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Chicharito from MLS bubble: ‘I wouldn’t be here if I don’t feel safe’

LA Galaxy star weighs in on returning to play.

Jared Martinez (Courtesy of MLS)

Netflix. Call of Duty. FIFA 20. FaceTime with family.

Chicharito may be a household name, but the LA Galaxy forward told reporters his activities in his hotel room while preparing for the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando are as mundane as what the rest of us are doing throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Chicharito opted to play in the tournament while his friend, compatriot and MLS rival Carlos Vela opted to sit out, both players’ wives currently pregnant. But sensitive to potential criticism for either player, the Galaxy star made it clear no decision was better than the other.

“Well first of all, I just want to make a statement about Carlos and myself, because we have a very good relationship and I don’t want this to become like I took like a correct decision and he didn’t or the opposite,” he told reporters Saturday morning on a conference call in English. “We need to be very respectful with all of us, because there is no better decision to stay at home or to come here because we only ourselves know what we’re going through with our families, with ourselves, with our lives so I want to be very respectful and make that very clear statement.”

Chicharito said one factor that turned his decision in favor of going to Orlando was the Galaxy helping his family, his wife’s brother was living in New York City and the club helped get him to Los Angeles to stay with Chicharito’s wife and son while the player is away.

While he said he understands risks and is being cautious with coronavirus, especially in Florida right now with two MLS teams being forced out of the competition so far after team outbreaks, Chicharito was straightforward in his support for the MLS bubble and his feeling of safety in Orlando.

“I wouldn’t be here if I don’t feel safe. You know, I wouldn’t take any risk or chance having a pregnant woman and a kid at home, knowing that I could get it and I think MLS is trying to do the best they can to try to prevent all of us to get the virus, and then in the hypothetical case that someone can have it I think they have a very good protocol to [stop] spreading that virus. I think we all are trying to do our best, but I think life is not perfect, there are moments that we can you cannot control and there’s moments of things that happen you know but I think in my point of view I feel safe.

“I wouldn’t be here if I feel a little bit of risk or whatever and I feel I can speak a little bit about my teammates. We are not going to be living out of fear, you know, because some players, if they feel fear or something they will stay at home because they could have that option. But right now I’m feeling good and feeling safe, I’m trying to do whatever they tell me to do to maintain being healthy and trying to help everyone over here in this bubble to don’t get the virus and don’t spread it if someone has,” he added.

And when it comes to dealing with the long hours in his hotel room, Chicharito says the atmosphere is similar to international tournaments like the World Cup.

Now, it’s almost time to play, the Galaxy opening their MLS is Back slate with a game against the Portland Timbers on Monday. Looking for his first goal with the Galaxy, Chicharito says he’s confident and ready to go.

“I feel as positive as I can,” he said.

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