Greatly forgotten by the UNFP Trophies, Christopher Nkunku consoled himself this week by winning that of best player of the season in the Bundesliga. As a sign that the reputation he has acquired in Germany has not yet reached France and that it would now be a question of treating with the Blues. That’s good: Didier Deschamps gives his list this Thursday at 2 p.m.
Robert Lewandowski’s trophy cabinet was ready. Willing to be decked out with some more cash. However, this Monday evening, the Pole had the unpleasant surprise of not being voted best player of the season in the Bundesliga for a third consecutive time. The jury, made up of 40% fans, 30% clubs and 30% experts, was very clear: this season, it’s for Christopher Nkunku. And the least we can say is that the kid from Lagny-sur-Marne did not steal it. Arrived on tiptoe in Leipzig in the summer of 2019, the converted attacking midfielder is today the undeniable and undisputed spearhead of his team and, above all, does not suffer from any complex watching the greatest players. of the world in the eyes. The numbers don’t lie: with 20 goals and 13 assists in the year just ended in Germany, the Frenchman is the second most prolific player in the championship (behind Lewandowski), leaving Haaland, Müller, Schick and others in the rear view mirror.
Dembele in front of Nkunku, really?
Despite this scale acquired on the other side of the Rhine, mayonnaise is still struggling to take hold in France. The most recent example dates from last Sunday, when the cream of French football gathered at the Pavillon Gabriel to crown the best students of the year. In festivities where Kylian Mbappé attracted the spotlight, Karim Benzema recovered the trophy for best French player playing abroad. No scandal here, as the Madrid season is a continuous score. The presence of Theo Hernández and Mike Maignan (in the race for the title in Italy) among the nominees is also justified, that of N’Golo Kanté can still be heard, but we can therefore wonder about the absence of Christopher Nkunku, instead of Ousmane Dembélé. Even if he ends the year well, the Barcelonian will have seen his season be marked more by the rumors surrounding his departure than by his exploits on the field. During this time, Nkunku slammed a hat-trick on the lawn of Manchester City, single-handedly ousted Atalanta from the C3 and played a major role in the epic of his people until the German Cup final (scheduled for this Saturday at 8 p.m. against Fribourg, editor’s note)which could well be the high point of an XXL season.
To put out the small fire caused by the absence of the person who entrusted The Team “see you in Leipzig at the start of the school year” , the UNFP came out of its silence on Wednesday, putting forward a reason not far from being flawed: only players who have obtained a selection for the France team before the start of the season are eligible to be nominated for this distinction. What the institution wanted to add that “without this regulatory point, he would have had his place in the nominees” and that’ “it may be necessary to change the regulations to have more flexibility” in the future. A kind of first mea culpa and validation at the entrance to the world of adults.
Give the accelerator Nkunku with the Blues
The final salvation will go through an unavoidable step: making your mark with the Blues. Nkunku had to wait until last March to hear his name finally pronounced by Didier Deschamps. As if the coach had waited to see if the nascent hype around the Lipsian was a simple flash in the pan or not. From there had given birth to a mixed rally for the newcomer, who had played with the handbrake against Côte d’Ivoire before having to settle for a few seconds of play against South Africa. Unless there is a huge surprise, DD should give new cartridges to the versatile attacker this Thursday who will have no choice this time but to take the bull by the horns in the blue jersey if he wishes to enjoy the same reputation in France as across the Rhine. “I just ordered a trophy cabinet. I’ll be able to fill it up a little.” , smiles the interested party. A wise purchase six months before the start of the World Cup.
By Alexandre Lejeune
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