In Mexico’s World Cup opener against Germany, a potential footballing gem was unearthed. The young man may be a diamond in the rough, but for Hirving Lozano, the world’s his oyster.
Now at PSV Eindhoven, aged 22, Lozano began his footballing career back in his homeland with Pachuca. He joined their academy in 2009, before making his first-team breakthrough five years later. After three stunning seasons in the Liga MX, winning the CONCACAF Champions League and one top-flight title, scoring 43 goals in the process, his European football dream became reality.
The man they call ‘Chucky’
Moving to the Netherlands was seamless for the man they call ‘Chucky’ (yes, he’s named after the rather freaky doll). On his Eredivisie debut, Lozano scored against AZ Alkmaar; helping his side win the game 3-2. It’s not often you see any footballer earn himself a standing ovation during his first outing with a new club, but that’s exactly what happened to Mexico’s latest export when he was subbed off. Talk about making an immediate impression.
Throughout the campaign, Chuky went on to score 19 goals in 34 games, while PSV would power their way to the Eredivisie title. Lozano’s legacy as a natural born-winner is already being cemented.
And, It’s not just domestically. Back in 2015, Lozano was pivotal to Mexico U20s winning the CONCACAF Championship title. Throughout the tournament he was a real menace, scoring five goals; the joint-most in the competition.
After making his full Mexico debut in 2016, the winger hasn’t looked back. He’s gone on to represent his country 30 times, scoring eight goals in the process; none more crucial than his latest against Die Mannschaft.
Who knows just how far the South Americans can go at Russia 2018? Lozano has become a mainstay within Mexico’s starting XI, and alongside Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela in a front-three, they’ll pose problems for any elite-tier national side.
His next career-path
Let’s turn our attention back to European football. Unfortunately for PSV, I’m unsure as to how long they’ll be able to keep ahold of Lozano. The exceptional talent he possesses has already led to major interest world-class clubs; including back-to-back-to-back Champions League winners, Real Madrid.
From here, the only way for Chucky is up, but he must choose his next career-path as wisely as his last.
Personally, I’d love to see Lozano stick with PSV for at least one more season. After all, they deserve something for helping create the absolutely brilliant footballer that the 22-year-old has become. Plus, moving away from the Eredivisie at such a tender age has its difficulties. Just ask Memphis Depay…
However, if his heart is set on switching Holland for pastures new, he’d do well to resist a European giant. If he were to move to Madrid, Lozano would find a huge reduction in minutes would await him. That’s good for nobody.
The smart transfer would be to climb up to the next rung, rather than rushing directly to the top of the ladder. Chucky has to be playing week-in-week-out to continue his rapid development. It may be somewhat unrealistic, but I’d love to see him spend a couple of years at an Everton, an AC Milan, or a Sevilla. That’d provide Chucky with the perfect platform on his path to stardom.
Wherever he ends up, it’s guaranteed that the eventual-buyer are getting a potential future Ballon d’Or winning talent. Perhaps Lozano could well be the player to break the Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo vice-grip on the biggest individual prize within the sport, rather than the likes of Gareth Bale and Neymar; whom probably should have taken up the mantle by now.
One thing is for certain, this kid is special. When the lights are at their brightest, you can guarantee Lozano will stand up and be counted. That ability simply cannot be taught. His talent, on-field presence and skill is something that is worth the entrance fee to any football match alone, and we should all enjoy watching Chucky develop and grow into an elite-level footballer.