Rayan Cherki has earned links to Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool. Here’s the lowdown on the teenage Lyon midfielder.
‘Next Generation’ is a series focusing on the young players tipped to establish themselves as the elite in the 2020s.
Rayan Cherki is Lyon’s latest academy prodigy and has set his sights firmly on the top, openly admitting last week that he aspires to one day play for Real Madrid.
He is the 16-year-old who has already made 12 senior appearances for Lyon and been tipped to emulate Kylian Mbappe as the next big thing to come out of Ligue 1.
Madrid are not alone in showing an interest in the teenage midfielder, though, with Manchester United and Liverpool also among those to have been linked.
Able to play on either flank or through the middle and capable of embarrassing defenders with his trickery, Cherki is very much a player with the world at his feet.
— Rayan Cherki (@rayan_cherki) March 9, 2020
After scoring in the UEFA Youth League at the age of 15, becoming the youngest player to do so at the time, Cherki was already a name on Lyon fans’ lips when making his senior bow.
That came in a stalemate with Dijon in October, making him the youngest player – at 16 years and 63 days – to appear for Lyon in Ligue 1 since Willem Geubbels in 2017.
By comparison, World Cup-winning striker Mbappe was still more than nine months away from his Monaco debut at the same age.
And while the game finished in a bore draw, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas heaped praise on the youngster and later said he has the potential to become better than Mbappe.
“He is more technical than Mbappe… and more important – he has broken out at a younger age,” Aulas told Tuttosport in February. “If he stays at Lyon for another few years, he will become even better than Mbappe.”
Aulas was not alone in hailing Cherki, with boss Rudi Garcia singling him out for his energy in the middle of the park – something that would start to become a more regular occurrence.
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) January 18, 2020
Praise and potential is one thing, of course – showing that you are capable of living up to the hype is another matter entirely.
In the five months between making his senior debut and the enforced Ligue 1 break due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cherki regularly justified the talk of being the next big thing.
He has gone on to make 12 appearances for Lyon in all competitions – four of those as a starter – totalling 453 minutes in total.
Impressively, the France Under-16 international already boasts three goals and two assists, giving him a return of one goal involvement per 91 minutes on the field. He is also creating a scoring opportunity every 41 minutes.
Four of those goals involvements – two strikes of his own and two assists – came in January’s Coupe de France win over Nantes, earning front-page billing on French daily L’Equipe.
If Europe’s elite clubs had not taken notice of Cherki before then, they certainly did at this point.
— OL English (@OL_English) January 18, 2020
SUSTAINING HIS FORM
Lyon have a history of bringing through talented youngsters, with the likes of Nabil Fekir, Karim Benzema, Corentin Tolisso and Samuel Umtiti among them.
The first player born in 2003 or later to play in Ligue 1, Cherki now needs to maintain the form he has displayed in his first half-season in order to emulate those aforementioned stars.
And the attacking midfielder, whose solitary league start came away at Paris Saint-Germain, certainly does not lack confidence when it comes to his career path.
“My dream is to play for Real Madrid,” he said in an interview with Lyon TV last week, perhaps swayed by the progress of compatriots Benzema and Raphael Varane at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Cherki, also eligible to represent Italy or Algeria at international level through his parents, also outlined his intention to one day win the Ballon d’Or.
The versatile attacker still has a long way to go for that to happen, of course, and there are improvements to be made. One of the criticisms has been his insistence on going it alone too often, rather than taking an easier option.
“He has a strong ability to beat players but uses it too much and not especially wisely,” Garcia said at the turn of the year, perhaps trying to downplay the growing hype. “We have to be careful with our young players, that’s why we protect him a lot, especially in the media aspect of things. He is fairly quiet, but he must be aware that he still has huge room for improvement. The good thing about him is that he listens. If he continues like this, he will be able to go as high as possible.”
Heed the advice of his manager and the path to superstardom awaits for Cherki, whether at Lyon, Real Madrid or elsewhere.
