Real Madrid has gone past the toughest stretch of the season so far, and now faces a month in which Carlo Ancelotti wants to do two things: Secure his spot as leaders in La Liga and balance playing time within the squad.
Thats where Javier Chicharito Hernandez comes in. So far, the Mexican striker has played nine games and scored four goals in Real Madrid, and has convinced everyone he is ready for a full-time spot in the squad. So much so, that Ancelotti has already asked the board to negotiate down the 22 million agreed transfer for next year in order to keep him in the team long term.
But the good sensations need to be backed up with playing time, and it seems Chicharito will be getting a lot of it before the end of the year.
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With the return match of the Copa del Rey against Cornella and the last two matches of the Champions League on the horizon, the Mexican is bound to enjoy 270 minutes with his new team.
Real Madrid secured their spot in the next round of the Cup as well as first place in their group of the continental tournament, so Ancelotti will surely use these games wisely and line up the players who have consistently shown they can support the main stars as needed.
Chicharito is atop of this list, along the lines of Varane, Isco or Illarramendi, and he will manage to enjoy his first good stretch of continuous games with the Whites.
Furthermore, the calendar Gods have been pious enough with Real Madrid to line up games against Malaga and Celta de Vigo coming up and in between the various Cup and Champions League matches.
These two teams are among the biggest surprises of the season, as they have been able to stay close to the three main competitors for the Liga title. This means that Ancelotti wont be willing to make drastic changes in his line up, so we wont see a friendly effect in the squad, where all starting players are second stringers, but rather well enjoy a nice rotation of starters and non-starters in order to not burn out any single player before the beginning of 2015.
This can only be seen as another positive aspect of whats to come or Chicharito in the next month.
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Theres nothing worse for a professional footballer than to feel completely alienated from the starting squad. The full roster changes against smaller clubs usually have a contradictory effect for players like Hernandez, who are at the cusp of being a starter, but are forced to play these tier two games.
However, if the rival is good enough, and only a few players come into the starting rotation in order to pace everyone evenly through the end of the year, then those players moving to starting roles can take advantage and show their talents alongside some of the key players in the team, and more importantly, against rivals that actually matter.
Javier Hernandez faces a key moment in his career at Real Madrid. If he can perform and keep scoring at the rate he has even when not counting with as much playing time as one could expect, he will definitely secure a long term deal with the club and scare off any doubts –if there are still any– in Ancelottis head.
His future is in his hands.