Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is an L.A. Galaxy player now. It's a move that will afford him all the playing time he can handle, a $6 million-plus salary for three guaranteed years and the luxuries that come along with living in Los Angeles.
That all sounds fantastic. But sometimes making the call to accept the move that includes all of that isn't as easy as it may seem.
Chicharito has for some time been an open book in his video series "Naked Humans," which gives a glimpse into his life beyond the field. As explained in the YouTube description of the series, which is now at 25 episodes: "Sharing our essence through an ordinary and raw vlog, which is exactly why it goes beyond 'standard.' Because you will live with us, and through us. Full disclosure, and full vulnerability. There is no censorship, as we are sharing our purest self. No makeup, no double takes and no filters: NAKED."
Anyone who has been following Chicharito over the years will have noticed that he's more than just the goal poacher you've seen donning the famous shirts of Mexico, Manchester United and Real Madrid. He's a thoughtful, vulnerable and introspective person and he wears his emotions openly.
So it was touching to see him open up on his move from Sevilla to MLS and the Galaxy in an emotional phone call to his parents. Yes, he utters the phrase, "It's like the beginning of my retirement," which naturally has gotten a lot of attention in the knee-jerk reaction atmosphere of social media. Yet watching a few seconds more provides the greater context of his comments. He expounds by saying, "What I mean is, that we're saying goodbye to a career that we put a lot of effort on. ... Whether we like it or not, well, we are retiring from the European dream." (The full episode, titled "Huge and unexpected changes," can be seen here.)
It stands to reason that making it to the top leagues in the world from his beginnings in Mexico and succeeding at some of the biggest clubs meant plenty to Chicharito and, conversely, failing to secure regular playing time and bundles of goals in his most recent stops hurt greatly. There's an element of closure when coming to MLS for all players of his stature, and that reality appears to hit the new Galaxy star quite hard.
Perhaps his arrival at LAX ON Wednesday night smoothed things over a bit, with throngs of fans welcoming him at the airport and shouting his name as he signed autographs and posed for pictures.
It all comes with the territory of his move: the closing of one chapter and the start of a new one. More players likely share Chicharito's sentiment and experience. They're just not as open about broadcasting it all.