The birth of a new superstar: Hirving Lozano clears doubts at the World Cup
On Sunday, the footballing universe was treated to an excellent break-out performance from Mexico superstar, Hirving Lozano. The young man stunned Germany in their World Cup opener, scoring the only goal and guiding his side to an all-important three points.
The 22-year-old PSV Eindhoven winger has had an interesting journey to stardom. Born in Mexico City, he began his career with Pachuca; a neighbouring city to his place of birth. Lozano made his Liga MX debut in 2014.
Starting with a bang, the hot prospect scored his first goal for the club on debut. It was the beginning of greater things to come. In his second campaign with the Mexican side, he won the league title. Lozano also began to flourish on the international stage. The winger helped Mexico's under-20 team win the 2015 CONCACAF Championship scoring five goals in the process (the joint-most in the tournament). The only major blot on his CV at this point in time was Mexico's disappointing performance at the 2016 Olympics; they didn't make it out of the group stage.
But he overcame those struggles; by winning the CONCACAF Champions League in 2017, emerging as the Golden Boot winner, too. He scored eight goals throughout the competition, while also scooping the Young Player of the Tournament Award.
As has become quite the norm, European suitors circled and PSV Eindhoven won the race to sign the Mexican. Once again, he wasted no time in making his presence felt; scoring on his first Eredivisie appearance against AZ Alkmaar. Not often do you see young debutants garner a standing ovation in their first competitive outing with a new club. That's something Lozano will never forget.
He went on to score in the next two matches; becoming the first player to score in his first three league matches for the Dutch giants. He would go on to win the August Eredivisie Player of the Month award.
🇲🇽 Top scorer for Mexico during qualifying
🇳🇱 Top scorer for PSV in 2017-18 Eredivisie season
🇲🇽 First #WorldCup goal comes against the reigning champions
And he's only 22. 😳 https://t.co/8zwsuyoYfd
Lozano's contributions helped PSV win the Eredivisie title at season's end; his fourth major trophy for club and country in four years. With these achievements, the speedy winger was already catching the eye of several European heavyweights.
But, whatever lingering doubts that still existed in their minds may well have been put to rest on Sunday night. The young player capped off an extraordinary team performance with a superb goal that is worthy of winning any match; against current World Cup champions Germany, no less.
It was a goal usually associated with the game's elite. The strike provided the perfect evidence surrounding his maturity and intelligence. Lozano is ready for whatever big-money move may come his way. The scary thing is? He's only going to get better.
His Man of the Match winning performance simply cannot be understated. At times, he toyed with Joshua Kimmich; someone who's regarded as arguably the best right-back in world football.
His presence in the Mexican side also holds promise for El Tri. The team's overall display suggests Russia 2018 may be Mexico's time to shine. With Lozano at the heart, who knows what could happen? They've already put themselves in an excellent position to qualify from their group, but they'll be hoping to go one better than the last sixteen; that round has been their undoing at the last four World Cups...
At this stage, the only concern surrounding Lozano's game has to be the rate at which he's picking up needless bookings and sending-offs. Although he's yet to see red for the senior Mexico side, he was sent off for the U23s while at the Olympics a couple of years ago. He also picked up two red cards for PSV in the league last season. If he can learn to keep his temperament in check, we could be witnessing the birth of the next real superstar in football.