Lucas Hernandez arrived at Bayern Munich with a 2018 FIFA World Cup winners’ medal around his neck, which must now ache trying to support the gold he’s accrued in just two years at the Allianz Arena.
bundesliga.com trains the microscope on the France international defender, who can't stop winning...
1. Football is in his blood
It appears Hernandez was destined to be a footballer. Sons of former Toulouse and Marseille centre-back Jean-Francois Hernandez, both Lucas and younger brother Theo have gone on to play professionally at the highest level of the game.
The Hernandez boys emerged from Atletico Madrid’s academy, and have each gone on to, respectively, lift the UEFA Champions League for Bayern (Lucas) and Real Madrid (Theo).
"My brother is a pure left-back and much stronger than me offensively," Lucas previously explained of the pair’s comparative playing style. "But I am a better defender, no contest!"
2. Life hasn’t always been straightforward
Jean-Francois may have been a player of some renown but hasn’t played any role in his children’s subsequent emergence, having left the family without further contact while Hernandez was "five or six-years-old."
"People who don’t know our story think it’s thanks to him that they became footballers, but that has nothing to do with it," explained Lucas’ mother, Laurence Py, while Lucas added: "I didn’t have a normal childhood. I lived without a father, just with my mother and brother, especially when we were in Spain.
"My mother didn’t work and we didn’t have any money, that’s the truth. It’s my grandfather who got us out of a hole. I have experienced tough times in my life, and I have always stood up and been strong mentally. That’s what got me to where I am today."
3. Hernandez loves to fish
Hernandez credits his grandfather as a major influence on his life, and it was him that introduced young Lucas to fishing.
"I’ve been fishing since I was a child," he told The Guardian about his love affair with the sport that has since continued during down time in Munich, where he has discovered the perfect spot to unwind with rod and bait.
"I just love that and I found paradise here," he continued. "I even discovered amazing spots rich in pike, pike-perch and trout, the local speciality."
4. He could have played for Spain
Having moved to Spain as a two-year-old and after spending so much of his life in the country, it’s little wonder that Hernandez identifies so much with the country.
"My musical and cooking tastes, except cheese which has to be French, are very much Spanish," he continued to The Guardian. "My wife, Amelia, is Spanish and my son, Martin, was born in Madrid, two weeks after the World Cup. When I’m in Spain, I feel Spanish. But when I’m in France, I feel French."
Hernandez could even have represented La Roja, rather than Les Blues, but - having played for France’s youth sides from U16-U21 - opted for the latter in 2018, on the eve of that year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
5. He’s a World Cup winner
Any doubt over his allegiance was alleviated by coach Didier Deschamps and long-time friend Antoine Griezmann, who said he "put [Hernandez] under pressure" to commit to France.
"When I said I was ready to play for Spain, I didn’t have any news from France," Hernandez explained when called up for the first time in March 2018, just three months before the start of the World Cup. "But when Didier Deschamps called me to find out about my situation, I didn’t hesitate for a minute, not even 30 seconds."
Hernandez would go on to feature at left-back in all seven of France’s matches in Russia, teeing up Kylian Mbappe for the side’s fourth goal that ultimately helped secure a 4-2 victory in the final as the then 22-year-old became a world champion in just his 12th international appearance.
6. He also has a French Legion of Honour
As a result of his World Cup heroics, Hernandez and his France teammates were awarded the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, or French Legion of Honour, in 2019.
The squad were given France’s highest order of merit by president Emmanuel Macron, shortly after Hernandez had sealed his move to Bayern.
7. Diego Simeone played major role in his development
Hernandez’s breakthrough at Atletico was overseen by Diego Simeone, and the legendary Argentine had a substantial impact on moulding the world-class player we get to enjoy watching at the Allianz Arena today.
"I've grown with him," said Hernandez, who joined Atletico in 2007, four years before Simeone took charge and was handed his first-team debut by the coach at 18. "He’s the one who brought me from the junior teams to the first team. Ever since I've been with him, he's instilled in me that if you want to succeed in life, you have to fight, you have to give everything, you have to work in every training session."
"He's always worked and he has always wanted to improve," explained Simeone. "Above all, and what is most important for me, is that he’s not afraid. A player who isn’t afraid to play well or badly is never a problem."
8. Rafael Varane and Sergio Ramos are his idols
It may be the Atletico half of the Madrid divide that most holds a place in Hernandez’s heart, but he has named longtime Real pair Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos as his idols.
Often seen operating on the left side of defence for both Bayern and France, Hernandez’s preferred position, like that of his heroes, is at centre-back but he sees the benefit of being able to operate in different roles.
As Hernandez put it himself: "I’m used to playing left now but I can play in both positions, so I have no problem switching from one role to the other, even within the same game."
9. Bayern are even better when he plays
Incredibly, Hernandez has lost only once in 42 Bundesliga appearances since joining Bayern in 2019, winning 35 times during that period.
And you can hardly lay blame at his door for the sole Bayern defeat with Hernandez in the side; a 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 22 of 2021/22, in which the defender made an eight-minute cameo at the death, with the score already 2-1 in Die Adler’s favour.
Across a combined 62 outings in all competitions for the record Bundesliga champions, Hernandez has been on the losing side on just three occasions.
10. He’s a serial winner
With that kind of record, it’s easy to see why Hernandez has already become a serial winner at 25 years of age.
He has 10 major trophies to his name, a number well bulked by Bayern’s historic sextuple in 2020 that marked the end of an emphatic first season at the club.
Hernandez’s mantlepiece is currently decked with winners’ medals for the Bundesliga (two), DFB Cup, German Supercup, World Cup, UEFA Champions League, Europa League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Supercup (two).