Javier Hernandez to pick between Copa America, Olympics says Bayer
ORLANDO, Florida -- Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez will be allowed to play for Mexico in the Copa America Centenario or Rio 2016, but his club would prefer that he didn't participate in both, Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Jonas Boldt has confirmed.
The former Manchester United striker has been in superb form since joining the Bundesliga side in August, and Boldt is wary of overworking their new star.
"From our ideal point of view, for the club, it would be ideal if Chicharito played one of the two events, but not both," Boldt told ESPN Deportes.
"That is our idea, although we have yet to sit and speak with our players. We have close to 10 players who could play at Copa America or the Olympic Games and the club also have their own commitments.
"But in addition to that, the players need to rest."
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Bayer are in Orlando this week to play in the Florida Cup, which gets underway on Sunday as part of the Bundesliga side's training for the second half of the season.
The Copa America Centenario will be played in the United States from June 3-26. Men's football at the Olympics runs from Aug. 4-20. Bayer also have commitments in Europe in August.
Mexico have qualified both for Copa America Centenario's special 100th anniversary edition as well as the Olympics, where they are the defending champions.
Olympics participation is for under-23 players, but each team are allowed three over-23, which opens the door for Hernandez, who has scored 40 goals in 74 appearances with his national team.
Clubs are not obligated by FIFA to release any over-23 players for Olympic participation.
Bayer Leverkusen's reluctance to part with Hernandez is understandable. Since they signed him from his loan to Real Madrid on Aug. 31 last year, Hernandez has led the club's attack, scoring 11 goals in 14 games to be fourth in the list of Bundesliga top scorers.
"We always wanted Chicharito on our side. I was able to watch him with Chivas de Guadalajara and then with Manchester United and Real Madrid," Boldt said.
He is a good player, good technique, he is a position player and makes his teammates look good.
"Last season we had lots of possibilities but we had few goals. At the end of season, we say down with coaching staff to talk about what we were missing.
"We came to the conclusion that we needed someone with experience, someone who could score, who understood the game and then Chicharito's name came up.
"It was not easy, it didn't happen quickly but one week before the transfer window closed we made contact and reached a deal on the last day."