Hernandez, the Puma superstar, wants to be a Tiger

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The Independent Online

Juan Martin Hernandez, the Argentina player who earned rave reviews at the World Cup, has signalled his intention to join Leicester this summer.

Hernandez helped the Pumas to third place at last year's tournament, their best ever finish, and was hailed after the tournament as the best fly-half in the world. Hernandez is nicknamed the "Maradona of rugby", not just because he wears the famous Argentina No 10 jersey but also for his sublime skills and superstar appeal.

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

"I want a new challenge and that challenge is to join Leicester," Hernandez said. "Leicester are a top club who have ambitions and who win titles every year, or almost every year, like Stade Français.

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