When a player – especially those in North America - chooses to move from home to a major club in Europe, they choose to pursue a dream. The bright lights of the biggest stadiums and matches in world club football beckon. Like in any professional sport, only an incredibly small fraction of players become professionals, and even fewer still make it to Europe.
Hector Herrera, however, is in that exceedingly rare group.
Following six years of stellar football at Futebol Clube do Porto which saw him recognized as one of the top midfielders in Europe and one of the top 100 footballers on the planet, the man they call El Zorro made the jump to another European giant - Atlético de Madrid. Even for players who have found success in Europe, making the next jump to a Champions League contender and cementing yourself as a key part of the team is limited to another tiny fraction.
Once again, Héctor Herrera is in select company – the elite of the elite.
His first appearance in competitive play for Los Rojiblancos was a late substitution against Juventus in the Champions League – a match where he would score a late equalizer and salvage a crucial point for Diego Simeone’s side. From the beginning, it was apparent that this special midfielder would be leaving his mark on the Spanish capital.
El Zorro made the Champions League his playground in his time at Atlei, putting in one trademark tidy performance after another. To the casual fan who judges football by goals and assists only, Herrera hadn’t done much. But that misses the ethos of The Fox; the qualities that earned him recognition as one of the Top 100 players in world football. He is cunning and selective, choosing when to strike the ball out of possession and when to smoothly release it while in possession. Much like the midfielders he has dominated over the past three seasons – if you don’t focus on him for the full ninety minutes, Herrera will make you pay.
All in all, over three seasons, HH featured for the capital city club fifty-eight times. He departs the continent as the record holder for most UEFA Champions League appearances by a Mexican player, a La Liga champion, and, most importantly, a player that won over the hearts and minds of Colchoneros all over the world.
This connection was abundantly apparent in his send-off at the Wanda Metropolitano with the club’s final home match of the 2021/2022 season, as his name was sung to the rafters alongside Uruguayan star Luis Suarez in an emotional sendoff.
With his European mission complete, Hector Herrera now looks towards a new project with Houston Dynamo FC, where he will play a central role in helping Pat Onstad and Paulo Nagamura restore La Naranja to the top of American soccer. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of history here in H-Town, don’t miss a single second of Hector Herrera in action, select your seat now HERE.