Ousmane Dembele – Another French superstar

On event his expertise could irritate the Evreux guardians. With Ousmane capable of determining a match on his very own, team-mates found it easy to shirk obligation, players just give him the ball and permit him perform his magic. “When he was in my under-13 side I tried out to perform on his mental tactic, to encourage him to mature, to be much more collectively informed,” recollects Badoche. “Initially, he didn’t get it nicely. In 1 game I had to substitute him early for likely on a prolonged dribble. He arrived to realize, nevertheless.”

On hitting his teenagers, the only occupation path Dembele had in brain was that of a expert footballer. Informed of the good he could do as his family’s key breadwinner he strove even tougher to make the grade.

In the early times times were being challenging indeed for the Dembele fraternity. The Madeleine district was an unemployment very hot location and for his mother – a lone dad or mum of Mauritanian and Senegalese descent – existence was a relentless struggle to feed and clothe Ousmane, his brother and two sisters.

“While going for walks to instruction at Evreux, ‘Ous’ was constantly conversing of getting a full-time footballer,” recollects his cousin Moustapha Diatta. “His huge hope was to gain more than enough to get the family members out of our quarter.”

At 13 his dream commenced to get variety as glowing experiences of the speedster with the velvety touch stirred the interest of PSG, Lens, Nimes, Caen, Valenciennes and Le Havre.

“Dembouz”, nevertheless, finally opted to sign up for the youth procedure at Breton outfit Rennes, an alliance which was component destiny, component recruiter persistence.

“I very first noticed Ousmane when he was 8 or 9,” recalled Rennes scout Armand Djire in an job interview with L’Echo Republicain newspaper. “I’d long gone to a match in Evreux to seem at a younger keeper. For the duration of a split in play I turned my head and noticed a group of children practising on an adjoining pitch.

“There was Ousmane. He seriously stood out with his abilities. I found out his title and made a note of it. Two a long time later I went to look at him out again for Rennes. He had one thing extra which the children of his age didn’t possess. He currently was inventing his very own tips.

“I’d consistently enjoy him play and got to know him and his family members. We acquired their rely on and place with each other a exclusive support plan for him at Rennes. We brought his family members along with him and noticed to it that their expert and individual desires were being glad.” A flat and a position in other terms.

If there is a topic that operates as a result of Dembele’s sporting existence it’s his willingness to rebel against perceived injustices, and as an 18-year-old Rennes reserve team player he arrived close to quitting the club in a huff. The trigger of his frustration was zero very first-team alternatives and the club’s tardiness in offering him a very first professional deal.

Rumoured to be on the radar of Manchester City, Red Bull Salzburg and Benfica, Dembele was established to severe his ties with the Bretons, and in the summer season and autumn of 2015 a sustained stand-off ensued.

Without having the perform as peacemaker of then-Rennes presidential advisor Mickael Silvestre – who was previously a defender with Manchester United, Arsenal and France – the deadlock may by no means have been solved.

“The affair dragged on for a prolonged time and essential a whole lot of diplomacy to type out,” states Silvestre. “Ousmane had boycotted pre-season instruction and a preparing camp in Germany. Nevertheless, he finally noticed purpose and determined that he would, just after all, indicator with us.

“It was a challenging business. When the transfer window closed that summer season he sent us a text saying that he was disgusted with the problem and wanted to prevent taking part in the game. He stated he was likely to Senegal with his grandmother and even confirmed us his boarding card.”

Dembele would adopt the exact same tactic in the summer season of 2017 in his makes an attempt to pressure Dortmund to offer him to Barcelona. He went on strike for two months, incurring a club suspension, and was slammed up and down Germany for his unprincipled, mercenary perspective. Just a yr previously he had been delighted to indicator a 5-yr deal with the Schwarz-Gelben now he was setting up a 1-man picket line.

His was a display screen of ingratitude personified screamed the critics. A lifelong Barca and Lionel Messi admirer, Dembele basically could not realize Dortmund’s reluctance to permit him go. His dream shift was in the offing and to make it transpire he was completely ready to go to any lengths.

“What else could I have performed?” he quizzed an interviewer from French journal Onze-Mondial. “I’d like to inquire all individuals who’ve criticised me how they would have behaved if they were being in my footwear. I was in make contact with with Barcelona though at Rennes. I couldn’t miss out on a transfer to Barcelona for a 2nd time.”