Lyon’s youngster of many talents appears very much to be the next big thing to emerge from an academy that just keeps on giving.
Vincent Pajot stays at FC Metz
Vincent Pajot played with the Greens between 2015 and 2018. (Vincent Van Doornick / Isosport / Presse Sports)
FC Metz formalized the final transfer of Vincent Pajot, Wednesday afternoon.
Loaned by Angers with option to purchase on December 31, 2019, midfielder Vincent Pajot (29) will remain in Lorraine. FC Metz formalized this Wednesday afternoon i its final transfer. Author of three assists in eight matches in the jersey with the Lorraine cross, the midfielder is now linked with the garnet club until June 30, 2022.
Thierry Henry and the death of George Floyd: “Enough is enough”
Thierry Henry joins his voice to the protests of the sports world after the death of George Floyd, a dead black man smothered by a white policeman on May 25 in Minneapolis. The former 42-year-old French international, currently coaching the Montreal Impact in MLS, posted a message on Twitter on Wednesday.
“We urgently need change, we demand change and, most importantly, we deserve change” , writes (in English) the former Gunner. “Make it happen now”, urges the player born to a Guadeloupean father and a Martinican mother. ” Enough is enough. “
” This goes on for too long and this has gone too far “
” Why the same racists who applaud any ethnic minority who play for the team they support insult the same minorities once they are in the street? “, questions the top scorer of the France team (51 goals in 123 matches between 1997 to 2010). Another question asked by Thierry Henry: “Why don’t all the methods we use to eradicate (racism) from our society work?” It has been going on for too long and it goes too far for it to be tolerated in today’s society “, he concluded.
France: Discover The 11 Nominees Of The Prestigious Marc Vivien Foe Award
Radio France Internationale (RFI) has announced the list of nominees for the yearly Marc-Vivien Foé Award. The winner, recognized as the best African footballer in the French Ligue 1 championship over a 12-month period will be known on June 29th 2020.
Hailing from 6 different countries, with a domination from Senegalese and Nigerian players, this year’s nominees highlight the breadth and wealth of African talent playing in the French Ligue 1 championship. These players will be vying to succeed Ivorian forward Nicolas Pepe, winner of the 2019 award. A shortlist of just three nominees will be unveiled in early June, with the laureate to be announced later in the month.
The award is named after late Marc-Vivien Foé, former Cameroonian defensive midfielder footballer who suddenly passed away during a FIFA confederation cup match against Columbia on 26 June 2003 in France.
These are the nominees:
Yunis ABDELHAMID (Morocco / Stade de Reims) – Defender
The “Lion of the Atlas” is one of the great craftsmen of 6th placed Reims in the French ligue 1 championship. Yunis is the Moroccan figure in the All best season’s XI established by the renowned French magazine France Football and was rated as best defender by the newspaper L’Équipe. The 32-year-old player could finally discover the European Competition as his club is on the brink of participating in the Europa League.
Denis BOUANGA (Gabon / AS Saint-Etienne) – Forward
Arriving from Nîmes last summer, the 25-year-old Gabonese had a little trouble adjusting in his club during the first weeks of the championship. He was quick to catch up and resum with last season’s rhythm and performance that saw him rose from Nîmes to Saint Etienne. The versatile striker finished the season with 10 goals and 3 assists to his name in 26 Ligue 1 games. With “Les verts”, he has progressed to the lamp light, arousing the lusts from some big clubs.
Andy DELORT (Algeria / Montpellier HSC) – Forward
The African champion continued this season with an uprise momentum, after a radiant summer with the Algerian national side. Though he scored 9 goals in 26 games this season against 14 in 36 games during the 2018-2019 season, the 28-year-old striker seems perfectly fulfilled in his native region.
