When Javier Hernandez made his surprise move from Mexico to Manchester United in 2010, it was a dream deal for a boy with big ambitions in the game…
It was more than emotion when I found out Manchester United wanted to sign me. What football means in my country, to make that jump from a team from Mexico to one of the biggest clubs in the world just doesn’t happen in Mexico.
The biggest player was perhaps Hugo Sanchez, but he went to Atletico Madrid before he transferred to Real Madrid, and Rafa Marquez went to AS Monaco before he joined Barcelona. But a player making that big jump straight to one of the big clubs doesn’t happen. It was difficult to believe. I say this honestly, but the only time I truly realised I was a United player was when I came to do the presentation with the media at Old Trafford.
Before that, I’d had phone calls with Sir Alex Ferguson and negotiations had taken place but I was just moving from moment to moment and I didn’t realise the magnitude of it all. I couldn’t take it all in. I joined up with the national team and played some games for Mexico and I think that helped at that time because I didn’t feel the expectation of such a big move – I couldn’t, because I couldn’t believe it.
After the presentation I realised I was a United player. Before that Jim Lawlor, the United scout, wanted me to keep the transfer quiet and even my family didn’t know. So that helped me to stay focused on playing with my national team and not thinking so much about actually being a Manchester United player.
But I was so proud to join this club, and I was so determined to take this chance that the club had given me. From the very first training session I wanted to show that.
A lot of people said, ‘It’s your first year, this is when you have to settle’. I wasn’t thinking about that, I was saying, ‘I don’t need a year to settle’. I just wanted to prove that I was the same level as the players here and I wanted to contribute and help the team to keep winning, to maintain that history of winning trophies.
I remember at the presentation at Old Trafford I was just smiling. It felt like a great achievement because I knew how