Almost nothing, it looks, is at any time plain sailing for Dembele.

A mere 3 months just after joining Barcelona he was sidelined for about 3 months with a ruptured thigh muscle mass and considering that building his senior international debut for France in a January 2016 helpful against Italy he has however to absolutely carve out a area of interest for himself with his national side. He started off only two of their games in this summer’s triumphant World Cup campaign – the group phase ties as opposed to Australia and Denmark, and was specifically disappointing against the Socceroos.

France manager Didier Deschamps continues to contain the youngster in his squad and plainly appreciates his speed and deep threat. But he expects significantly, significantly much more from the Barca winger.

“Ousmane has to be much more constant,” discussed Deschamps at a new federation press conference. “He has to engage with all the requires of football at the best amount. I don’t consider he’s totally got to grips with that.

“However, he’s only younger and very significantly has the attacking characteristics to unblock predicaments. He’s had a good begin to the season with Barca. He’s been decisive and scored goals.”

Some may argue that the root trigger of Dembele’s underneath-par productivity with the national team is the Deschamps procedure alone. The latter is primarily a defensive-minded coach who is as possibility-averse as it is doable to be. Ousmane is the exact reverse: insouciant, adventurous, the complete no cost-spirit package deal.

Surely Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel did a wonderful position of bringing the ideal out of him in the 2016-seventeen campaign. Tuchel, now in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, is ordinarily regarded as a cold, unsympathetic character, but he treated Dembele with pretty much paternalistic treatment. In lots of strategies, the youngster was TT’s pet undertaking, a canvas he just loved to paint

Tuchel did not just inquire the French youngster to hug the still left or suitable sidelines, he generally made use of him inside of far too, making it possible for him to flit back again and forth among a number 10 position and the suitable flank. Inventive, elusive and brimming about with tempo and unpredictability, Dembele proved to be a Westfalenstadion feeling.

That season he ticked just about every box: the numbers (9 goals and 21 assists in all competitions) the huge-game decisiveness – notably when inspiring his side to a 3-2 German Cup semi-last victory in Bayern Munich’s yard and the conquest of his very first-at any time expert title, the German Cup. Not undesirable for a player who only charge the Dortmunder €15m.

“Thomas was a coach who had a whole lot of religion in me,” gushed Dembele on Barca Tv soon just after arriving at Camp Nou very last yr. “He was constantly there at my side and taught me so significantly. He would not hesitate to pull me up and point out wherever I was likely wrong.”

Appreciably, Tuchel was 1 of the handful of substantial-profile Germans to protect Dembele for his controversial departure to Barcelona and, provided the pair’s close relationship, it would be no surprise at all if they were being reunited in the Gallic funds in a not-far too-distant foreseeable future.

Dembele was also intelligently handled by Rennes in his very first-team breakthrough season in 2015-16. Permitted to play his all-natural, electric powered game and not about-burdened by defensive directions, the then 18-year-old fearlessly seized his likelihood. Devilishly complicated to prevent when dribbling and ice-cool in his finishing, he got 12 goals in Ligue 1.

Like Tuchel, Rennes would deploy him in a wide range of positions: still left wing, suitable wing, 2nd attacker and attacking midfielder. Wherever he lined up he spelt menace, and in March 2016 he even more enhanced his reputation with a brilliant hat-trick in a 4-1 thumping of Nantes, the very first triple of his occupation. It was a 1-two-3 to accommodate just about every taste: a sweetly struck 50 %-volley from the edge of the box, a location of acrobatic ball-diversion in the red zone, then a composed end following a solo raid and a destabilising drop of the shoulder.

“I consider I’ve succeeded in obtaining his ideal position on the pitch,” stated Rennes coach Rolland Courbis at the time.

“I like him as a 9-and-a-50 % behind the key attacker. It is equivalent to how Monaco have Mbappe taking part in off Falcao up front. The kid is a pleasure and a gratification. He goes out on to the field to take pleasure in himself.

“He performs in Ligue 1 as he would in the schoolyard.”

Under no circumstances small of a memorable change of phrase, it is individuals last terms from Courbis which probably sums up the essence of “Dembouz”

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Lloris: Pogba unfairly judged by transfer fee

France captain Hugo Lloris has defended Paul Pogba, insisting the Manchester United midfielder is unfairly judged mainly because of the dimensions of his transfer fee.

