Galaxy’s Chicharito Signing Expected To Have Big Impact On, Off Pitch
The Galaxy signed F Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez for a franchise-record $10M transfer fee from LaLiga club Sevilla, and off the field, Hernandez has a chance to do what David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic "could not” by making the Galaxy “relevant to the more than 6 million Mexican Americans who live in Southern California,” according to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. TIMES. Hernandez’ national team jersey has been one of the “best-selling soccer shirts among Southern California’s Hispanic fans since he made his debut” with the Mexican team in ‘09. The signing shows MLS is “becoming an option for Mexicans who have traditionally looked down on it.” With Hernandez, the Galaxy “might also have found a way to challenge” LAFC (L.A. TIMES, 1/19). Chicharito will star opposite his countryman and LAFC F Carlos Vela in what has become the MLS' "premier rivalry.” The duo are among a “growing contingent of Mexican international stars” in MLS (SI.com, 1/17).
STATEMENT SIGNING: THE ATHLETIC’s Sam Stejskal wrote Hernandez’ signing is "far bigger for the Galaxy and MLS” than was Ibrahimovic’s. Signing the “Mexican icon" should “only add fuel to the Galaxy-LAFC rivalry, already the best in MLS.” There are "perhaps only two players in the world" -- Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo -- who could "make as big of a potential impact in Southern California” (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/17).