Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder still

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It was not quite the instant impact Wissam Ben Yedder once produced in a national team shirt but it nonetheless marked the fulfilment of a dream. His first senior appearance for France, replacing Olivier Giroud for the last 17 minutes of last month’s friendly against Colombia, passed with relatively little fanfare and its place in the wider narrative was diminished by Les Bleus contriving to turn a 2-0 lead into defeat. Whether it progressed Ben Yedder’s claim to a World Cup place remains to be seen but the Sevilla striker, whose club side play Bayern Munich in a Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday, has battled greater odds.

Eight and a half years ago Ben Yedder made his bow on a different stage and the outcome felt more satisfactory. The venue was an indoor hall in Santiago, Chile; the sport was futsal and the result was 7-0 to France, whose debutant was among the scorers. Ben Yedder’s presence had been touch and go: when the team assembled at Charles de Gaulle airport he discovered his Tunisian passport – which he owed to his parents’ country of birth – did not permit him to make the journey. This reduced the then 19-year-old to tears but the situation was resolved with a new French document that allowed him to fly the day after his peers. The game represented the first of six caps and, in total, three goals; a decent return but, in a parallel universe to the 11-a-side game, hardly a feat that would propel him into the global spotlight.
These days Ben Yedder is the embodiment of two worlds successfully meeting. The first of his two goals at Old Trafford on 14 March, which knocked Manchester United out at the last-16 stage, was the kind he honed in his days working in tight spaces for Garges Djibson, a successful futsal club from the northern suburbs of Paris. A cushioned first touch, a shuffle of the feet to create space and a whipped finish with minimal backlift – Mike Napoli Jersey his early career was full of such moments but by the time of that match against Chile his experience at 11-a-side level had only reached the modest heights of the French fourth-tier club UJA Alfortville.
He had been accustomed to juggling his football and futsal commitments, a situation that remained broadly unchanged until, Zach Brown Womens Jersey eight months after the trip to Santiago and only a few weeks after his final futsal appearance for France – against Slovakia – Toulouse deemed him worthy of a gamble.
Ben Yedder’s trajectory has rarely stalled since. “I often tell him that he looks like Romário,” said his former clubmate Jonathan Zebina in 2012 during the first of four Ligue 1 seasons in which he hit double figures, although he went on to lament that Ben Yedder did not know who the former Jaleel Johnson Womens Jersey Brazil striker was. His coach at the time, Alain Casanova, went further in likening him to Lionel Messi and, although both comparisons are slightly fanciful, it does not take a huge leap to link them to the flair for improvisation he picked up from his former vocation.
In Seville they particularly note the similarity to Romário, appreciating a player who comes alive in the penalty area but can be selective with his movement elsewhere. He was among the last recruits of the feted talent-spotter, Monchi, now director of football at Roma, who had been scouting Ben Yedder for several years.
At what now looks a barely believable €9m he fitted the Monchi mould perfectly. He has scored 35 goals since signing in July 2016 and although Sevilla are the most surprising of this week’s Champions League quarter-finalists they possess a spearhead who, while unconventional in style and development curve, is capable of carrying them even further.
That applies whether or not he starts at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Ben Yedder said those goals at Old Trafford, which were his seventh and eighth in this season’s Champions League, were “a child’s dream”; they came shortly after he emerged from the bench and ended a run that brought one goal in 10 games. wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys china cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys from china cheap nfl jerseys


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