Discovery of the young Catalan player recruited by Olympique de Marseille to strengthen the right side of his defense.
It’s now official, Pol Lirola is an OM player. The first Olympian recruit in January reinforces a failing sector in the workforce of André Villas-Boas: the sides of the defense. The departure of Bouna Sarr having never been compensated, the right side of the Marseille defense has since been entrusted to Hiroki Sakai. But now, the Japanese begins to stick his tongue out when the symbolic level of mid-season has just been crossed. It must be said that the former Hanover player is the most used field player by André Villas-Boas with 1922 minutes in all competitions. But AVB has its backing in the person of Pol Lirola. Despite his young age (23), the Spanish player has a solid background. Return on the course of the new player of OM, arrived in the form of loan with option to purchase (11.5 M €).
He’s a training winger
Observers of Italian football are unanimous, Pol Lirola is a side with a modern profile. A side defender capable of bringing much more offensive than defensive. And for good reason, Lirola is a training right winger, with a good center quality. A profile that will delight Marseille supporters, orphans, since the departure of Bouna Sarr, full-backs capable of bringing danger in front of goal. “As and when the coaches made me back down and I became a side”, recently recalled the person concerned.
If many of today’s full-backs are repositioned wingers, the conversion is sometimes done to the detriment of the defensive contribution. This is also the case for Pol Lirola. The Spaniard, as good a striker as he is, tends to leave space in his lane for his opponents. This is surely his greatest room for improvement.
He joined Juventus at 17
Pure product of the training of Espanyol Barcelona, Pol Lirola has never donned the jersey of the club’s first team. At 17, it was Juventus Turin who showed interest in this promising young player and who managed to enlist him against € 500,000. But now, arrived in Piedmont, Pol Lirola does not manage to confirm the expectations placed on him and he will never set foot in Serie A with the Juve jersey on his back.
He then joined Sassuolo in the form of a loan in the summer of 2016. Neroverdi leaders decided to buy the player at the end of the two seasons for the sum of 7 million euros. A wise choice for the Spaniard so as not to slow down his progress and accumulate playing time at the highest level. A year later, he joined Fiorentina where he managed to win before losing his place under Cesare Prandelli. At just 23 years old, Pol Lirola has a solid experience in Serie A with 128 appearances in the Italian top flight for two goals and 14 assists.
Pablo Longoria knows him very well
The current Head of Football of Olympique de Marseille brings back an element that he knows rather well on the Canebière in the person of Pol Lirola. Recruitment director of Juventus between 2015 and 2018, the Spaniard was able to attend the remarkable performances of the young Catalan with the U19 of the Old Lady.
In his first season, young Lirola played 17 games in the youth championship for two goals and four assists. A good first season in Italy which even led to the title for the young Bianconeri. Pablo Longoria remembered this when looking for a future right-back for OM.
Sassuolo’s first scorer in the European Cup
Newly landed in Sassuolo, Lirola will experience a rather special baptism for his first high-level match. A tenure in the very hot stadium of the Red Star in Belgrade during a preliminary round of the Europa League. But now, Lirola holds his side and Sassuolo is qualified for the first time in his history in the European Cup.
It is during this edition of the Europa League that the former Juve will shine. And how. In the victory (3-0) against Athletic Bilbao, the Spaniard scored a goal that Neroverdi fans will not soon forget. And for good reason, this is the first goal in the history of the club in European competition. Lirola has entered the history of Sassuolo forever.
Already a record in the national team
Accustomed to youth selections, Pol Lirola can boast of having already scored a line on his record with La Roja. On June 30, 2019, the Spanish hopes won in the final of the Euro against a Germany which has in its ranks some names emerging at the high level (Florian Neuhaus, Nadim Amiri …). Although he did not enter the field during this course, Pol Lirola was indeed part of Luis De la Fuente’s group. A coronation in a team made up of a few names who are making the best days of the biggest European clubs: Fabian Ruiz, Dani Ceballos, Dani Olmo… Originally from the suburbs of Barcelona, this pure Catalan also has a selection in the Catalonia team. It was during a friendly match, in a team composed in particular of Xavi and Sergi Roberto (defeat at the TAB against Tunisia).