With the 2022 FIFA World Cup bringing players and national teams into the global spotlight, it’s a time for some stars to shine, and become a worldwide talking point.
Mexico will be looking to get over the proverbial hump, having reached but not advanced past the Round of 16 in each of the last seven consecutive World Cups.
In the quest for that goal of reaching new heights, El Tri are looking for someone to take control of their national team’s destiny, and one man who will be critical to that pursuit is Hirving Lozano, the man fans endearingly call “Chucky.”
As the 2022 FIFA World Cup arrives, The Sporting News brings you everything on the Mexico forward who holds the national team’s fortunes in its hands.
MORE: Breaking down the full 26-man squad for Mexico at the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Who is Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano?
Hirving “Chucky” Lozano was born in Mexico City and joined the youth academy of local Liga MX club Pachuca at 11 years old. He made his professional debut in 2014 at just 18 years old and starred for his local club for three seasons, scoring 31 goals in 120 appearances. He won the CONCACAF Champions League in 2017, winning the tournament’s Golden Boot award along the way.
In the summer of 2017, Lozano was linked with a host of European clubs, but moved to Dutch side PSV on a six-year deal. He would win the Dutch league title in his first season with PSV, beating Ajax in mid-April to secure the crown.
After two years in the Netherlands, Lozano secured a transfer to Italian side Napoli in the summer of 2019, signing a five-year contract. He was brought in by famous manager Carlo Ancelotti, but the Italian boss was let go soon into Lozano’s first Serie A season. Lozano struggled for playing time under new boss Gennaro Gattuso, but eventually worked his way into the side.
Since joining Napoli, Lozano has established himself as a first-team regular, especially in the first half of this 2022/23 season where he has played in all but two games. Napoli are the hottest team in Europe, having charged to the top of Serie A and dominated their Champions League group. Lozano has played a big role, with four goals and two assists thus far.
Lozano made history against Hellas Verona in January, 2021 when he scored the fastest-ever goal in club history. He scored just nine seconds into the match, which is the quickest goal in Napoli history and third-fastest goal in Serie A history, behind only Rafael Leao’s strike for AC Milan against Sassuolo in 2020 (6.8 seconds) and Paolo Poggi’s goal against Fiorentina in 2001 (8.9 seconds).
Why is Hirving Lozano nicknamed Chucky?
Lozano gets his endearing nickname “Chucky” from his youth team days at Pachuca.
The Mexican forward told La Neta Noticias in 2018 that his nickname is a reference to the horror movie series “Chucky” which features a serial killer who uses voodoo to control a doll named Chucky.
Lozano, consequently, earned the nickname by being a bratty kid who would hide under his teammates’ beds and scare them.
“When I arrived in Pachuca there was a time of about two months I was living with my companions and all that,” Lozano told La Neta Noticias, “and I was always naughty because I hid under the beds and began to scare my companions.
“At that time there were two companions who said to me, ‘Would you like us to call you Chucky?’ And I said yes, there’s no problem, it does not bother me, and well, that’s where the Chucky nickname came from.
“From then all the way to now, they have called me that.”
It stuck, and Mexican fans have embraced the nickname, including it in their chant for the player.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 23, 2018
Now, Lozano has gone from scaring his childhood teammates to scaring opposing defenses. He has 16 goals and 11 assists in 59 national team appearances for Mexico, and his performance at the World Cup will be critical towards pushing Mexico into the knockout stage and past the historical barrier in the Round of 16.
Hirving Lozano contract, transfer history
“Chucky” Lozano joined Napoli on August 23, 2019 and signed a five-year deal, which expires in the summer of 2024.
The Italian side will want to sort that contract situation out soon. Lozano could end up leaving the club for free if he does not sign a new deal before this coming summer, which would see him enter the final year of his contract.
According to SalarySport, Lozano is the third-highest-paid player in the Napoli squad, with an annual salary of nearly $7 million (€6.76 million). However, many other reports show Lozano with a salary of around $5.7 million (€5.5 million), so the higher figure is likely the before-tax number.
The highest-paid Napoli player is Tanguay Ndombele, which is somewhat unfair as he is on loan from Tottenham and therefore on Tottenham wages. Players below Lozano in the Napoli payroll, like Victor Osimhen, Giovanni Simeone, Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa, and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia could be due for a sizable wage increase and could challenge Lozano for his spot in the order.
Other Mexico national team nicknames and what they mean
There are many players on the Mexican national team with interesting nicknames, although few have become synonymous with their everyday lives as “Chucky.”
Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa is often known as “Memo” which is simply a shortened version of his name. Unrelated to the player himself, that word can sometimes be used as an insult in Spanish, so there’s been an attempt to change his nickname to something else, but those attempts have been largely unsuccessful as the earlier version has stuck.
National team captain Rafa Marquez was sometimes known as “El Kaiser” due to the aggressive and dominant way he played in midfield.
Playmaker Jesus Corona, who is sadly injured for the 2022 World Cup and will not take part, is nicknamed “Tecatito.” That is a direct reference to the Mexican beer Tecate. The nickname comes from early in his career while playing for Liga MX club Monterrey. The club was sponsored by Tecate’s parent company, which was unhappy with its competitor’s name, Corona, being displayed on the player’s shirt, even if it was his own last name. Instead, he wore “Jesus C.” on his jersey, and ended up with “Tecatito” as his nickname as a joke referencing the ridiculous situation.
Finally, and most famously, there’s Javier Hernandez. He won’t be playing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup after he was left out of the squad, but nonetheless the star striker is famous for earning his nickname “Chicharito” which translates in English to “little pea.” Chicharito earned his nickname from his family lineage. His father, Javier Hernandez Gutierrez, was himself nicknamed “Chicharo” which means “pea” due to the green color of his eyes.