LA move is only 'beginning' of retirement — Hernandez

Javier Hernandez played down talk of retirement at his Los Angeles Galaxy unveiling on Thursday. — AFP

LOS ANGELES — Javier Hernandez admitted Thursday his career had entered the retirement phase after signing with Los Angeles Galaxy, but stressed his playing days were far from over.

Speaking at a press conference, the Mexican international striker insisted his move to Major League Soccer after a decade in Europe was motivated by a desire to prolong his career.

"I just want to play and this league is giving that opportunity," said Hernandez, who is set to become the highest-paid player in MLS after inking a three-year deal with the Galaxy.

"I'm one of the best players around the world and that's why they want me to be here to try to increase this league ... " the 31-year-old said.

Hernandez had raised eyebrows after comments in a video blog published online earlier this week where he discusses his move to Los Angeles with his father.

"Everything is okay, everything is perfect dad, it's only that, well it's like the beginning of my retirement, you know?" Hernandez remarks wistfully.

Later in the video Hernandez says that while he expects the Los Angeles move to be "amazing", he is "retiring from the European dream."

On Thursday Hernandez emphasized that he was fully committed to his new career in the United States, stating he expected to play for many more years.

"I think in all the world and in my country we love and we are obsessed with drama and excess," Hernandez said when asked about his retirement comments.

"So they don't really listen to what I said. It's just the beginning, hopefully it will last 10 years, maybe I will play until I'm 40, maybe play in Australia.

"It's just the beginning of the retirement, but I want to make that retirement as great as I can." — AFP