Javier Hernandez has scored goals before. He’s scored goals for Real Madrid and Mexico before. But the Mexican-born striker has not scored any bigger in his career than his winner Wednesday, which put Real into the Champions League semifinals with a 1-0 win over local rival Atletico Madrid.
“This is the most important goal of my career, yes, because only the present is important,” he told Canal Plus. “I might have scored other important goals in my career, but what matters is the present.”
Starting in place of the injured Karim Benzema, Hernandez finished off superb work from Cristiano Ronaldo, who broke into the area, drew two Atletico defenders and keeper Jan Oblak to him, before finding Chicharito unmarked. Chicharito did not miss, passing the ball into the back of the net, sending the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu into raptures.
“This gives me confidence and Cristiano Ronaldo gave me a great assist,” Chicharito added. “Atletico are truly a worthy rival. Thank God we got the win we deserved, though.”
The unlikely hero was subbed off minutes later, after grabbing his right leg.
The victory was the first this season in eight tries for Real Madrid versus Atletico, which had gone down to 10 men in the 76th minute as Arda Turan was sent off after a second yellow card.
After a scoreless first leg last week, the second leg of the quarterfinal tie appeared to be heading towards extra time and penalties had it remained scoreless, but Chicharito’s winner prevented those possibilities from coming to fruition.
“It’s a Madrid derby and recently these matches have not brought many positive moments as Real hadn’t won one since the Decima win in last season’s Champions League final,” Chicharito said. “It might have been me who scored the goal but it belongs to everyone – those who have had confidence in me, my teammates and my family. This goal is for all of them.”
The goal was Hernandez’s sixth of the season in all competitions for Madrid.