Chicharito: I've learned to love myself

Saturday 04 September 2021 10:00

Former Reds forward Javier Hernandez is the first special guest in the new series of the UTD Podcast.

The Mexican, now at MLS side LA Galaxy, joined co-hosts Helen Evans, David May and Sam Homewood via video link for a chat that you can hear in full via our Official App and other podcast providers from Monday (6 September). 

‘Chicharito’, as he is often nicknamed, joined the Reds from hometown club Chivas back in 2010 and went on to gain cult hero status among the United fans for his passion on the pitch and of course that famous goalscoring instinct. 

The striker netted 59 times in over 150 appearances for the Reds, playing a key role in two Premier League title-winning seasons across his time at the club, and you will be glad to know that our former no.14 discusses those goals, trophies and more from his time at United during the episode. 
All The Goals: Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez Video

All The Goals: Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez

All The Goals | Chicharito became a fans' favourite during his time at United! Here's exactly why...

It was also brilliant to hear the 33-year-old talk openly about his mental health and how he is doing currently, following a challenging year or so for many, himself included.

“I’m great, I’m happy, I’m very grateful for the place that I’m in because last year was very complicated for me as well, suffering a deep depression,” Hernandez says during the podcast.

“I lost my grandad too and then had situations in my personal life that I needed to handle so I was in a very low place if I can call it that. 

“Then I got out of the victim zone, took responsibility of myself, my life, took some decisions and I just wanted to live in the present, enjoy life and do what I love most which is playing soccer.

“I just want to give it all. I [have] started investing a lot in myself time-wise as well, working with a lot of people around me on my food, my fitness, my physio, my emotions, my marketing, even style a little bit,” he added.

“I just want to be true to myself and live the life I want and deserve regardless of the society that sometimes tells us what we should and shouldn’t do.”

In the episode, Hernandez champions being open about personal struggles and it is clear that it is something he is keen to talk about, joining athletes across the industry including the likes of current Reds Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw who have done so over the last few months.

He says that it is the reason that he recently got a yin and yang tattoo, a symbol of ancient Chinese philosophy that influences health and order within an individual, society, and the universe.

“Me being open, that’s something that I want to share, that’s why I did the yin [and] yang tattoo a few months ago,” he explained.

“Sometimes we think with our superficial success that we're going to find all the answers, that they are all here and that we are completely perfect. 

“We are imperfect, we need to live with our life, we need to live with our shadow, accept the things we don’t have.

"For example, I was born and raised in Mexico City, I couldn’t choose where to start out in this world, I grew up with whatever I grew up with. I took the best experience and tried to do the best I can.”

Watch a short clip from the episode, ahead of its full release on Monday.
During a poignant start to the conversation, Javier also shared his current mindset and how it differs from the one that he possessed when he arrived in Manchester, 11 years ago, due to the tools he has now discovered and the experiences that he has had in that time. 

“Something I think about is imagine being 20, 21 when I left to [go to] Manchester United and I could have the tools to know about meditation, knowing about my feelings, the person who I was, because I completely quit the life I had in Mexico. I just went to chase that dream and I went all in. 

“But no one taught me, not even in my family that has always been a very grounded family, we are very grateful, very humble, very feet on earth. But [because] of that, no one teaches me how I need to love myself and in this era it’s very good that I can utilise that [exercises such as meditation] and young people around the world can utilise those tools.

“People are doing the best they can to help others go into work and then just be yourselves, love yourselves and then you can chase your dreams but not from an emptiness, [not from] feeling you have to prove something because you have more value. [If] you get money, you get fame or recognition, that’s [not] going to bring you more value as a human. 

“We all have the same value, we are all human beings, we have different tastes, ways of seeing life, we have different religions, but we are all equal,” he added.

“We all have the same values so no one should be feeling better than me, and I shouldn’t be feeling less or more than anyone. 

“I like to speak about it because it was a breakthrough for me when I completely started loving myself and started living the life that I want to live, it was completely great, but it’s always connected by love and not from emptiness.”

You can listen to the full UTD Podcast episode with Javier Hernandez from Monday, when it is released in our Official App.