In the Champions League's top scorer ranking seems to be a black sheep. Cristiano Ronaldo destroyed CL's record scoring 9 goals in the group stages, then with 6 goals there are Neymar, Cavani, Harry Kane, Roberto Firmino and Wissam Ben Yedder, the Sevilla's striker that lead the Andalusian team to gain its second in a row qualification to CL's final stage. If you count the goals in the preliminary, Ben Yedder would be second counting the two goals scored against İstanbul Başakşehir in August. Apart from the stunning numbers, Ben Yedder is a striker that is worth to talk about for his smooth style of play that tells his iconic personal story.

 

Education Parisien

The story starts on the 12th of August 1990 in Sarcelles, one of the toughest neighborhoods around the French capital. His family is from Tunisie, and he passed his childhood like every other kid - including Riyadh Maherez - playing street soccer on everything that resembles a football pitch. The documentary Ballon sure Bitume tells amazingly the everyday life and values of football subculture in the Parisian banlieues and Ben Yedder was definitely one of those kids. From Sarcelles he learned the though and technical style of play, to not go to the ground 'cause the hardcore hurts, but more importantly, he learned the attitude. In various interviews he said the rather than playing with children his own age, he was always looking to play at a higher level in order to test himself. Some of his strongest memories as a child were when the older boys would ask him to play with them and say: ‘Hey, you’re playing on my team.’ This was the most important recognition he could have. He also trained his mind to never give up and to be faithful that football could have been the pattern to escape the ghetto:

I’ve always believed in my own success, I’ve always given myself the best chance to achieve that and I think the key is to have faith. Never stop believing. Even when things aren’t going well, you have to keep believing that you’ll make it.

Your new fav striker: Wissam Ben Yedder From Paris' hardcore playground to the Champions League's pitches, passing through futsal | Image 0

 

From hardcore to Futsal to the eleven pitch

From the concrete fields of Sarcelles, Wassim started playing in the futsal team of the Garges Djibson Futsal of Garges-les-Gonesse, the neighborhood next to Sarcelles. There he refines his technique and movements adjusting to the five-a-side football: the sole stop, the top shots and the ability to hit the action, elements that are still present in Ben Yedder's game. His talent even led him to the French under-21 national futsal team, where he counts two appearances and one goal.

"In futsal, you have less time to think so make decisions faster than most. You know what is coming. It may not always work, but an understanding is generated through futsal

In January 2010, he jumped into the eleven pitch. Ben Yedder played for half the season with Alfortville, the team of the Armenian community of Paris, in the CFA, the fourth French series equivalent to our series D. As in every story of young talents, this is the moment when Ben Yedder attracts all the best French observers in the decrepit camps of the suburbs. Between Monaco, Lille, and Toulouse, it is acquired by the latter. The first season in the South of France serves to settle down, more to the professional life than to the wide field. Since 2012, the coach Casanova decides to move it from the outside to the center of the attack and from that moment Wassim explodes. In Ligue 1 he scored 63 goals in 156 appearances spread over 6 seasons. He became a modern central striker  -despite its meter and seventies - thanks to his chirurgical accuracy in the area along with the emotional intelligence of those who grew up playing on cement and perceives where the ball could end. When he receives the ball, his stops seem to kill the kinetic force of the ball, that falls asleep and it remains dormant in the middle of his feet and then leaves dry and fast as a ball thrown by a sand trap. 

 

 

The Sevilla's strikers legacy

Ramón Vázquez - former player and part of the Andalusian club's scouting team - convinced Monchi to buy Ben Yedder from Toulouse in the summer of 2016. "He keeps his distances, and in the area, he has something of Romario" he said, doing the best compliment that a striker could ever receive. His knowledge of "distances" is another result of futsal: Ben Yedder always seems to be tied by an invisible thread to his teammates, he never occupies a space already taken, instead, he invades the opposing area with the precision that only an army and/or a futsal team owns.
His technique - like other "products" of futsal like Ronaldinho or Neymar - makes him calm and chirped in front of the goalkeeper, who is often stuck in the only and most unlikely space discovered. So Monchi bought the 26-year-old was signed for €9m as a replacement for Atletico Madrid forward and compatriot Kevin Gameiro, who was sold for over €30m. In Sevilla - one the last Wonderlands in Football - there is a legacy of technical and stunning strikers, that I'm personally in love with. The dynasty begins with O Fabuloso Luis Fabiano paired with Frederic Kanoutè, with luxury reserves like Aleksandr Keržakov and Javier Ernesto Chevantón, then contended in the Europa League era by Alvaro Negredo, Carlos Bacca and Kevin Gaimero (and some failed attempts, like Ciro Immobile).

Your new fav striker: Wissam Ben Yedder From Paris' hardcore playground to the Champions League's pitches, passing through futsal | Image 1

 

In the Sanpaoli's Seville of Ben Yedder found players who speak his football dialect: Nasri, Franco Vazquez, Stevan Jovetić. He settled immediately and with the Andalusian team scored 25 goals in 48 appearances. In this season Sevilla has revolutionized the club - the demiurge Monchi has left the club to move to Rome - and the technical guide, outside Sanpaolo in Eduardo Berizzo. The soul and the spirit of the Spanish team, however, do not seem to have changed. Although they had nice CL's draw, the team is the true revelation of this Champions League, while in the league quietly sail in fifth place, at a safe distance from the head and those below. Ben Yedder his touch became the center of the Berizzo game and Sarcelles's talent scored 13 goals in 17 games, pulverizing every club record in the Champions League and animating this year's most beautiful game in Europe: the comeback for 3 to 3 against Jurgen Kloop's Liverpool.