Hernandez eyes Leicester move

Argentina's World Cup star Juan Martin Hernandez has signalled his intention to join Leicester this summer. [more]

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Argentina’s World Cup star Juan Martin Hernandez has signalled his intention to join Leicester this summer.

Hernandez helped the Pumas to third place at the World Cup last October – Argentina’s best ever finish – and was widely hailed after the tournament as the best fly-half in the world.

The 25-year-old is contracted at Stade Francais until June 2009 but club owner Max Guazzini indicated he will not block Hernandez’s move to Leicester, providing the two clubs can reach a deal.

Hernandez said: "I want a new challenge and that challenge is to join Leicester.

"Leicester is a top club who have ambitions and who win titles every year, or almost every year, like Stade Francais.

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"I have always wanted to go to England to experience another top league, another style of play, a new style of life, another culture.

"England will be a challenge for me both in rugby and in life.

"Max said to me that if I didn’t want to stay he would not stand in my way, but only if the two clubs can reach a deal."

A move to Welford Road would see Hernandez link up again with Argentina’s World Cup coach Marcelo Loffreda, who took over as Leicester’s director of rugby this season.

Hernandez is nicknamed the ‘Maradona of rugby’, not just because he wears the famous Argentina number 10 jersey but also for his sublime skills and superstar appeal.

Last season Hernandez and Pumas team-mate Felipe Contepomi became the first Argentinians to be nominated on the five-man shortlist for the International Rugby Board’s player of the year award.

Hernandez moved to France in 2003 after being signed by Stade from Argentinian amateur club Deportiva Francesa.

He is determined to sign off from Stade Francais by guiding them to a successful defence of the French title.

"I want Stade Francais and myself to get back to the level of last year," he told L’Equipe.

"I want us to finish strongly as champions and then after that we will see what happens between Leicester and Stade Francais."

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