10 Little-Known Facts About Manchester United's Mexico Forward Javier Hernandez

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2014

10 Little-Known Facts About Manchester United's Mexico Forward Javier Hernandez

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    Associated Press

    There is no question that Javier Hernandez still has what it takes to score, but other than his knack for goalscoring, what else do we know about him?

    Sure, Manchester United bought the forward from Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara, where his grandfather and father played.

    But how about the first number he used on his jersey? Or how much someone paid for a Chicharito portrait?

    Well, let's find out.

    Spanish sources cited in this article translated by the author unless otherwise noted.

Cartoon

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    Eddie Mort, the creator of the animated series Mucha Lucha, created a cartoon pilot inspired by Hernandez.

    He came up with the idea after Chicharito's first season with Manchester United. The story takes place in Guadalajara, Hernandez's hometown.

    It also features some fictional players who represent well-known footballers, he told CNNMexico, with the characters paying homage to the likes of David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona as well as the emergence of Asian players like Ji-Sung Park and Shinji Kagawa.

    Although Mort wanted to make it an animated series, he never got to talk to the footballer's agent.

First UEFA Champions League Final

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    On May 2011, Hernandez appeared in the UEFA Champions League final after scoring four goals for his team during the tournament.

    Chicharito became the first Mexican to play in the final clash of the event in his debut season in Europe. Neither Hugo Sanchez nor Rafael Marquez managed to accomplish the feat.

    Even though Hernandez played all 90 minutes, Manchester United lost 3-1 to Barcelona.

First Player Who Scored Against the 2010 World Cup Champion

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    Spain conquered the 2010 World Cup in July. One month later, La Furia Roja faced El Tri in a friendly to commemorate the bicentennial of Mexico's independence.

    El Tri became the first squad to score against the world champions since June 25, 2010, when they faced Chile in South Africa's group stage.

    The hit man was none other than Chicharito, who scored against Iker Casillas just 11 minutes from the initial whistle.

    Ultimately, the game ended in a one-goal draw.

Early Retirement?

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    Associated Press

    Things were not always bright for Chicharito.

    After proving his talent with Guadalajara's youth teams, Hernandez joined the first team in 2006. However, he barely played with Chivas.

    He appeared 20 times in four tournaments and only scored once. This made him doubt his future.

    His father told Mexican website MedioTiempo.com that Hernandez struggled a lot and that his patience was vital in his development.

Fastest Footballer in South Africa

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Hernandez has an impressive jump when it comes to headers, but he is also very fast.

    According to the Daily Mail, Chicharito was the fastest footballer in the 2010 World Cup: He clocked in at 19.97 mph.

    The Mexican beat players the likes of Jesus Navas (19.57 mph), Lukas Podolski (19.57 mph) and Arjen Robben (19.20 mph) according to Terra.

    In that tournament, Hernandez scored twice, against France (his grandfather also scored against Les Blues in Switzerland 1954) and Argentina.

Not Always a Striker

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    Associated Press

    Hernandez joined Chivas when he was nine years old, but he played in a very different position back then.

    In an interview with Mexican magazine Futbol Total, Hernandez recalled that he was a right-back until one of his coaches noticed his skills in the attacking zone and moved him.

    As of now, Chicharito is Mexico's third all-time scorer, with 35 goals to his name.

His Number

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    Associated Press

    If someone asked you what Hernandez's jersey number is, you'd immediately answer: No. 14.

    However, Chicharito started his career wearing No. 45 on his back and shorts; actually, he scored his first Liga MX goal with that number, then he switched to No. 25. With the U-20 squad, he wore No. 11.

    In 2008, he finally adopted No. 14 for good.

Milestone Goals

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Javier scored his first World Cup goal in South Africa 2010, which was also special in other ways.

    He joined his grandfather as one of the few Mexicans who have beaten a French goalie in a World Cup, plus it was El Tri's 50th goal in World Cups.

    It was also the 2,100 goal in the history of the tournament, as published by FIFA.

International Chicharito Day

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    Kent Horner/Getty Images

    Hernandez has several fan clubs; one of them is called Chicharitas 14. This group of girls celebrate International Chicharito Day on August 14.

    According to the fan club's Facebook page and to several YouTube videos, they picked this date because August is the only month with six letters, just like Hernandez's first name, while the number is a homage to his jersey.

Turkish Airline Portrait

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    Hernandez was part of Turkish Airlines' "Passenger Portraits" campaign, which consisted of a series of portraits by Craig Redman that were auctioned to raise money for the Manchester United Foundation.

    Other Manchester United players who were portrayed include Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Nani and Ryan Giggs. The pieces were later displayed at Old Trafford.

    According to the eBay listing, Chicharito's portrait went for £520.