Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez has revealed he was forced to leave Manchester United over the summer after Louis van Gaal told him he had just a "1% chance" of featuring in his first-team plans. The Mexican hitman admits he was fortunate to enjoy time at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson, but laments how his time in Manchester ended following falling out of favour with both David Moyes and Van Gaal himself.
Chicharito scored 20 goals in his Premier League debut season, becoming a crucial player for the club and being voted their player of the year. But the Mexican saw his playing time curtailed during Moyes's reign, before being forced to leave the club twice by Van Gaal, firstly on loan to Real Madrid and then on a permanent basis to Bayer Leverkusen.
Hernandez has rediscovered his best form in the Bundesliga, scoring 17 goals in 23 appearances for the club, including a hat-trick in the recent 5-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The striker spoke about his good form in an interview with Spanish TV Show Fiebre Maldini, explaining his situation at Manchester United and LVG's attitude towards him.
Speaking about his move to Real Madrid, he said: "I didn't have the intention to leave but I wanted to more playing time. Van Gaal told me that he already had his strikers, that I would have to fight for a place but could take an offer if an opportunity arrives. The board told me that I could go on loan to Real Madrid and it was not a difficult decision for me."
Despite making good impact at the Bernabeu, the Dutch boss agreed to sell him to Bayer in the last transfer window as part of his striker overhaul, which also saw Radamel Falcao and Robin Van Persie leaving the club.
"Then I returned to Manchester. I started to have opportunities but one day I spoke with Van Gaal and I had only a 1% chance of playing so I needed to make magic. So I moved Bayer," he admitted. "I have been confident since the first day and I feel important here, not only for the goals but in all the games I watch, I see myself in the line-up."
Nevertheless, the striker still has plenty of good words for United, and especially for Ferguson.
"It was great fortune to make the jump to one of the best teams in the world. All my time there was good, with an incredible start, with many opportunities but ended badly because the opportunities decreased. I don't know why because I felt better every day," he points out.
"I am totally grateful to Ferguson. I think he is the best manager in history for how he managed the squad. He had a place for everyone. Even a player who was not under consideration ended the season with 15 games. It was one of the best experience of my life. He opened me the door to Europe and I won two leagues."