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With Renato Sanches on the floor, Xeka could have an important role in the reconquest mission of LOSC against Chelsea, this Wednesday, after drinking the cup on the way. And he may not have another chance to shine at such a level one day.

“I made a remark to a colleague with whom I never had a problem. He felt offended while I never insulted him and didn’t disrespect him. At the half-time whistle, he rushed at me aggressively, and I just tried to defend myself. » On July 18, during a tough exchange with his compatriot and teammate Tiago Djaló, during the intermission of an anecdotal friendly on the lawn of KV Kortrijk, the Lille trajectory of Xeka almost took a very nasty turn, at the same time as LOSC became the laughingstock of the country for a weekend. And all this two months after a vibrant title of champion of France which had shaken the Grand’Place, at the end of an exercise where Miguel Ângelo da Silva Rocha had recalled that he could remain a formidable team player when called upon. to him.

Xeka your booty

Two weeks right after the Belgian incident, and before serving the suspension match that the FFF had stuck to him, the midfielder with an impeccable beard signed a jewel on the occasion of the Champions Trophy to defeat PSG once again (1-0) and put theigreja in the center of the village with a capital performance and the status of man of the match. There was talk then for him of a possible departure from the North (Rennes had positioned himself), but he has recovered well for a fifth season at LOSC, and Jocelyn Gourvennec is not going to complain about it: in mid-March, he already has more minutes in Ligue 1 this season (1388) than in the whole of the previous one (1184), during which Christophe Galtier mainly offered him tenure in cups (Europa League and Coupe de France).

Above all, he has been gaining momentum in the league for several weeks, his bad pass in December and January (in terms of playing time and level of performance) having preceded a good period started in Montpellier, where he had also offered victory to the Mastiffs (0 -1) of a real fox goal. Sometimes barred by Boubakary Soumaré (until last summer), Benjamin André or even Renato Sanches for a few seasons, the former Paços de Ferreira should be in the Lille eleven this Wednesday, as in the first leg, and could well have a leading role in the midfield in the absence of Sanches. Still brilliant in recovery against ASSE on Friday (having taken the keys to the truck when Renato Sanches left on the 25thandprecisely) despite a sad 0-0, the one who had revealed himself during a successful loan to Dijon (2017-2018) may be experiencing a career peak with this double English confrontation, at 27 years old.

Selection and to do list

And the step had seemed a little high, during the defeat three weeks ago at Stamford Bridge (2-0), in view of his difficulties in almost all sectors of the game. As for the role that Gourvennec intends for him to the return leg, the coach preferred to kick into touch at a press conference on Tuesday. Doing his matches and his seasons lurking in the dark, the Portuguese seems destined for it. “I’ll be honest: I thought I was going to be called (in selection) after being champion, winning the Champions Trophy and scoring the winning goal. I started the season well, with good performances. , he admitted at the beginning of March. A priori, it will take more to see Fernando Santos interested in the native of Paredes.

The thrill, in the absence of selection, Xeka could go get him at Valencia CF, where he had passed between his 16 and his 17 years (2011-2012) and where he would see himself setting foot again according to ace. Because if he has been back in shape for a big month and seems to have found his cruising speed with the champion of France, Xeka also knows that his future should be written far from the capital of Flanders, where he landed in January 2017. At the end of the contract in June and while an extension no longer seems to be on the agenda, the Lusitanian has probably made up his mind: “I believe more in leaving Lille and French football than in staying. » With perhaps, in a corner of the skull, the to do list that he had prepared for his 18th birthday: “Go to the national team, play the Champions League, win a championship and play in the Premier League. » It’s already halfway there, and not everyone would have bet on it at the start.

Kante, the Duke of Boulogne-sur-Mer

By Jérémie Baron, with Andrea Chazy in Lille
About Xeka taken from Oh Jogo


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