'Chicharito' may not be Mexico's best, but scoring record is worthy of praise
At age 28, Javier "El Chicharito" Hernandez could end the international break as the top scorer in the history of the Mexico national team, a statistic that may or may not be significant, but at the end of the day shows the kind of goal scorer and player with whom Mexican soccer has been blessed.
Scoring goals has never come easy for Mexican footballers. The fact that Hernandez has surpassed names such as Hugo Sanchez, Enrique Borja, Luis Hernandez, Luis Garcia, Carlos Hermosillo, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Luis Roberto Alves "Zague" and -- imminently -- Jared Borgetti in such a short time, while he's still at the top of his game both physically and mentally, seems crucial when it comes to understanding the achievements and importance of this goal scorer.
No one is saying Hernandez is the best Mexican goal scorer ever. In that list he has surpassed names who, it could be argued, were much better players than the current Bayer Leverkusen star. But laying down his marker as the top scorer in the history of the Mexico national team would undoubtedly be a powerful calling card.
The possibility of achieving this small, yet major step in the annals of Mexican soccer comes just as Hernandez's career threatens to become mired in inconsistency -- a crisis amid the impressive goal-scoring rhythm he has settled into since arriving in the Bundesliga from Real Madrid. At the same time, there have been other off-field distractions that could have affected his concentration and competitive rhythm in the demanding world of European football.
Hernandez has every right to divert or change his life or his priorities at any moment. In life, people should be given space and time for everything. But seeing as concentration has been one of "Chicharito's" most striking qualities since his arrival in European soccer at such a young age -- and at a big club like Manchester United -- he should realize what is required in order to continue his career at the current level. It's also worth mentioning that offers and advances from other parts of the world -- more specifically, MLS -- have sought to tempt him away from his current club, focusing on the money on offer in a league of another standard and competition level.
The reality is this: Hernandez arrived on the Mexican soccer scene to be a goal scorer. A simple and powerful statistic could set him apart this week. The top scorer in the history of the Mexico national team -- aged just 28. It sounds easy. But you have to do it by scoring the goals.
David Faitelson is based in Los Angeles and co-hosts "Nacion ESPN," ESPN Deportes' version of "SportsNation." Follow him on Twitter @Faitelson_ESPN.