UEFA, you may be a bit late to the party. The European soccer governing body released a list of 50 players to watch in 2018 on Friday, an index of rising stars who could become household names in the coming calendar year. By naming Mexico’s Hirving Lozano one to watch, UEFA is basically admitting it didn’t pay attention to the last half of 2017, when Chucky tore up the Eredivisie with first-place PSV Eindhoven.
Since arriving in Europe in August, the former Pachuca attacker leads the Dutch league with 11 goals to go with four assists (11th most in the Eredivisie). Chucky is averaging nearly a goal or assist per match in his 16 league appearances, plus he’s scored two goals in two KNVB Cup matches.
After four productive years with Pachuca, where he scored 43 goals, Lozano burst onto the scene, scoring seven goals in his first seven matches and nine in his first eight. If UEFA didn’t think Lozano was already a household name, I’m not sure what their standards are.
UEFA’s list of ones to watch mostly consists of teenagers, including sons of famous fathers like Justin Kluivert and Federico Chiesa. Lozano is one of four players over the age of 21.
If Lozano keeps this form up — and since it’s the free-scoring Eredivisie there’s no reason to think he won’t — he’s likely to be a key piece for El Tri at the World Cup this summer in Russia.
Lozano wasn’t the only North American named to the list, though the other wasn’t Mexican or American. Jamaican Leon Bailey, a 20-year-old midfielder with Bayer Leverkusen, beat out U.S. youngsters like Weston McKennie and Haji Wright. Christian Pulisic isn’t on this list because it’s not about basketball (and he’s probably a bit too famous for these guys, aside from Lozano).