France team: Atmosphere Randal Kolo Muani

Only a big month after his debut in Germany with Eintracht, Randal Kolo Muani changed dimension by finding himself for the first time in a list of Didier Deschamps. A crazy step in the irresistible trajectory of the former Nantes native, who has long passed under the radar, and who is definitely living a memorable year 2022.

“Kolo Muani has scored how many goals? New ? And how many games has he played? 37? Since you are much more interested in football than me, know that a good center forward must score at least 15 goals, if not more. : June 5, 2021 as part ofa gripping interview given to The Team, Waldemar Kita released the flamethrower against Randal Kolo Muani, 22, and played as usual at the smartest. The Franco-Polish sinister would certainly never have imagined that a little over a year later, the big rod from Villepinte would be the holder of Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League and especially international A with the Blues. It must be said that for two years, the rise of the attacker is simply meteoric, especially given what he had gone through so far before being able to knock on the portal of the professional world.

Foot-pleasure and Osgood-Schlatter

“Profiles like Randal, at fourteen in Seine-Saint-Denis, I had dozens and dozens” , loose Jérémy Klein, who had the phenomenon under his orders in the incubators of FC Villepinte and US Torcy, two of the clubs in Île-de-France among which RKM made his range, when football was then for him a passion more than a future profession. Because of his indolence, but especially of a brutal growth and the disease of Osgood-Schlatter which shot his knee and kept him away from the field for almost a year during his teenage years (“I had an inexplicable pain. As soon as I ran, I was in pain”)the potential of the kid took a long time to be exploited. “At fourteen, he was already one meter 75continues Klein. And for having done dozens and dozens of coordination sessions with him, he didn’t breathe the boy comfortable with the ball, it was after he started to get used to it, to control his body. We always felt that he had more potential than the others, because he grew very quickly, he very often went deep and he was very good technically, but he was not above in the performance. » If the crack from the DRC will not set foot in a professional club before his 17th birthday, it is also because of disappointing school reports(1) and body language that has long harmed him. “He is a player who had great qualities, but did not train thoroughlyremembers one of his agents. He was more into football-pleasure than anything else. When we started taking care of him at the end of his U17 season, we did some mental preparation, he needed it. »

“For football, I was ready to go to Australia! I was determined. » Randal Kolo Muani

A few months from his majority, RKM knows however that the clock is ticking and that his qualities deserve a professional team, far from his Villepinte and his beloved city-stadium. It could have been Cremonese or Vicenza in Italy, or even Stade Rennes or En Avant Guingamp, four teams with which he passed inconclusive tests around the summer of 2015, struggling for months – also training in parallel in Neuilly-sur-Marne – before FC Nantes opened its doors to him for good in December, at an age when most future professionals (like his former Torcean teammates Alexis Claude-Maurice and Lamine Ghezali) are already installed in their respective clubs. “We contacted recruiter Odilio Gomis, Randal went on trial and within a day we were called to tell us “we sign it” » explains the agent.“For football, I was ready to go to Australia! I was determinedtold us about the player in these columns less than a year ago. When my father told me to go back to France (during his trials in Italy)I actually cried. […] In Nantes, I rushed headlong, it was paradise… And my last chance. »

“He had this nonchalance of creative, intuitive players, who did not go through a training centerasks Pierre Aristouy, his coach for three seasons in the young yellow and green shoots . It was necessary to work on the consistency, the durability of the performances and the requirement. It was his way of being, of playing, he had this ability to trigger all of a sudden, to invent something, and very often to make a difference. » This last chance, the Villepintois will however have to hang on to be able to seize it, between the competition of Élie Youan in young people, the parade of coaches not giving him a chance in the first team (Sérgio Conceição, Claudio Ranieri, Miguel Cardoso , Vahid Halilhodžić), the humiliation signed Vahid after his only pro tenure in 2018-2019 (“Why did I choose to establish him? Between me and him, I chose him. I had no other solutions”) and his loan to US Boulogne in the third division during the 2019-2020 financial year: Kolo Muani is a player you fall in love with at a glance, and Aurélien Capoue – sports director from Boulogne – did not escape the rule at the municipal stadium in VitréMay 18, 2019 during a National 2 match, then forcing to get the will-o’-the-wisp to come for a few months.

