Fan of Lacazette and favorite of Luis Enrique with false airs of Henry: discovering Bradley Barcola, who hurt Barça so much

If Ousmane Dembélé left with the player of the match trophy, he undoubtedly thanked Bradley Barcola who served him in the equalizer after causing the exclusion of Ronald Araujo. By martyring Jules Koundé throughout the match. Confirming that he was indeed the third man in the Parisian attack with Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé, far ahead of Randal Kolo-Muani and Gonçalo Ramos bought respectively 90 and 80 million when it cost him 50 including 5 as an option. What almost looks like a good deal, however, came as a surprise this summer. Because Barcola, a native of Villeurbanne in the suburbs of Lyon, had few references behind him with his training club joined at 8 years old where he exploded in the second half of last season. Very surprisingly.

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After six months spent playing utility with eight small appearances on the clock, the man who delivered an assist for his debut in November 2021 against Sparta Prague just after signing his first professional contract intended to take advantage of the January 2023 transfer window to seasoned on loan, coming very close to a departure for Saint-Gall, in Swiss D1. Except that the sale of Karl Toko-Ekambi opened other perspectives for this fan of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Cristiano Ronaldo who finished the season with 7 goals and 10 assists in 31 appearances to become the second most decisive player in the squad behind Alexandre Lacazette, the idol who covered the walls of his room and whose children's jersey he wore.

”It took me a little time to get to know himadmitted Laurent Blanc, evoking in The Team a young player “with a little nonchalance. “But when he puts the turbo on, he goes fast.”

To the point of having been in overdrive for a year. Absent from the selections until U20, he discovered the Espoirs last June during the Euro, the starting point of a hectic summer. If, during this competition where he was one of the rare satisfactions of the Bleuets eliminated in the quarter with his two goals and two assists, he had closed the door to a departure by throwing “I have a season to confirm, we must not forget that I have only done six months. For the moment, I don’t see why I would leave, I need to do a full season” , he reopened it indirectly by changing agent to join Gestifute, the team of Jorge Mendes who is very established at Paris SG. Where, despite signs of interest from Manchester City, Chelsea and FC Barcelona, ​​he signed at the end of August, making his big debut in Lyon in a hot context, between insults and whistles, which did not have not destabilized. A sign of the great strength of character of a player with identified potential, but who took his time before suddenly accelerating.

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”Bradley turned pro at 16. It is someone who listens, observes, learns and applies. He is quiet, humble, hardworking and he knows where he wants to go. It was he, through his professionalism, who built his path, detailed Gérald Baticle in the fall, who worked alongside Barcola in Lyon, but also now in the France Espoirs team. When you combine technique, speed and you implement the daily method to constantly progress, there are no limits. That he immediately manages to get into the tone and the Parisian rotation is not surprising.”


I love everything about him.

Perhaps because Luis Enrique quickly campaigned for his arrival. “I love everything about himindicated the technician this winter. He has a very large margin for improvement, he brings speed, overflows and also defensive work. It’s a marvel to have Bradley in our squad.”

Thierry Henry, who has made him a manager since his appointment with the Espoirs, will not say the opposite, dribbling a little this connection that the profile of this son of a French mother and a Togolese father can nourish by his speed, but also “by this down and these mats, yes”. But nothing says that he will be able to rely on him this summer since a place could become available with the Blues with the injury to Kingsley Coman. Didier Deschamps made no secret of it last month: “He is one of the players that we obviously follow, with a string of matches recently where he has shown some great things. He also needs to assert himself more in content but he is a player with great potential.”

Guy Stéphan, the assistant coach present at Montjuic this Tuesday evening, will be able to confirm. Barça too.

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