Confed Cup gives Chicarito chance to shine
Mexico's popular forward Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez gets a new chance to shine for his country at the Confederations Cup after losing playing time with his club Manchester United.
The country's star striker was instrumental in getting his nation into the FIFA tournament in Brazil, which takes place between June 15-30, after scoring seven goals to win the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
His triumph in the regional tournament coincided with his brilliant debut with Manchester United in the 2010-2011 season, when he netted 20 goals to help the Red Devils win the Premier League and make him a household name in Europe.
In his second season, Manchester United only lifted the Community Shield and his goal tally dropped to 12 as his time on the pitch began to take a hit with the emergence of Danny Welbeck.
The 25-year-old forward voiced frustration at the end of the season, with British media quoting him as saying "all the players in the world want to start every single game," but he insisted that he was happy at the club.
Despite losing his place in the pecking order under Alex Ferguson, who retired after the season, Chicharito ("Little Pea") scored 18 goals in all competitions for Manchester United.
He has been impressive when he dons Mexico's green jersey, scoring 32 times in just 47 games since he joined the national team in 2009 while he was playing with Chivas of Guadalajara in Mexico.
Mexicans will hope he can continue his torrid pace in the Confederation Cup, when his team will face five-time World Cup champions Brazil, four-time World Cup winners Italy and Japan in Group A.
Hernandez comes from a Mexican football dynasty.
His father, Javier "Chicharo" Hernandez, was on the 1986 World Cup team, and his grandfather, Tomas Balcazar, scored a goal in the 1954 tournament.
Chicharito, who scored two goals in the 2010 World Cup, admired Brazilian legend Ronaldo and tried to imitate him when he was in the Chivas youth teams, his father remembered.
After scoring 29 goals in 79 games for Chivas, under the guidance of current Mexico national team boss Jose Manuel de la Torre, Hernandez was sold to Manchester United in 2010 for $9.1 million.
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