While Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s long-standing interest was key in Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez's eventual arrival at the club, the lure of the Bundesliga also played an important role.
"For me it's one of the best three leagues in the world, alongside the Spanish and English leagues," said Hernandez in an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com at the BayArena recently. "Of course that attracted me. It was a new challenge, a breath of fresh air. I was keen to learn new things, to learn about a new culture, a new country, a new language, a new style of football and a new league. Everything!"
'Excited to be adapting'
'A really good group of lads'
By contrast, nothing has stood in the way of the striker's acclimatisation to Leverkusen out on the pitch, his impressive recent displays catching the world's attention. "Thanks to God I've settled quickly," he says. "I'm learning every day, which is how I like it, and the whole club is helping me to settle in; the coach, his assistants, my team-mates. It's not too hard to adapt though, because at the end of the day, they’re a really good group of lads."
Indeed, club coach Roger Schmidt has been quick to praise the 27-year-old’s efforts. "Chicharito is adapting better every day and is developing into a key part of the team," he told Marcadorint. "He's getting used to our style of play with regards to the pressing game and how we work off the ball. And, of course, he has that ability to create dangerous situations and finish off chances. He's already shown that with the goals he has scored for us in different competitions."
Hitting his straps
'What I needed'
"I think he's been a really good signing for us, a little bit extraordinary in fact," said Schmidt. "Because I don’t think anyone thought Bayer Leverkusen could ever sign Chicharito. But the way things have turned out have been positive for both parties, for the team and for him."
Hernandez himself modestly accepts the praise, before turning his attention to what he hopes the future at Bayer holds. "They're a team that trusts me," he concludes. "That's what I needed. I like the fact that the club is really hungry for success and that there are a lot of talented players here. I think we can achieve great things."
Chicharito was speaking to bundesliga.com's Daniel Thacker.