Gino Hernandez (ジノ・ヘルナンデス), sometimes incorrectly called Zino Hernandez and Gino Fernandez, is Italy's keeper, captain and the key player of the national team. He wears the number 1 jersey.
Gino, who is very confident and smug in his earlier appearances, as the series progress, he becomes more open-minded and humbler. He gained the nickname Perfect Keeper for taking no goals for a whole year. Also, Gino has a close friendship with Shingo Aoi, a teammate of his in Inter Primavera.
Prior to the J Boys' Challenge Arc
Before participating in the International Jr. Youth Tournament, Hernandez was universally believed to be Europe's No. 1 goalkeeper, and one of the best of the world; he had made an outstanding record of taking no goals for an entire year. The last goal he had taken was from Karl Heinz Schneider, during a friendly match with Hamburg Jr. Youth, which ended 1-1.
J Boys' Challenge Arc
Hernandez only first appears as a silhouette, watching the match between All Japan Jr. Youth and Hamburg; he has to leave in the middle of it, though. His identity is revealed after he saved Karl Heinz Schneider's sister, Marie Schneider, when the latter was about to be hit by the car with Munemasa Katagiri and Tsubasa Ozora on it.
The next day, Italy has two scheduled friendly match, against Bremen Jr. Youth and Japan. During the match against Bremen, Hernandez saves all the shots done by the opponent, and starts a counter when Bremen's defense gets weaker, giving them the match's only goal. He and his teammates boycott the second match however, as they saw Japan's loss against Bremen earlier and decides that Japan is not a worthy opponent to play against. This angers Tsubasa, as he gets past all players of Italy before scoring against Hernandez with his Drive Shot.
By chance, Italy's first opponent in the group stage is Japan. Hernandez first play is effortlessly catching Hikaru Matsuyama's Eagle Shot from a free kick; he then throws the ball straight at Tsubasa, challenging the latter and his Drive Shot. He manages to catch the Drive Shot perfectly with a two-step defense this time, much to Ken Wakashimazu's shock, who had only managed to repel it with his Shuto Defense. Since then, Japan attacks continuously, but Hernandez masterfully defends Italy's goal, catching everything that was thrown at him. As the first half ends, he tells his teammates that they'll go for their tactic as soon as the second half begins.
As the second half begins, Italy start an attack, but it is seemingly stopped by Japan. Two of Japan's defenders go up after that, as Japan is eager to score. Hernandez wins the aerial duel with Kojiro Hyuga, but as he is outside of the penalty area, he has to release the ball, otherwise it will be a hand foul. Tsubasa jumps in, but Hernandez quickly kicks the ball forward, starting Italy break-back, taking advantage of the gap from the two defenders. Italy scores one goal thanks to that. That doesn't last however, as Taro Misaki enters after that, and Hernandez suffers a goal from Tsubasa and Misaki's combi play.
Nevertheless, Hernandez remains calm, refusing to panic and instructing his team to revert to a defensive formation and aim for a draw. Hernandez's tactical proficiency proves to be a tough nut to crack, defending to the last, but in the end, Hyuga's Neo Tiger Shot both scores the winning goal for All Japan and destroys his Golden Right Hand. Hernandez then acknowledges the Japanese players' worth, and apologizes for his team's cavalier behavior. Because of Hernandez injury, he can't play the next game against Argentina Jr. Youth, and Italy is swiftly eliminated with a 0-5 loss.
During the tournament's finals between Japan and West Germany, as Hernandez is watching from the stands, he is shocked seeing Deuter Müller's proficiency and almost-impregnable defense, which the latter reveals by catching the Drive Shot with just one hand, so much that Hernandez admits that Müller is in fact the better European goalkeeper, not him. He is relieved and thankful when Tsubasa and Misaki manage to score against the Phantom Keeper, proving he isn't invincible.
Principe Del Sole - Aoi's Chapter
During Shingo Aoi's first training in Inter, Hernandez manages to stop one of his shot, but Aoi puts the repelled ball into the goal nevertheless. After that, Hernandez becomes the first person in the Inter Juniores team to recognize Aoi's potential and determination; eventually, they become close friends. The other teammates however, especially Matteo, treat Aoi with contempt and even bullied him, to get him to leave.
The final game of the Juniores national championship, which is also the last match of Hernandez in the Juniores division, is the Milan derby, Inter versus Milan Juniores. When the match only has 15 minutes left, AC Milan is awarded a penalty kick, which they succeed. Inter's coach Nicolas Bassi decides to put Aoi in. The Inter players send Aoi vicious balls like usual, but he handles those with ease. Hernandez then explains to Matteo that it's the result of Aoi's personal training, in order to change the meaning of Giapponese from 'someone who is bad at soccer' to 'someone who is good at soccer'. As Matteo also loves soccer, he finally accepts Aoi, as well as the rest of Inter.
World Youth Tournament
After being qualified from the European preliminaries, Italy Youth is coached by pro players from AC Milan how to do their tactic, Zone Press, in order to win the World Youth. For Hernandez, he is also bent on avenging his earlier loss and winning against Tsubasa.
Italy ends up in the same group with Japan, Mexico and Uruguay. Their goal is to win the first two matches of the group stage before facing Japan in the last one. However, in the first match against Uruguay, Hernandez and Salvatore Gentile, the key players of the defensive-oriented team, are injured by Ryoma Hino's Tornado Shot, and Italy suffer a 2-3 loss. Without them, Italy is unable to qualify for the quarter-finals, only managing to tie against Mexico.
In the match against Japan, with their team having taken 3 goals and the Italian supporters booing them, Hernandez and Gentile insist on playing the last 15 minutes, wishing to show their fighting spirit to the last. The two give a strong performance, inspiring their team, and even almost managing to defend Italy's goal against Aoi's last attack despite their injuries; this way they regain the respect of the crowd. After that, Hernandez thanks Aoi for playing with all his strength.
Road to 2002 saga
Hernandez is only briefly mentioned in Road to 2002. He is now playing for the top team of Inter Milan in the Serie A.
Techniques and abilities
- Main article: Gino Hernandez/Techniques
- In the Italian dub his name is variously translated : he is named either "Dario Belli" or "Luis Hernandez" and also "Gino Buffetti", the latter of which is clearly an homage to the Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Gino could also refer to Gianluca Pagliuca, who played for Inter Milan, and was the starting goalkeeper for Italy before the emergence of Buffon.
- His given name, Gino, can also be romanized as Dino (as seen in the last pages of the chapter 37 of the manga, where there was written "D. HERNANDEZ"), which is clearly a reference to another Italian goalkeeper, Dino Zoff.
- Gino's name is exactly the same as American professional wrestler of Italian descend Gino Hernandez who was active during the 1970s and 1980s and whose name is written in Japanese exactly the same.
- Gino Hernandez at Italian Wikipedia (Italian)
- Gino Hernandez at Captain Tsubasa DB (Japanese)
- Gino Hernandez at Shinji's Captain Tsubasa fansite
- Gino Hernandez at Captain Tsubasa: Dream Team database
- Gino Hernandez at Anime Characters Database
- Gino Hernandez at Captain Tsubasa Stats
- Gino Hernandez at Wikidata