Scoring one and setting up another, Kingsley Coman was one of the stars of Bayern Munich's thrilling 4-2 win over Juventus on Wednesday night.
Kinglsey Coman was one of our selections for this year’s World Soccer 500.
Club: Bayern Munich (Ger, loan from Juventus, Ita)
It speaks volumes for the outrageous ability of the teenager that he has already worn the colours of three of Europe’s biggest clubs: his Paris Saint-Germain alma mater; Juventus, where he featured last season, and now Bayern Munich.
A true speed merchant – so much so that he recently was clocked as the fastest player in the Bundesliga at 21.78mph – the young Parisian has been making a mad dash for stardom for as long as he can remember. Having invariably been used by PSG in higher youth age-groups, in February 2013 he became the capital club’s youngest-ever first-teamer at the age of 16 years, eight months and four days.
The trouble for PSG was that the youngster was also in a prodigious hurry to move his career along. After just two Ligue 1 substitute appearances during the 2013-14 campaign, he decided enough was enough and refused to turn pro with the club, instead signing a lucrative five-year deal with Juventus. And what’s more, he did not cost a penny.
Although dubbed “a potential phenomenon” by Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri early last term, Coman generally found the Italian game too tough a nut to crack and was often criticised for his lack of tactical understanding and defensive work-rate.
Despite the considerable amount of time and effort the Italian club’s management expended on courting him, he started on a handful of occasions in Serie A. And with Bayern pressing hard to enrol him, Juventus simply could not resist the chance to make what they thought to be a killing, agreeing a €7million fee for a two-season loan deal, with a €21m option to buy.
Unlike Juve, the German champions – and in particular coach Pep Guardiola – genuinely intended to play him as much as possible. And that is exactly what they have done, regularly using him as an alternative to the oft-injured Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.
His speed, spontaneity and assertiveness are tailor-made for the wide open spaces of the Bundesliga – and equally important to Guardiola, he has adapted remarkably quickly to the many and varied demands of the Bayern collective.
“I’m the type of player who can make a difference at any moment in a game,” declared a thoroughly unabashed Coman on his arrival at Bayern in September. No idle boast, obviously.
By Nick Bidwell