Tom Marshall interviews Chicharito's grandfather Tomas Balcazar and father Javier 'Chicharo' Hernandez for ManUtd.com...
What qualities does your grandson have as a player?
TB: He’s got a great physique and knows how to use it - what’s the point in having really big, strong muscles if it makes you slower? He moves at the speed and with the power that is required in European leagues. I was saying to his dad about three months ago that Chicharito makes some diagonal runs that I’ve never seen in any Mexican player. He makes diagonal runs and he’s not bothered if he gets the ball or not because he leaves a team-mate free by taking the markers away.
Are there any similarities with either of you in his playing style?
TB: In heading and his big jump. His dad measures just over a metre in height [laughs]. With his shortness, he’d jump for a header and seem to be suspended by cable in the air.
What’s his personality like?
TB: He’s a very quiet boy. He’s 100 per cent professional. He doesn’t drink or smoke or stay up to all hours. When he goes over to Manchester, there might be people who try and change him but if they leave him to live like he knows how, he’ll be fine. He won’t even go out to the cinema sometimes. He prefers to come home after training, eat and then sleep.
When did you notice his talents?
TB: From being very small he was very restless. We used to go to our plot of land in front of the airport and we played little games of football. He used to play with us older folks and he used to slide tackle us and take the ball. We saw he liked football because he was weaned on it since being in the cot.
How have the rest of the family helped him?
TB: The help he received from us is total, unequivocal. When Chivas games ended normally we’d wait for him at the dressing room door and the first thing he’d ask is what we thought of his performance. Well, for us he’s never played a perfect game! We’d say, ‘You played well but you lack a bit of this or that, and in that play where you chose to do this, you could’ve done something different.’ In other words, we always tried to help him improve because if you are telling him he’s doing everything well, he won’t improve. It’s easy to say he was marvellous all the time.
JH: After Chivas games sometimes he wouldn't get back on the bus with the team. He liked to drive back with me and we would go through the game, go over the major incidents and talk it through.
You seem a very close, football-mad family...
TB: I was born very poor in the old Mexicaltzingo neighborhood of Guadalajara. We’re very humble people and I got everything I have now through football. Playing enabled me to have things