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Javier Hernández

Why is Javier Hernandez called Chicharito? Mexico soccer star's nickname explained

11:16 PM GMT+4 05/12/2019
Javier Hernandez Mexico 2019
Here's what you need to know about the Mexico sensation's nickname, where it came from, its significance and more

Javier Hernandez is the highest-scoring Mexico striker of all-time, and had successful spells at the likes of Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen before stints at West Ham and Sevilla.

The forward most famously goes by the nickname "Chicharito", which is also what he has emblazoned on the back of his kit instead of his full name. But why does he go by that, and what is the significance of the name?

The meaning of his nickname is pretty endearing. "Chicharito" means "little pea" in Spanish and it pays tribute to his father, Javier Hernandez Gutierrez. Javier Hernandez Sr. was known as "El Chicharo" – which translates to "the pea", in reference to his green eyes just like his son.

The older Hernandez won 28 caps for the Mexico national team, and was part of the team that reached the quarter-finals of the 1984 World Cup. A midfielder, he played for Tecos, Puebla FC and Monarcas Morelia and coached Guadalajara's reserve team.

He requested permission to take time off from his job in order to watch his son play in the 2010 World Cup, which was denied – and so he quit his job to travel to the tournament in South Africa.

“I asked for permission to go to the World Cup, and they didn’t allow me,” Hernandez Sr. told reporters at the time.

"I had to think about it for two days with my family and kids and I made the decision to quit because I want to go to the World Cup and see my kid play. Work is secondary.”

He continued: "It was difficult, but in the end one is not eternal.

"Institutions remain for lives and one doesn’t. Moments from your life is what makes you take that decision. I understand the institution and that no one is above it, but one is also just here in passing."

Chicharito has since become one of Mexico's most important players, winning the Concacaf Gold Cup and Concacaf Cup in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

He earned his 100th Mexico cap in 2018 in a friendly match against Croatia, and went on to impress at the 2018 World Cup and became the joint-highest scoring Mexican player at the World Cup with four goals (level with Luis Hernandez).

At club level, he has won two Premier League titles with Man Utd as well as the Community Shield, along with the Club World Cup with Real Madrid.