a dream. I thank God that I am living it.”
Hernandez becomes a United player in July 1, when he hopes to still be involved at the World Cup in South Africa.
Having scored 10 goals in eight games for his club and four in four for his country, there are great expectations for Hernandez at the finals. If he succeeds there, the expectations will shift to Old Trafford.