Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomefootballJavi Hernandez: Bengaluru's Spanish midfield maestro

Javi Hernandez: Bengaluru's Spanish midfield maestro

Bengaluru FC are fortunate to have had a long list of influential Spanish midfielders in their ranks over the years.

Be it Alvaro Rubio’s delectable cameos, or Dimas Delgado’s inch-perfect passes, moments of magic in midfield were not at all scarce for the club’s faithful supporters to witness. 

Holding the fort down currently with his wand of a left foot is 34-year-old Javi Hernandez, who is conjuring up some wizardry clad in blue.

A product of Real Madrid’s youth academy, Javi likes to operate in central attacking midfield, but has played across attacking positions.

He is lethal from dead-ball situations, and has the natural flair that Spaniards possess while linking play.

Javi is no stranger to the Indian Super League (ISL), having helped ATK win the title in 2019-20, scoring a brace in the final against Chennaiyin FC. 

After a one-season stint with Odisha, Javi moved to BFC and played a key role in the club’s journey to three finals in 2021-22. 

"The league is getting better every year. "When players (from Spain) ask about the ISL, I speak well about the country and the clubs. 

"Bengaluru is one of the best cities in India, if not the best. When we didn’t start well last season, the fans still came and supported us home and away."

"Last year was a good start with the team, hope to get more trophies this year," Javi said in an interaction with DH.

On strengthening the bond with BFC’s current strike force – Englishman Curtis Main, captain Sunil Chhetri and last season’s emerging player award winner Sivasakthi Narayanan, Javi said:

"In training I’m enjoying playing with Main, he is a beast and can shoot with both feet. Lucky to have good Indian strikers. Sunil is a legend and Siva will keep improving."

Javi has left supporters gob-smacked with his footballing abilities. Take the goal he scored directly from the corner for Odisha against East Bengal or his 40-yard chip straight into goal against BFC the same season, Javi has not shied away from the spectacular.

Those were just the appetizers before the main course which came against East Bengal for BFC this season. Having been eased into playing the full 90 minutes after recovering from an injury pre-season, Javi was raring to go.

With his team desperately in search of a winner and the clock ticking past the 72nd minute, Rohit Danu pounced on a poor clearance inside the box, and headed the ball towards Javi’s path.

Javi managed a deft touch on the bounce, the ball ballooned up over his head, and instinctively went for an outrageous bicycle kick, making sweet contact just as he hit the turf.

The ball sailed past the outstretched ‘keeper Prabhsukhan Gill and into the bottom left corner, sending the Sree Kanteerava Stadium into raptures.

A goal of sheer technical quality. Breaking the exact moment down with a modest chuckle, Javi said, "When the ball was in the air, I didn’t have any thoughts except for that I must score here.

"The best way to do after my first touch was to try the bicycle kick, and it worked. It was very difficult, the first time I have scored such a goal in my career, and lucky that it went inside the net."

A man of few words, Javi does all the talking on the pitch, and has reminded us time and again why he is so highly regarded.

Whenever the chips are down, BFC will turn to Javi’s abilities, and trust him to pick a pass nobody else can or score an astonishing goal out of nothing. 

(Published 24 October 2023, 15:56 IST)

- Advertisment -

Most Popular