Carlo Ancelotti has praised Javier Hernandez after the Mexican helped Real Madrid secure a place in the UEFA Champions League final with a late winner.
The 26-year-old has been forced to watch on from the sidelines this season as he is far down in the pecking order behind Karin Benzema and Gareth Bale but was handed a big chance against Atletico Madrid thanks to injuries.
Chicharito made the most of his opportunity with what proved to be the winning goal and speaking about his performance, Ancelotti congratulated the on-loan Manchester United for his attitude: “I have to congratulate Chicharito. It has been a difficult year for him. He has waited, he has trained hard, he has worked well and he has had difficult moments. He deserves it.
“We had planned a good game and a good strategy. We already said yesterday that there was no hurry for us to score. I knew that I would put [Sergio] Ramos in midfield for this match one minute after [Luka] Modric was injured.
“We played against a team which is very strong defensively, a team that does not leave chances. I have a lot of respect for this opponent. We have beaten them and lost against them during this time, but they always work very well at the back.”
Ancelotti has already confirmed Madrid will hold talks with Man United over Hernandez in the summer and his goal against Atletico will give them an extra boost because of how important the goal was. It’s the defining moment so far for the Mexican in the Spanish capital.
Hernandez was understandably delighted with his goal and went as far calling it the most important goal he’s ever scored.
“Yes, of course it’s the most important [goal] because the present is what’s important,” he said.
“I have scored important goals in my career but what counts is now. This gives confidence. It was a great assist from Cristiano [Ronaldo].
“I am happy because I kept hope for my moment and it arrived. But above all I am happy for what the team has achieved, not just me.”
We’re sending our own congratulations to Chicharito because after what has been a very tough year, he delivered a goal in the most important fixture of Madrid’s season to date. When the chips were down he delivered and for a player low on confidence, it was the ultimate reward for continued hard work.
At the very least, Chicharito’s goal will put him in good stead for the upcoming last couple of months this season at Madrid and make sure he stays in contention.