Pogba rejoined Manchester United from Juventus in the summer season of 2016 for £89 million in what was at the time a world-history transfer fee.

But a jogging feud with manager Jose Mourinho and a sequence of mediocre performances in the Premier League have observed Pogba appear in for criticism from fans and pundits.

Even so, Tottenham keeper Lloris, who performed with Pogba for the French national team as they received the World Cup in Russia this summer season, stated the criticism is mainly dependent on the significant funds sum United forked out for the 25-year old.

“He has a position in the British isles, perhaps mainly because of his enormous transfer fee,” Lloris stated.

“Sometimes persons decide him not extremely relatively. Now he has additional maturity, he is aware what he requirements to do, he proves that with us.

“I consider his performances at United are far from getting as lousy as persons say.

“He is aspect of a team which has worse outcomes than we could have predicted, that’s for certain.”


Group C: Favourable draw for Les Bleus


Just like in 2014, France were placed in what appears, on paper at least, to be a favourable group during the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. Les Bleus will kick off their campaign against Australia and Peru, two teams they have never faced before at the World Cup finals, and finish off by locking horns with Denmark.

France Australia Peru Denmark 

Key game
Denmark-France, 26 June 2018 (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow)
This duel between two highly fancied European sides will likely be given top billing during the third round of games in Group C. The countries know each other well, having gone head-to-head on the World Cup stage on two previous occasions, both times in the final match of the group. On the road to their sole triumph in 1998, France secured a 2-1 victory, but in 2002 it was the Danes who emerged victorious, 2-0, when the reigning world champions flattered to deceive.

What you need to know 
France and Peru have only ever faced each other once before, on 28 April 1982 at the Parc des Princes. In what served as a preparatory match for the forthcoming World Cup in Spain, Michel Platini and Co lost 1-0, with Juan Carlos Oblitas scoring for the South Americans in the 82nd minute. 

“Last time around, everyone said that it was a fantastic draw, even some of our players, but we’re not going to get through it just by clicking our fingers,” said Didier Deschamps after the Draw. The wily coach, who has a reputation for enjoying a little bit of luck during draws, was clearly keen to keep feet in the French camp firmly on the ground.

He may have reason to do so, as according to the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in November, Group C is in fact the most challenging pool of Russia 2018, featuring France (ninth), Australia (39th), Peru (11th) and Denmark (12th). 

The stat
3 – The number of World Cups in which Tim Cahill has found the back of the net. If he succeeds in scoring in Russia, the attack-minded Australian will enter an elite club, as only Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose have previously notched a goal in four different editions of the prestigious tournament.


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Egyptian Karim Hafez bags Player of the Month Award in France – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 20, 2017. 14:30

Egyptian international defender, Karim Hafez is delighted after he was voted as the October Player of the Month by fans at Racing Club Lens.

The Pharaohs defender also spoke about his ambition to start for Egypt and his future with the French Ligue2 side after becoming one of the club’s stand-out performers for October.

“It’s a pleasure for me to be voted player of the month because it values ​​my work and what I do. It gives me a lot of motivation, the desire to be the best on the field, it also gives me strength to help the team and the club, that’s what I want,” Hafez said.


“Two goals and one assist, I’m very happy. I would like to help the team even more, work more for the club and myself, go higher.

“The situation is difficult but we are working with the coach and we still have four matches in the first leg, we will try to do our best, win these four games and take 12 points. And I would like us to start the return phase better than the first phase.

Hafez joined Lens in 2016 on loan from Lierse S.K., and had the deal renewed for a second season. He has described the Lens fans as incredible and said he was “happy” to play in front of them.

“I love this club, the fans, I like everything here. It’s a big club. I wish we had been promoted last season, but it’s football and we learn a lot. I’m still young so I learn a lot in football, I have time! But yes, I like this club.

“I do not know yet (regarding his future), I’m ready this year so we’ll see… I would like to go up to Ligue 1 with Lens, but in this situation it’s very difficult. I have to do my best this season, and we’ll see what happens next season.

“We played against Ghana and I played the whole game, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Now, I will try to work very hard to secure a place in the starting line-up.”


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Herve Renard hopes Morocco draw France at 2018 World Cup – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Herve Renard hopes Morocco draw France at 2018 World Cup

Herve Renard, coach of Morocco and players celebrates a victory during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Morocco and Ivory Coast at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 13, 2017. 12:30

Morocco coach Herve Renard has revealed that he would love to face France at the 2018 World Cup.