Habib DIALLO (Senegal / FC Metz) – Forward
The former resident of Génération Foot Fc (Senegal) perpetuates the tradition of talented Senegalese players who is walking in the footpaths of his predecessors through Metz FC (That has nursed Jules Bocandé, Ismaïla Sarr, Papiss Cissé and Sadio Mané over the years). After helping Metz move up to Ligue 1 in 2019, the 24-year-old center-forward helped the club be maintained in the french top flight with 12 goals in 26 games.
Idrissa GUEYE (Senegal / Paris SG) – Midfielder
Rarely has a defensive player been expected to produce as much as Gueye in a major club. Even if he is not a pure defensive midfielder, the Senegalese aged 30, recruited last summer by Everton (England), filled a glaring shortage in this position, with much consistency, rigour and ardour. this, to the point of quickly attracting the sympathy of PSG fans.
Edouard MENDY (Senegal / Stade rennais) – Goalkeeper
The “Lions of Teranga” are assured with the save hands of Mendy and Alfred Gomis, two excellent goalkeepers of Ligue 1. Gomis could also have been on this list if not of an injury contracted in early February. The goalkeeper of Stade Rennes, in any case, has confirmed with Rennes his fine performances from the seasons spent in Reims.
M’Baye NIANG (Senegal / Stade rennais) – Forward
At 25, the former great hope of French football has certainly not yet unleashed his full potential. But in Rennes, the one who opted for the Senegalese national side demonstrated that he was an imposing striker, scoring 10 goals this season.
Victor OSIMHEN (Nigeria / Lille LOSC) – Forward
Will the Nigerian be the fifth Lille player to becomr the best African player of the Ligue 1 championship, after Gervinho (2010, 2011), Vincent Enyeama (2014), Sofiane Boufal (2016) and Nicolas Pépé (2019)? The 21-year-old center-forward in any case illustrates the LOSC’s ability to find nuggets. With 13 goals and 4 assists in 27 games, the “Super Eagle” excelled above expectations.
Moses SIMON (Nigeria / FC Nantes) – Midfielder / Forward
Loaned by Levante, the Nigerian signed up for 4 years with Nantes where he has just been elected player of the season. This eccentric midfielder/twirling winger, aged 24, has split 5 goals and 5 assists in Ligue 1. Among the “Canaries”, Moses Simon has accumulated experience, haven played in the Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, and Spain. Nantes seems to be a favourable ground to find stability that will permit him be a starter with the “Super Eagles”.
Islam SLIMANI (Algeria / AS Monaco) – Forward
Through Portugal, England, and Turkey. Slimani is known for his precious goals and his ceaseless efforts. At Monacco, we discovered his technical finesse and his generosity in assists (8 assists and goals). The African champion has formed a beautiful duo with Wissam Ben Yedder. But, despite his high-class performances, the 31-year-old did not always have the confidence of the new Monegasque coach, Robert Moreno.
Hamari TRAORÉ (Mali / Stade Rennes) – Defender
Good side backs don’t run the streets. So Rennes will no doubt have to insist on keeping the Malian international. At 28 years old and after three seasons in Brittany, this straight side and full of drive aspires for greater challenges. The prospect of competing in the Champions League might push him to extend the adventure with the “Red and Black”.
It should be noted no Cameroonian is on the list, two Nigerians and a majority of Senegalese players. Rennes, more than any other club is most represented with 3 players.
Former winners of the Marc-Vivien Foé Prize Award
- Year Player Club
2009 Marouane Chamakh (Girondins de Bordeaux)
2010 Gervinho (LOSC Lille)
2011 Gervinho (2) (LOSC Lille)
2012 Younès Belhanda (Montpellier HSC)
2013 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (AS Saint-Étienne)
2014 Vincent Enyeama (LOSC Lille)
2015 André Ayew (Olympique de Marseille)
2016 Sofiane Boufal (LOSC Lille)
2017 Jean Michaël Seri (OGC Nice)
2018 Karl Toko-Ekambi (Angers SCO)
2019 Nicolas Pépé (LOSC Lille)
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