It’s official… Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is heading stateside.
The 31-year-old Mexican professional footballer has confirmed his move to Major League Soccer‘s LA Galaxy, telling the Los Angeles Times: “It was the right time, the right opportunity.”
The LA Galaxy officially announced the transfer a few hours later, following a published interview in the newspaper with Chicharito in which he spoke about his excitement over the move to MLS, and he was pictured wearing his new club’s jersey.
According to a report by Sports Illustrated, the Galaxy have paid Sevillaa transfer fee of €8.5 million ($9.4m) and have agreed to a three-year contract with Hernandez for a guaranteed salary of approximately $6m, plus incentives.
“I’m going to be playing,” Hernandez told the Times. “That’s what I want in my life. People are going to say it was because I couldn’t make it [in Europe], but sometimes in football there are things that are not in your hands.
“The last two years, the managers decided on giving confidence to other players rather than me. And now, the LA Galaxy, the manager of the club and the league, are telling me: ‘Look, Javier, we want to give you all the trust, all the confidence to help us,’ and that’s why I’m taking this opportunity.”
Hernandez also said he had spoken to the LA Galaxy’s Jonathan dos Santosabout the move to MLS.
“Jonathan told me the league is very underrated,” Hernandez said. “I really believe you don’t go there to retire.”
The transfer, also made official by Sevilla, ended the league’s seemingly endless pursuit of Hernandez, who in past years had been linked with Orlando City SCand the Chicago Fire. Previous interest always seemed to be on the part of MLS and not Hernandez, however, with the player intent on maximizing his time in Europe.
But Hernandez failed to settle with Sevilla following his summer move from English Premier League side West Ham United, scoring just one goal in nine league appearances while netting another two in six cup matches.
With Hernandez trying to squeeze one more World Cupout of his international career, playing time is paramount, and the Galaxy should be able to provide him that.
“I’m going to be able to play in front of a lot of Mexican fans, Galaxy fans, American fans,” Hernandez said. “That’s what’s great about football. They give you a lot of opportunities.”
The fact that he’ll be playing in the Los Angeles area makes Hernandez — Mexico’s all-time leading scorer with 52 goals — an immediate marquee attraction, filling at least some of the vacuum created by the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Galaxy spared little time promoting their new player at its official store at Dignity Health Sports Park— putting ‘Chicharito’ jerseys for sale for $175.
After breaking in with Liga MX side Chivas de Guadalajarain 2006 and spending four years with the club, Hernandez has spent the bulk of his career in Europe, playing for Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, West Ham and Sevilla.
Hernandez also posted a farewell message to Sevilla on Twitter following his departure. The tweet read: “I say goodbye to a club where I spent little time but enough to hold a special fondness and to know how much it means in world football. It’s a nostalgic goodbye because I’m certain that had I had more playing time, I wouldn’t had had to leave so soon.
“I just have to respect it. As a consequence, it was decided to take this incredible opportunity to continue to enjoy my passion. I leave calm and happy because I gave everything for this club.”
At club level, Hernandez has scored 156 goals in 424 appearances. He was on two Premier League-winning sides with Manchester United in 2010-11 and 2012-13, and won the 2006 Apertura with Chivas.
At international level, he has been part of three World Cup squads with Mexico, making 109 appearances.
LA Galaxy has scheduled a news conference with Hernandez for Thursday.