Hirving Lozano was destined for a move to Europe from the moment he began starting for Pachuca as a teenager. Even under the weight of those expectations, though, Lozano has blown everyone away with his start to life on the old continent.
His double in last weekend's 4-2 PSV victory over Vitesse made him the first player ever to score in seven of his first eight matches in the Dutch league. He'll look to extend his Golden Boot lead Sunday when PSV hosts Twente.
For club and country, across all competitions, Lozano has scored in each of the last six matches he's played with eight goals in that time period. A knock suffered with the national team in a 3-1 win over Trinidad and Tobago kept him out of both El Tri's visit to Honduras and PSV's contest with VVV-Venlo but hasn't slowed him.
The fast start for Lozano may not only be the best opening by an Eredivisie player, it may be the brightest start from any Mexican after moving abroad.
In the modern game, any Mexican ever matching Hugo Sanchez's 1989-90 season might be a pipe dream. "Hugol" scored 38 La Liga goals for Real Madrid during that campaign on his way to collecting the European Golden Shoe. Notching 38 goals last season would've won you the same award before the rule change to weigh goals scored in more difficult leagues went into place in the mid 90s. Even if the best season ever for a Mexican abroad may be out of reach, Lozano is well on his way to a historic debut campaign.
Sanchez himself scored just eight league goals and added two during his first year with Atletico Madrid. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored 13 for Manchester United in 2010-11, though he also added four in the Champions League and one each in the FA and league cups. His first league goal didn't come until October, though, and he went into the new year having scored four times. Jesus "Tecatito" Corona was less established than Lozano when he moved to the Eredivisie but "El Chucky" already has gotten the better of his fellow winger in the Dutch league. Corona found the back of the net twice in a season that saw him bounce between the top club and Twente's second team. Even when he found regular minutes in 2014-15, Corona scored nine goals in 2,309 minutes.
What's the difference? For one, Lozano is surrounded by a very good team.
After crashing out of the Europa League early in the summer, PSV has lost just once. The player closest to Lozano in the top scorer race is teammate Jurgen Locadia. The club brought in Lozano this summer with the intention of making him a regular starter, and he's taken that role on with gusto. He has fit in well with coach Phillip Cocu's system which encourages players to find their teammates with through balls and for those players, once played in, to put shots in on the goalkeeper even from range.
During his most recent campaign with Pachuca, "El Chucky" found himself without a playmaker after Rodolfo Pizarro left for Chivas and was left in an position where he had to attempt to create chances for the offense from his left wing position and find a way to finish. With Locadia alongside him and Marco van Ginkel and Gaston Pereiro working to create in the midfield, El Chucky has been able to use his speed far more effectively than when the ball was at his feet the majority of the time with Tuzos. Lozano is taking shots with his first touch and finishing off scoring moves when he does.
Continuing this pace of more than a goal a game is implausible, but Lozano becoming an even bigger star is likely. Lozano never has been overly interested in anything but football and his family - sometimes to the detriment of his star power. When asked in an interview last month what the key to his success has been he said simply: "Family." Though just 22, Lozano has been married several years and has two children. He genuinely seems far more focused on them than finding out what Eindhoven's nightlife has to offer. That would be true as well were he to move to one of Europe's biggest cities, like London where he's been linked with Arsenal. For now, he looks content to tear up the Eredivisie and get set for the summer's World Cup where he hopes to build upon a sterling showing at the Confederations Cup in 2017.