You could forgive Chicharito if he were feeling just a little daunted. After all, he’s been thrust into the spotlight with the expectations of a nation on his shoulders. Overwhelmed? Not a bit of it. The first Mexican to play for United is taking it all in his stride, determined to eventually add his name to the long list of legendary Reds front men…
How would you describe yourself to United fans as a person and a player?
I enjoy playing football and I always want to be a happy person. I’m quite quick and I like to score goals, though the team is always most important to me. I’m a family man, I approach everything in my life in a positive way, and I want to take full advantage of the opportunity that God has given me. That means working hard, being professional on and off the field, and enjoying myself.
When did you first hear that United were interested in signing you?
[United’s head scout] Jim Lawlor spoke to me about a year ago. He said he’d been watching me play for Chivas de Guadalajara and told me United were interested, so I was very excited. Before that he had spoken to my father, and when my father told me the news I cried because I couldn’t believe it. As a kid in Mexico, my dream was to play for the best team in Mexico and then move to Europe. But to be told not just any European team, but Manchester United, were interested, was unbelievable.
It’s amazing that you considered quitting football altogether 18 months ago – can you tell us about that?
I was not getting many opportunities in the Chivas first team, which led me to ask myself, "Is this the life I want to lead?" I questioned whether I was good enough to make it as a footballer. But I talked with my family, who said I needed to be patient, work hard and enjoy all the things involved in the game: not just playing in matches but going to training, resting, media work – everything that comes with this profession. When you’re playing it’s about learning to accept the bad times as well as enjoying the good. Confidence is all part of football. Nobody here is going to play 38 great games a season, we’ll all have good and bad days. But the key when you’re not playing so well is to find out why and to work on those aspects of the game that need improvement so that you can get better day by day.
It’s been a remarkable couple of years for you since then…
Yes, it’s really amazing how much my whole life has changed: I