“We asked him to stop being an intermittent showman”

To the chagrin, at the time, of Pierre Aristouy, who was already pushing – just like center director Samuel Fenillat and recruiter Matthieu Bideau – for his protege to invite himself to Ligue 1 after a league title with the reserve , in the company of Imrân Louza in particular: “With hindsight, this loan served him on a human level and in his approach to football. We all pushed a lot with the professional coaches who succeeded each other in Nantes so that they trusted him, and afterwards, it was he who did the job. He managed to modify some things to become an outstanding competitor. But I remain convinced that after this great year with the reserves, he could already have joined the pro team. » His freelance at the Stade de la Liberation, although very noticed (three pawns, two dice passes and three penalties caused in fourteen appearances) had however started damn badly, with two red cards received in his first five games.“When he took the two reds in quick succession, we asked him to stop being an intermittent showman, to disappear at certain times and not to touch the ball anymore.remembers the agent . We told him: from the first to the last balloon, you have to shock the stands, people say to themselves that you have nothing to do here. »

“It has become very rare, players who at 17 have still not been hired in training centers, and who end up international. » Pierre Aristouy

The sequel is a fairy tale: revelation in L1 from his first matches under Christian Gourcuff, call-up to the France U23 team, romance on the pitch with Ludovic Blas, demonstration at the Parc des Princes in March 2021, Olympic Games, season 2021-2022 to thirteen achievements and seven offerings in all competitions, a good number of defenders of the elite lying down, recital until Saint-Denis and the Coupe de France raised, the departure of Nantes free of any contract as a snub to the Kita , then the regalade in the Bundesliga and the landing at the Château de Clairefontaine in this back-to-school month.“When he arrived in Nantes, he had this light side, he didn’t take his head too muchrewind Aristouy . He loved football, wanted to play and was pleasant, but he was not someone who did everything to be even more professional. Players like that, there are a lot of them, who fail because of that. Where he was very strong is that he succeeded in modifying that. With all the scouts there may be, and especially in the Paris region, it has become very rare, players who at 17 have still not been hired in training centers, and who end up international. » A just reward, believes his agent, who, like many, did not imagine such a quick summons: “His signing in Germany was announced at the beginning of March, nobody understood the timing, it was the Frankfurt club who decided to do it to launch their recruitment. Everyone was wondering if Randal was going to be focused, focus on the end of the season. From the moment he signed, he freed himself from a burden and he went up a level, like the matches against Paris and Monaco, or the Cup final. »

FC Nantes, via its official communications, did not have the elegance to publicly salute the summons to Blue of its former foal – on the contrary by Alban Lafont four days later – and that’s a shame: the striker is undoubtedly the biggest crack released by the yellow house for a good big fifteen years and a certain Dimitri Payet, also collected late in Jonelière and “only » post-trained in Nantes. And even if the FCN does not leave Randal Kolo Muani every year, the local champion factory, so famous in the past, benefits from a slight return of hype in the France team, having recently been represented by Léo Dubois or Jordan Veretout.“It proves that the training in Nantes still works very wellsmiles Aristouy . We know how to train players until they reach the top level, passing afterwards by other more upscale clubs which play in European competitions. » And Didier Deschamps may even already have an eye on Quentin Merlin, who knows.

By Jeremy Baron
Words collected by JB, except where noted. Those of Randal Kolo Muani taken from an interview for in October 2021.

(1) In the interview for“Me, it was only football. School… I went there, but I didn’t speak in class. I was in my corner, I was waiting for it to end. My father reminded me of it: “There is school.” Besides, when I was doing tests, they asked for reports: the field was fine, but the report was not. »


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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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