Chicharito: Brazil's Ronaldo was my idol
Former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez emulated his football hero on Saturday when he joined him in the ranks of players who have scored 50 goals or more for their country.
Speaking to MUTV ahead of the last World Cup in 2014, Chicharito revealed that Brazil icon Ronaldo was his favourite player and explained the reasons why.
“France '98 was the first World Cup I remember, and my biggest idol was playing,” said the Mexican.
“I must say Ronaldo, the Brazilian one, was an unbelievable no.9. A complete player. He could do the unexpected on the pitch. He was very, very talented and such a good player.”
“Brazil were the favourites in '98 after winning at USA '94 and they reached the final again. It was a very good tournament. I remember the schedule and some of the games meant I needed to finish my classes at school quickly because I wanted to go home to watch those games.
”Due to the time difference between Mexico and France, I think it was seven hours, some were on early when I was still at school, some were during recess and there were others when I was at home.
“The final was very unexpected as France beat Brazil 3-0, even though they were fancied as well with it being at home and they had a great national team with Zinedine Zidane. It was a very shocking final for me and a lot of fans.”
Chicharito made his own World Cup history when scoring against France, soon after agreeing to join United, back in 2010.
“It was a very memorable World Cup for me and my family,” he stated.
“My grandad [Tomas Balcazar] played at the World Cup in Switzerland in 1954 and scored against France. So you can image, when I scored against France too, there were very sentimental feelings for my family.”
Eight years on and the West Ham United striker, who is still adored by many Reds fans, has already made a real impact in Russia. He performed superbly in his country's shock opening win over Germany and then came the big moment, the netting of his 50th international goal, when El Tri beat South Korea 2-1 on Saturday.
On this form, few would bet against Chicharito starting his next half-century of goals in Mexico's very next game, against Sweden in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday.