Hector Herrera, Soccer’s Best Kept Secret, Wins Porto’s Player of the Year Award

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You have to love Hector Herrera. It’s impossible not to. The dude is a crack through and through, whether he’s experiencing tough times or leading Porto to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Thankfully for us – the HH faithful – Herrera’s hard work has not gone unnoticed; last night, he was awarded the Dragão de Ouro (Porto’s Player of the Year) in recognition of the fantastic work he did throughout the 2014-15 campaign.

HH is special, there’s no denying it. The Mexican international grew up idolizing Argentine legend Juan Román Riquelme and it’s safe to say that he might just have a little bit of his favorite player’s subtle flair in him too. Nobody has described this connection more eloquently than our very own Raúl Vilchis did for Deadspin last year:

“Both are men of few words but both understand that to master the game you need the strategy of a chess champion, the wiliness of a poker player, and the dead-eyed aim of a hunter. Also like Riquelme, Herrera is limber and spry, and he has the bearing of a complete athlete. His reactions are twice as fast as his imagination and his motions are graceful and decisive.”

In power, Herrera trumps all, says Vilchis. If you’re second-guessing this due to HH’s recent run of tired form, check this highlight video and acknowledge the legend for what he’s worth:

A couple of weeks ago, Porto coach Julen Lopetegui justified Herrera’s recent relegation to bench status by saying that two summers with practically no rest had taken their toll on the midfielder. This – according to him – is “a subject that seems unimportant, but it is not.” HH is “a very good player with a great attitude and an ability to compete. I am convinced he will be very important for us this year,” the director técnico assured us.

In a wonderful turn of events, Herrera returned to the starting lineup over the weekend for Porto’s away trip to Tondela. He even wore the captain’s armband, a clear demonstration of his continued importance to the club’s success.

Pretty solid stats on the night to boot.

¡Felicidades crack!