Ahead of the 2022 Major League Soccer season, LA Galaxy’s Chicharito has set his sights on one thing: bringing home the sixth championship.
The Chicharito spoke exclusively with 90min on the expectations of the upcoming season, his take on the American league and journey with LA Galaxy so far. After having featured in the English Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga, Chicharito is finding his rhythm in Major League Soccer.
It’s been two years since you joined MLS, what have you learned about the league thus far?
"So much. Beyond anything, the joy of playing and the way this country and city has welcomed me. Culturally as well, and how I live here. Obviously with the Mexican population in Los Angeles, it’s incredible to be able to feel at home here and in the league.
"The league as a whole has grown so much, though. What I appreciate about this project is the way I can represent the league and Galaxy. Obviously we want to win the sixth trophy, and this year we will make it possible, but the way this league considers me a football image so it can grow is great.
"MLS is 26, 27 years years old and it’s grown so much- to be a part of that is something I have loved and truly been grateful for."
What do you expect to achieve this upcoming season, both individually and as a team?
"Individually, I will strive to be the best version of myself every day, in every training session, every game.
"As a team, win a championship. We want to win the sixth for the best institution and the best team in Major League Soccer. With how the league is at the moment, we will do everything in our power to get there. We are preparing every day, and I think we’re on a good path."
You’ve obviously played in England, Germany and Spain, how are European leagues different from Major League Soccer?
"There aren't huge differences. There exist differences when we create this narrative of comparison, and in that sense people will see that certain things are missing or things are better in another league. Honestly, I will say MLS has its pros and cons, but no league is perfect. There is no league that is more favorable or less favorable, it’s all a matter of taste, like life.
"We have to learn, and I would like to make this clear because of this opportunity, that it’s all a matter of taste.
"There are a lot of people who will say that La Liga is the best league in the world, or that the English Premier League is supreme, but it will never be 100 percent certain which league is the best. For example, for a moment in time it was Serie A, then the Bundesliga, etc. So, comparing them sometimes is unwise. I want to emphasize that all leagues have pros and cons.
"It’s a matter of culture as well, in which players must adapt to the way of living. People think that players are only there to play football, and that’s it. But it’s also a city where you spend the most amount of time, with or without your family or loved ones. So obviously, there are many factors that go into play.
"But I want to emphasize that Major League Soccer is about growth. It’s the increase we’ve seen, with marketing, players, the young generation, and the promises. The way the league is able to send many players to Europe, La liga. Teams have become much better, and expanded to new cities.
"I think the way MLS is doing things is incredible, and to be a part of it is a huge honor."
What is something that has surprised you about this league?
"The willingness to grow. The way this league tries to be better in every aspect, the level of football is growing every year and better players are arriving every season. They don’t necessarily have to be a specific figure, but players from all over the world are arriving. There are outgoing players as well that are set to become a key starter in any team.
"I think the way this league grows, and with a humble approach to anything it does. The league knows it has a long road ahead, but I know they value everything that has been done already to keep going."
You’ve become more somewhat the image of Major League Soccer at the moment, how does it feel to see that played out with fans, the league and LA Galaxy?
"I am so grateful. When I was a child, I had jerseys of my heroes and players I followed, so it’s a huge honor and motivation for fans to see that in me now. In my case, it generates the confidence needed to continue giving everything I have, because it’s the only thing in my control.
"We want the good results, but I don’t have that at hand, and it’s something unpredictable. But the only thing I can secure is my delivery, my dedication and my professionalism. I can control what I want to dedicate to my career and this organization, this project. Being grateful and confident in this project is all that is in my hands."
Beyond Major League Soccer, what is it like to have the support of the Mexican population abroad?
"Honestly, “chingon!” obviously it is amazing, and something I will never have any negative words towards.
"When you have people who pay to attend games, fill the stadiums, buy your jerseys and dedicate their time to watch you and the team play, it’s something I will always be grateful for.
"For me, the way I show them I am grateful is by giving all I have in return and have them leave that day happy.
"But there are times when people aren’t happy. When I lose, I am unhappy and try to be better the next time. I want people to know that from my point of view, I will always be the most critical with myself, and that I feel and know when things aren’t going well. I always want to try and be better, and the best version of myself every day."