FT 2017/18 African Transcendent XI: RW - Keita Balde [Monaco]
Many African players have light up the European leagues ever since the days of George Weah. These include Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure, Okocha, etc. who have performed at an extraordinary level in the past decades. Mo Salah of Liverpool and Egypt has been the fan favorite this year for his record-breaking goals and guiding his club to the UEFA Champions League final. But this is not all the continent has to offer. There are other young players who are showing early promises of reaching these levels or even better them. Therefore, FirstTouch reflects on the next transcendent U23 players in each position.
RW - Keita Balde
The right-winger was born in Spain and chose to represent Senegal, his father’s country of origin. The 23-year old currently plays for Monaco having joined the club from Lazio in a £27.8m deal after the club lost their star forward Kylian Mbappe to PSG. They trusted that the African player has the right attributes to fill the boots of the most expensive teenager in world football. The player has been somewhat of a success. He scored 8 goals and created 7 in a season where he started 19 matches. If these statistics are not good enough, it shows that we already compare him to the best performers in Europe who have been consistent in providing assists more like Kevin De Bruyne. The Senegalese forward will be on the opposite side of another dangerous forward in Sadio Mane at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. Senegal will be a force to recon and this is thanks to how these African players have developed on the European scene.