SI Staff
Friday April 22nd, 2016

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez will play in Copa America Centenario but not the Olympics for Mexico this summer, he told the Los Angeles Times.

Chicharito, who has scored 25 goals in all competitions with Bayer Leverkusen this season, would have been a candidate to be an over-age player for defending gold medalist Mexico, but he will only play in the June international competition after conferring with his country and club.

"The Mexican federation wants me to go to the Copa America," Chicharito told the Times. "It’s not only my decision. It’s like 50-50, the decision. The federation wants me to go to Copa America and I decided to go to Copa America. Not because I don’t want to go to the Olympics. It’s because it’s the best club, for me and for the federation."

Chicharito missed out on the 2012 Olympics in London, where he also would have been an over-age selection, after agreeing with Manchester United to rest for the summer. 

Chicharito's decision represents the opposite of what Neymar is doing with Brazil, as the Selecão captain will try to lead the Olympic host nation to its first gold medal in soccer and will not play in Copa America. He had hoped to play in both competitions, but Barcelona only agreed to release him for one of the two.

Chicharito and Mexico open Copa America June 5 in Glendale, Arizona, against Uruguay and will also face Jamaica and Venezuela in group play.

Mexico's Olympic team was drawn into a group with Germany, South Korea and Fiji.

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