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UEFA Champions League Final 2011: Manchester United's Chicharito Is The Story In North America - FMF State Of Mind

Since making his move from C.D. Guadalajara, better known to most people as Chivas, Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito, has become an icon in North America. Most who did not get a chance to watch Hernandez in the Mexican Primera were very skeptical of his abilities going into the 2010 World Cup, but he showed flashes of his top end speed and finishing ability in that competition, easing the concerns of Manchester United fans a bit.

Fast forward to May and Red Devils supporters couldn't be happier with Ferguson's purchase. Hernandez has been dubbed as the value signing of the season not only in the Premier League, but anywhere in Europe. But even if Chicharito was merely an average player, he still would have made back his purchase price for his new club in merchandise sales alone. Chicharito is incredibly popular in his native Mexico, and as a result, the popularity of Manchester United has soared in that country. As Tom Marshall from SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind explains, the Champions League final is all about Chicharito for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

It´s difficult to overemphasize what Chicharito has achieved this year and what it means to Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and Mexican football. There was even a debate on a radio show about whether Chicharito or the Pope had been better for the Catholic Church over the last year! Few predicted he would make such an impact over a year ago when his face was unexpectedly glaring back from all the newspapers after signing for Manchester United.

No Mexican has ever scored in a Champions League Final. Nobody in Mexico wants to add any extra pressure but, with the way Chicharito has smashed through every hurdle put in front of him and risen to every challenge, would you bet against him?

Two huge things stick out there. One, Chicharito has done more for Catholicism in Mexico than the Pope. That is unreal. Two, Chicharito has a chance to do something on Saturday that not even the great Hugo Sanchez was able to accomplish. Chicharito has a long way to go if he is to match the accomplishments of Sanchez, but if he plays well in a Manchester United win on Saturday, he will be well on his way to doing just that.

For more on Chicharito and Mexican football, visit FMF State Of Mind. For news, opinion, and feature articles leading up to the UEFA Champions League final, bookmark this StoryStream and check it often. We'll have new posts right here throughout the week, during the game, and after the game. For more on the entire world of footy, check out SB Nation Soccer. Manchester United fans should head over to The Busby Babe, while Barcelona fans should check out Barca Blaugranes.