Chicharito Isn

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There was no way those goals and that moment were rehearsed, planned or scripted. Say what you will about MLS pulling strings for the big boys—that was Inter Miami’s home opener. There was a crowd, and among the fans in the stands were co-owner David Beckham and his buddy Tom Brady. Nobody was going to just hand the narrative over to Javier Hernández. He’d have to earn it—seize it after what must have felt like an endless stretch of failure and misfortune. And so he did.

The sincerity of LA’s reaction to his two goals, the celebration following a 3–2 win and his tears in the postgame interview spoke to the genuineness of the occasion. Sunday was a long time coming. The man called ‘Chicharito’ was back. Following a disastrous 2020 season during which life, his body and the sport seemed to turn against him, Hernández had willed himself back toward the summit. Humility, recognition, responsibility and vulnerability were the cornerstones of his journey, and while it’s far from over, last weekend’s game was a welcome sign that he’s on the right track.

“It’s very rare in life when you are not very well prepared that things come out very positive and come along in a very beautiful way, you know? Hard work is something that always pays off sooner or later,” Hernández told Sports Illustrated this week. “The goals, the result, it was just a reminder to the whole organization when we take responsibility, when we improve, when we learn from all the lessons when you are not doing well, those are the rewards.”

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