Renard’s side secured a place at Russia 2018 with an impressive 2-0 victory in Ivory Coast on Saturday night.

Morocco will be returning to the World Cup for the first time since 1998 and Renard says facing the country of his birth would be special.

“We do not want to avoid anyone!” Renard said in the wake of Morocco’s qualification.

“Personally, I would like to face France. It would be a great honor for me to be in the same pool as the French team.”

The Atlas Lions coach also noted that he had received a congratulatory phone call from Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

“I thank His Majesty for calling me. It’s a huge honour,” said the Frenchman. “He wanted to talk to us to pay tribute to everyone.

“Tonight we are proud of the Moroccan shirt, proud that the Moroccan flag returns to the World Cup. This is the fifth qualification so Morocco is not a small [football] country.”


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Joris Gnagnon opts for Cote d’Ivoire over France – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Oct 03, 2017. 12:30

With Cote d’Ivoire set to visit Mali for their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier this Friday, French-born Joris Gnagnon could make his debut fore the Elephants.

The former France youth international defender has been included in the 24-man squad set to face off against the Eagles.

Reports indicate that the Stade Rennais player could make his first appearance for the 2015 African champions this weekend in Bamako.


“It will be a dream come true to finally play for Ivory Coast,” he said.

Gnagnon was previously called up for the friendly against the Netherlands in June, but missed out due to injury.

The 20-year-old centre-back decided to play for the Elephants despite having represented France at U20 level.

On the other hand, Max Gradel and Wilfried Zaha are both left out of the squad through injury, while striker Seydou Doumbia will be assessed by team doctors after suffering a knock on club duty in Portugal.


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Guy Roux: I wish Rachid Ghezzal played for France! – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Sep 27, 2017. 17:00

Guy Roux, the legendary French coach, has praised the skills of Algerian star Rachid Ghezzal and wishes the attacker played for France instead!

The 25-year-old Ghezzal was born in Décines-Charpieu in France and represented the European country at junior international level.

However, in 2015 he switched international allegiance to the North African country and is on his way to establishing himself as a regular in the Fennec Foxes set-up.

Roux, who was famously in charge of French club AJ Auxerre for more than 40 years, hailed the talents of Ghezzal in an interview with Le Buteur, and expressed surprise that the team was eliminated from World Cup contention.

“It is true that [Ghezzal] had the choice, but he is not the only one,” said Roux.

“He had the right to choose Algeria and that is what he did. Ghezzal is a great player and yes, I would have liked to see him play for France, for sure.

“He played for Algeria, but unfortunately for him, he will not play the next World Cup.

“Moreover, what I find regrettable is that with all the good players available to the Algerian selection, she failed to qualify for the World Cup.”

Algeria will resume their World Cup qualification campaign with their penultimate Group B match away to Cameroon on October 7.


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‘It feels good to be back in France’ – Bakary Kone – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


'It feels good to be back in France' - Bakary Kone

Jordan Ayew of Ghana is challenged by Bakary Kone of Burkina Faso during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals 3&4 match playoff between Burkina Faso and Ghana at the Port Gentil in Gabon on 04 February 2017 ©Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Aug 28, 2017. 12:30

After joining French Ligue 1 side Strasbourg from Spain’s Malaga, Burkina Faso defender Bakary Kone says it feels good to return to France.

Kone has made a quick return to France on a season-long loan deal after making seven appearances for Malaga.

Having helped Guingamp and Olympique Lyon to win the French Cup in 2009 and and 2012, the 29-year-old will hope to make a vital contribution for the 2017 Ligue 1 champions.


The Burkinabe has previously lifted the French Cup in 2009 with Guingamp as well as in 2012 with Lyon. He has played 89 matches in Ligue 1 with six goals for Lyon between 2011 and 2016.

“It feels good to return to France and I’m ready to give everything to defend the colours of Strasbourg,” Kone told the club’s official twitter account.

Strasbourg manager, Thierry Laurey has also expressed delight in signing the player as he will want to make an impact with the 2017 French Ligue 2 champions.

“We’ve been searching for an experienced and dynamic defender like this for a while, so I’m pleased with Kone’s arrival,” Laurey said.

Kone is expected to join his new club after Burkina Faso’s back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Senegal next month.

He has made 62 appearances for his country and has featured in five consecutive CAF African Cup of Nations tournaments in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.


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