There was a sense of inevitability that Giovanni Reyna would become a global star.
The son of the former Manchester City and Rangers midfielder Claudio Reyna and the woman’s wife Danielle Egan from the United States, Gio, as he is lovingly known to his loved ones, was from the start ready to combine his father’s creativity with athletics from his mother. Football is indeed in his blood.
Named after his father’s former teammate at Rangers, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, the versatile Dutch ace who also played for Barcelona and Arsenal, the expectation was immediately high.
Gio Reyna (left) together with Erling Haaland (right) is the next big star in Borussia Dortmund
The American teenager, born in Sunderland, scored his first goal for Dortmund in the German Cup
But after scoring his first senior goal for Borussia Dortmund, even he would admit that he has surpassed what many might have suggested at such a young age.
Reyna would come off the bench in Dortmund’s 5-3 win over Augsburg and would have been the head of the day after being the youngest American to see in the history of Bundesliga. The only problem was a debut hat trick by Norwegian striker Erling Braut Haaland.
The honor previously belonged to Christian Pulisic, now from Chelsea, but after his debut goal in the 3-2 German Cup defeat to Werder Bremen he came close to breaking the internet, keeping a lid on excitement around him now bordering on impossible.
“You can see during the training that he has something special,” said Dortmund boss Lucien Favre. “If you can’t see that, you’re blind.”
That goal, as he danced through the defense of Bremen before curling a nice finish in the upper corner, showed flashes from Eden Hazard and the close control that the Belgian controls. Patrick Vieira, who spent time with Reyna in MLS outfit New York City, compares him more with world cup winner David Trezeguet.
Regardless of which star he is compared to, Reyna never flatters to cheat. The fact that four countries could eventually fight for him emphasizes the greatness that is expected from now on.
The 17-year-old is the son of former Manchester City midfielder Claudio Reyna (shown in 2003)
The Dortmund star is named after the former midfielder of Barcelona, Giovanni van Bronkhorst
Van Bronkhorst (second from the left) was a teammate with Reyna (left) while he was with Rangers
CLAUDIO REYNA CV
Clubs: Bayer Leverkusen (1994-99), Wolfsburg (LOAN – 1997-99), Rangers (1999-2001), Sunderland (2001-03), Manchester City (2003-07), New York Red Bulls (2007-08)
Club goals: 27
International caps: 112
Honors: Scottish Premier League title (1999-2000) Scottish cup: 1999-2000
Reyna was born in Sunderland in 2002 with his father in red and white in the Premier League.
French fries were his favorite food and Spongebob Squarepants would be his favorite TV show.
Early reports about him described how he initially had a Mancunian accent, but it soon evaporated when he moved to the United States to the academy system at NYCFC.
But born in northeastern England, he is eligible for Gareth Southgate and any future manager of England. His current rise with Dortmund has probably not escaped their attention.
There is also interest from Portugal and Argentina. His grandmother Maria is Portuguese and was the reason he was eligible for a European passport. That was the key to having him sign for Dortmund at the age of 16, instead of having to wait until he was 18, which would have been necessary with an American passport.
His grandfather, Miguel, played professionally in Argentina and, with an eye to life outside of Lionel Messi, is the country’s football association to follow closely Reyna’s progress in judging whether it is time to get him out of the American youth line-up.
Getting a European passport through his Portuguese grandmother helped Dortmund get moving
His father Claudio (photo, center, in 1994) was a creative force that continued in Gio
Claudio won more than 100 caps for the United States and his son is seen as the next star
KIDS KILLING UP DORTMUND IN BORUSSIA
Jadon Sancho – 19 years old
Erling Haaland – 19 years old
Giovanni Reyna – 17 years
Youssoufa Moukoko – 15 years old
There was also a fight between adidas and Nike to assure him of a lucrative sponsorship deal at the age of 14 and while his friends made their way through the trials and tribulations of high school, Reyna focused on becoming a global star.
“It’s crazy sometimes, thinking of all my friends in high school at home, and I’m now playing professional football in the Bundesliga in Germany,” Reyna said in conversation with the Dortmund daily newspaper.
‘It’s crazy, but I enjoy it every minute. I enjoy it and learn a lot, so I am really happy now. “
But his incredible turnout has been accompanied by permanent grief that he had lost his older brother Jack to cancer when he was only nine. Jack was 13 and was incredibly close to his football-loving brother.
“He idolized and worshiped Jack,” Claudio Reyna included in a Sports Illustrated interview. “The one who made him what he is today, his talent, was really Jack.”
Similarities with his father’s career are inevitable, especially after he exchanged the US for Germany so early in his career.
His close control and low center of gravity fits Dortmund and he is ready for the first team
His father spent time in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg (shown in 1998)
The teenager posted an emotional throwback photo after losing his brother Jack to cancer
Claudio had spells in both Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg at the start of his career before eventually moving to Rangers, then to Sunderland and Man City.
And while “Gio” originally arrived as the diamond in the Under-19 side, his climb to Dortmund’s first team was fast. He has always been a player to compete beyond his age.
In April 2017, a 14-year-old Reyna competed with NYCFC during the prestigious Generation Adidas Cup. It is a tournament designed for U17 games of MLS teams. Because he was three years younger than many teammates and opponents, he would have been forgiven if the tournament had passed him by.
But Reyna never withers in the spotlight and not only did he play a key role in winning the NYCFC tournament, he ended up as an MVP.
Kobe Bryant, who died tragically last month in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, is Reyna’s sporting inspiration.
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant (left) has been cited as Reyna’s greatest source of inspiration
Reyna has drawn comparisons with American compatriot Christian Pulisic when he came up in Dortmund
His early sparkles in Dortmund are a sign of the ‘Mamba Mentality’ that the Los Angeles Laker has become famous for.
Reyna’s goal against Bremen was sublime, but he will only see teammate Jadon Sancho as an example of the road ahead.
In Dortmund, Reyna has all the tools available to become the newest star in their famous production line.