Major League Soccer

Chicharito says friend Carlos Vela will be 'no-one' to him once LA Galaxy v LAFC starts

Chris Smith
Chicharito and Vela go back a long way.
Chicharito and Vela go back a long way. / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Despite being longtime friends and national team colleagues, Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez will hold no allegiance to Carlos Vela once the whistle blows to start Saturday's El Trafico clash.

The LA Galaxy host LAFC in what has quickly become the most anticipated rivalry in the Major League Soccer calendar. And for the first time, we'll get to see these two Mexican icons go head-to-head on opposite sides of the fixture - their only previous meetings came in the Uefa Champions League when Chicharito played for Manchester United and Vela for Real Sociedad.

Despite sharing so much time together on the pitch with El Tri and during their academy days with Chivas, Chicharito says Vela will be 'no-one' to him once Saturday's match kicks off. Getting the win for the LA Galaxy is all that matters.

"I love him, I admire him, but then when the whistle goes, he's no-one for me," Chicharito said in a press conference this week. "I need to play for LA Galaxy and we need to win."

On the prospect of going up against Vela once again, he added: "You always want to take on and compete with the best players in all the leagues you are in. Carlos is one of them."

Despite most of the pre-match talk being about this individual match-up, Chicharito was keen to stress that this fixture is about far more than two players. Rather, it's about two of the most impressive teams in Major League Soccer coming together with multiple match-winners on either side.

"I think that's wrong, it's LAFC against LA Galaxy," Chicharito said. "He's a very top player and I'm a top player, but Douglas Costa is over there [at Galaxy training], [Brian] Rodriguez is over there [at LAFC], we need to be respectful in that sense.

"I think only [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo can play by themselves and win championships and win games."

One thing that cannot be denied is the significance of the rivalry between the two teams. Already, this fixture has produced some of the most dramatic moments in recent MLS history, and the fact that the two teams go into the fixture first and third in the Western Conference, respectively, only adds extra spice.

"It's huge, of course," Chicharito said of the rivalry. "They're first in our [MLS Western] conference, they are the neighbors. They want to reach at one point the level that this organization has, like the LA Galaxy, we've had championships. It means a lot, of course."