Gio Reyna Becomes Youngest American to Play in the Champions League

Gio Reyna’s name has been etched in the soccer history books…

The 17-year-old part-Argentine American soccer player made his Champions League debut on Tuesday for Borussia Dortmund against Paris Saint-Germain, becoming the youngest American to play in Champions League at 17 years and 97 days.

Gio Reyna

Reyna was promoted to the Dortmund senior squad in January after only having joined the club’s academy in the summer of 2019 and has since gained game time in every match. 

A member of the U.S. squad at last year’s Under-17 World Cup, Reyna made his senior team debut for Dortmund on January 18 in a Bundesliga match at Augsburg.

Reyna had already scored in Dortmund’s German Cupdefeat at Werder Bremenearlier this month, but was instrumental for his side on Tuesday as he set up Erling Haaland’s second goal in a 2-1 first-leg win over PSG.

At 17 years, 3 months. 5 days, Reyna bettered the mark for youngest American set by Gedion Zelalemwhen he played for Arsenalat 17 years, 317 days old. Chelsea star Christian Pulisicwas four days shy of his 18th birthday when he made his Champions League debut while with Dortmund in a group phase opener at Legia Warsawin 2016. Pulisic started and assisted on Dortmund’s fifth goal in a 6-0 win.

His father, USMNTgreat Claudio Reyna, appeared in eight Champions League group phase matches for Glasgow Rangersin 1999 and 2000 and also scored a key goal in a Champions League qualifier in 1999 against UEFA Cupchampion Parma. Claudio scored eight goals in 112 appearances for the U.S. from 1994 to 2006, appearing in three World Cups. Gio Reyna’s mother, Danielle Egan Reyna, scored one goal in six appearances for the U.S. women’s side in 2003.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday’s match, Gio Reyna said he was proud the team got such an important victory and of his assist to Haaland for the winner, only two minutes after Neymar levelled the score.

“A lot of emotions are going through my head right now,” he said. “To get my Champions League debut against Paris was a dream come true for me. To get an assist was even better.

“We knew Paris are such a good team. And the result is the most important thing. The way we fought as a team was so impressive,” he said. “Our work ethic and our will to win games really showed tonight.”

“It’s a super pass from Reyna,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favresaid of the ball that set up Haaland’s goal. “He plays it in brilliantly. He orients the ball very, very quickly.

Veron Comes Out of Retirement & Officially Re-Signs with Estudiantes

Juan Sebastian Veron is ready to prove age is nothing but a number…

The 41-year-old Argentine retired footballer is back in the game after officially re-signing for Estudiantes de la Plata, two years after hanging up his boots.

Juan Sebastian Veron

The former Manchester United and Argentina midfielder quit playing in 2014 to become chairman of his boyhood club, having won 73 caps for his country, while he also played Chelsea, Inter Milan and Lazio.

Veron had promised to play in the 2017 Copa Libertadores if supporters bought 65 percent of the tickets for the club’s new stadium and has now made good on that pledge.

He has signed an 18-month contract, meaning he will be 43 years old when the deal expires. He will be paid a minimal salary, all of which will be “donated for the development of the club.”

His first game back in Estudiantes colors is set to be against Bayer Leverkusen in the Florida Cup on January 8 after he spent the last few months working on his fitness.

“He told us he wants to return, that from January he will return as a player,” midfielder Israel Damonte told La Oral Deportiva last month. “He will play from January for the tournament [league] and Copa [Libertadores in 2017].”

Veron won Apertura titles with Estudiantes in 2006 and 2010, and the Copa Libertadores in 2009 — his second spell with the club.

In European football, he won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia with Parma in 1998-99, before going on to lift the Serie A and Coppa Italia double with Lazio in 1999-2000, as well as the UEFA Super Cup in 2009. He then won the Premier League with Manchester United in 2002-03 and another Italian double with Inter in 2005-06. He also won the Coppa Italia with Inter in 2004-05.