His Mexico goalscoring record in danger of being eclipsed by Javier Hernandez, former striker Jared Borgetti believes the player known as 'Chicharito' can conjure up more international magic by remaining at Bayer Leverkusen.
When giving El Tri the lead in their 2-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win against Costa Rica at the Estadio Azteca on Friday, Chicharito brought his Mexico goals tally to 46 in 89 appearances, level with Borgetti’s previous international best.
Currently nursing a slight thigh complaint, the Leverkusen marksman is nonetheless expected to be fit to face Trinidad and Tobago in Tuesday’s qualifier, giving the 28-year-old the opportunity to strike out on his own at the head of Mexico’s goalscoring charts.
"If I was to say that it makes me happy, I’d be lying," Borgetti lamented at seeing his record slipping away. "However, the fact is that he has drawn level with me and I’m certain that if he plays on Tuesday he will have a lot of great chances to overtake me," the ex-striker, who started his career at Club Atlas and went on to feature for 12 teams, added. "I am sure he will eventually go on to score more than 60 goals [for Mexico], and that’s great. I congratulate him as he has done really well."
Leverkusen interim coach Tayfun Korkut will be delighted to see Chicharito lighting up the international stage with Mexico, no doubt keen for his star striker to return to North Rhine-Westphalia in fine fettle.
Watch: All of Chicharito's 2015/16 Bundesliga goals
Currently in his second season with Die Werkself, Hernandez has scored 27 goals in 51 Bundesliga games and can - according to Borgetti - expect even more to come. "Initially, he grew to be an important player in the Mexican league and subsequently went on to do well overseas at Manchester United, Real Madrid and now at Bayer Leverkusen," the 43-year-old said.
"Despite not having consistent playing time at his previous clubs, his current team signed him as someone who could make a difference and I am sure that whatever the expectations [are at Leverkusen] he will surpass them," Borgetti added.
"The best thing for Chicharito now is to stay where he feels happy and comfortable and at Bayer Leverkusen I see him being just that and continuing to do well because they depend a lot on what Chicharito does. It’s the club that suits him the best because they can take advantage of his talents; I think the best thing would be to see Chicharito in a Bayer Leverkusen shirt for many years to come."
Another former Mexico forward offering praise to 'Little Pea' for his international exploits was Luis Hernandez, El Tri’s fourth-highest goalscorer and top scorer at FIFA World Cup finals.
"What he’s achieving right now will go down in history," the former striker known as 'El Matador' said. "His movement in the area is great and he takes advantage of spaces when losing his markers. There is only one [Mexican] player who can be considered one for the ages and that’s Hugo Sanchez, but Chicharito is on his way," Luis Hernandez concluded.