A defense with a French accent, Eduardo Camavinga and eleven clubs represented, find the eleven players ready to explode in the Champions League this season.
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea) : 28 years old and the status of the oldest player on our team. Passed by Marseille (8 matches in 2015-2016), it was during his three seasons in Reims that the Senegalese international goalkeeper revealed himself. A year of confirmation in Rennes before the big leap for Chelsea and the illustration of an express trajectory to the highest level. Edouard Mendy is preparing to discover the Champions League, not with Rennes but with the Blues. His successful debut and the recurring setbacks of his competitor Kepa already make him essential in the London cage.
Jules Koundé (Sevilla FC) : Great architect of the coronation of Sevilla FC in the Europa League (3-2 against Inter in the final), the former Bordeaux player has taken on a whole new dimension. Among the sure values in defense on the other side of the Pyrenees, Jules Koundé displays a solidity and a rare head game for his physique (1.84 m). At 21, the Parisian by birth will participate in his first Champions League campaign. Before perhaps knowing a first selection in the France team?
Presnel Kimpembe (PSG) : At 25, the Parisian titi is now installed in central defense and enjoys the status of vice-captain of the club. His hardness in duels and his serenity prove that he is (already) reaching maturity. His concentration too. Nothing and nobody frightens the world champion, who is no longer a discovery but can still take a step forward. He’s off to a good start. This Champions League season can be the season of consecration. In Paris, but also in Blue, where a starting place at the Euro is reaching out to him.
Boubacar Kamara (OM) : Among the biggest market values of the Marseille workforce, Boubacar Kamara had expressed the wish to discover the most prestigious of competitions with his training club. A wish granted for the native of Marseille. Firmly installed in the eleven of Andre Villas-Boas, Kamara brilliantly alternates between the axis of the defense (his training position) and a defensive midfielder position. At ease in duels, he shows a rare personality for his age. His professional debut at the age of 17 is no stranger to it. This may already be his last season on the banks of the Canebière.
Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) : His second place in the ranking of the best UEFA defender of the year suggests that Alphonso Davies has already exploded in the eyes of the world. However, the Canadian was only participating in his first European campaign! Repositioned left side once arrived in Bavaria, Davies was one of the great architects of the return of Bayern to the fore. His supersonic speed still gives Barça nightmares. At only 20 years old (he will have them on November 2), it is already the year of confirmation for the worthy successor of David Alaba.
Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) : Now essential link of Zinédine Zidane’s 4-3-3, the Uruguayan international had his first full season at the highest level in 2019-20. His personality and his sense of the game within a world-class environment which is nevertheless not eternal (Modric, Kroos, Isco) testifies that the succession is well assured. Alongside the Brazilians Vinicius and Rodrygo in front, Federico Valverde (22) represents the future of the most successful club in the Champions League.
Phil Foden (Manchester City) : A pure product of the City training center, the neo-English international is now much more than the training deposit of a club which has spent a long time without counting without winning the stake in Europe. The one who made his debut in this same competition in November 2017 has long grabbed playing time here and there before becoming a first-choice element last year in the XXL squad of the “SkyBlues”. An attacking midfielder by training, the left-hander has a speed of execution and versatility appreciated by Pep Guardiola. Within a rejuvenated team, Phil Foden (20) is the standard-bearer of a cityzen youth who dreams of triumph.
Eduardo Camavinga (Stade Rennais) : The itinerary of a gifted person passes one time or another through the discovery of the Champions League. For some, it is very early. At 17, the Rennes nugget will discover the gratin of European football, a few weeks after having started without complex with the France team (a goal against Ukraine). From the height of a rare experience for his age (50 matches with Rennes), Eduardo Camavinga exudes a serenity and ease in the middle which allow him to aspire to a future at the highest European level. It seems ready to hatch during this first European campaign which sounds like the perfect opportunity to get out of the anonymity of Ligue 1 weekends.
Ansu Fati (FC Barcelona) : His trophy for best player of the month for September in La Liga is a distinction that calls for others. After discovering and scoring his first goal in the Champions League last year (2-1 on Inter’s lawn), Ansu Fati is experiencing a trajectory similar to that of the previous player cited (he discovered the Spanish selection two days before Camavinga’s debut with France), if we hide the fact that he shines in a club of a completely different stature. Unpredictable, explosive and full of composure, the one who turns 18 on October 31 has not finished turning heads on his left side.
Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) : If his name is familiar to all the regular followers of the various mercatos, and of Serie A, Lautaro Martinez is less famous for his feats of arms in the Champions League. Author, however, of five goals in six games last year (including one on Barça’s lawn), the 23-year-old Argentinian international center-forward is one of those players who can help their team move forward, starting with take out chickens. The double confrontation against Real Madrid will be a great opportunity to shine for a player who is being announced with insistence at both Real and Barça.
Federico Chiesa (Juventus Turin) : Acted on the last day of the transfer window, his transfer to Juventus Turin will allow him to broaden the gaze here confined to Serie A. Pure product of the Florentine training center, Federico Chiesa made his debut with Fiorentina in 2016 before becoming a key player in Tuscany (153 matches). The right winger who is particularly fond of getting on his left foot will give variety to a Juventus lacking in creativity. In competition with the Swede Dejan Kulusevski (20), another nugget with a similar profile, the Italian international will move on to revealing the highest level. Whoever turns 23 on October 25 asks just that.
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