Javi Hernandez reveals who were his idols growing up
The Spaniard also spoke about his time with Real Madrid.
Javi first tip-toed on the Indian soil back in the summer of 2019, when he was roped in by ATK, where he played for the next two seasons, before joining Odisha FC. A fantastic display of excellence with the Juggernauts convinced Bengaluru FC to pen fresh terms for the Spaniard, who joined the club in 2022.
Javi wrapped up an incredible 2022-23 season with Bengaluru, as the club made it to the finals of three different competitions, and were also crowned as the champions of the prestigious Durand Cup. Javi himself had 11 goal contributions across 18 games in the ISL, and was a remarkable performer throughout.
Khel Now recently got a chance to interact with the 33-year-old in a roundtable conference, where the Spaniard spoke about his time with Real Madrid, his past season and also his idol growing up.
Here are some of the excerpts from the conversation.
What led to Bengaluru’s turn around last season
Bengaluru FC lost eight out of their first 12 ISL games, and were in a pretty desperate position. But the setting of the new year saw a change in the fortunes of the club, as they went on to go on a dream run of form that finally led them to the ISL finals.
When asked about what led to this incredible turnaround, Javi Hernandez claimed, “I think everyone in the team believed that we can do it. We won against NorthEast, then we got some confidence and in the next match we won again. Everyone in the club knew that we have really good players, a really good team, and we kept believing until the end of the season and we won like eight-nine matches in a row so that was very difficult but I think we deserved it.”
Heartbreak in the finals
After their hard work throughout the season, Bengaluru FC lost in finals of the ISL as well as that of the Hero Super Cup. Sharing the sorrow that he and his team felt after the finals, Javi said, “It was very difficult because I think especially in the ISL final, we were winning almost until the end of the match and losing in the penalties was very difficult for everyone. But after few days, thinking about the season, everyone has to be proud of this team. Because we started the season very bad, we were in a very difficult situation, and then we made a turn around and won a lot of matches. So, everyone in the club has to be proud of this team.”
“I think the team played very well and to reach three finals in one season, I think, I don't know if this happened in India but it's very difficult because all the teams are very equal. So we have to be, as I said in the beginning, very proud of this team.” Javi added, appreciating his team’s efforts.
Javi Hernandez’s time with Real Madrid
Javi spent the early years of his footballing career, at the Real Madrid academy, and was also a part of their B team. When asked about his major takeaways from his time with the Blancos, Javi said:
“You have everything you want in this club. For me, they are the best team in the world, so you learn a lot, But then you have to know when you go out from there, it is difficult because you are in the best club, not in the first team, but even in the second team and the junior side, everything is amazing there. So, after this, I went to different teams in Spain. And then, my last 8-9 years, I have been in different countries. I learned too much there in the Real Madrid academy. So, with the things I learnt, I try to put in practice for every club I play,” Javi revealed.
La Liga’s contributions to Indian Football
La Liga, and Spain have taken a lot of initiatives in India, to develop the Grassroots football in the nation. Several clubs in Spain have also tied up with Indian clubs to develop Indian football. This is what Javi had to say when asked about his views on everything that is being done by La Liga and Spanish football here in India for the betterment of football.
“The football in India is starting to develop from the last few years. So that's good for everyone related to Spanish football and Indian football. For me, as a Spanish player playing here for many years and now with the La Liga also here in India, I'm very happy and very proud of this,” Javi asserted.
On his time in India so far
Javi Hernandez has been playing in India for quite a while now. The Spaniard came in 2019 and has since then been a part of three different clubs. “I feel very comfortable. I have one more year of contract, and I want to play. If I can play more, I want to do it because I feel very good here and it is not only playing football but the people. Since the first day I came and I have many friends there, they helped me a lot. So I feel very good here and I'm happy to be together for many years,” Javi spoke about his time in India so far.
Thoughts on Sunil Chhetri
When asked about his fellow teammate Sunil Chhetri, Javi heaped high praises for the Indian legend, and even claimed him as the ‘best player in India football's history’.
“Everyone knows Sunil and I think he is the best player in India in the history. But after being with him last season in every training, I can tell you he wants to win every game, every exercise we do in training he is very competitive, and that's why he got what he wanted. I can only say good words about him,” Javi claimed.
Javi’s idol growing up
As a Real Madrid fan, Javi had an interesting answer, when asked about his footballing idols growing up.
“I have two, one is Messi and also when I was young like 10-12, Ronaldinho, how he played. Both are from Barca and I hate Barca but I like them. The next one is Guti, he is my cousin and I think he is a top player. So I think these three,” Javi shockingly stated.
Biggest career highlight
When asked if there was one moment from Javi’s entire footballing career which is the most memorable to him, the Spaniard exclaimed that his time with the national team was the most memorable time for him as a player.
“I think when I went for the Spanish national team, I know it was only U-19, it was not the main team but to play for your country, even in young teams in the U-19 and U-21, that I think is for me was the most important moment,” Javi said.
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