The first goal

A stunning overhead-kick started off his journey for the Les Bleus a few days back in the international friendly against Ukraine. The World Champions – France – had a goal-fest in that encounter. They smashed 7 goals where almost everyone had their moments, but that 17-year-old, Eduardo Camavinga had caught the attention of everyone.

To be specific, at the age of 17 years and 11 months, Camavinga’s first-goal meant that he became the second-youngest player ever to score for Les Bleus. Almost 106 years ago Maurice Gastiger scored against Switzerland in March 1914 aged 17 years and five months.

“Well done to him. He is a young player who has a lot of qualities, of ease,” Didier Deschamps told reporters after the thrashing of Ukraine.

“He was lucky enough to score that goal for his first selection as a starting player. Afterward, it’s not because he’s not yet 18 years old that I’m going to say no, he’s too young.”

“I took him last month and I’m taking him back today. If I make him play it’s because I think he’s capable. Now that’s for him to prove it on the field, you shouldn’t ask too much of him too. But he is there.”

Deschamps’ confidence in Camavinga only indicates how talented he is and already he has become the target of big clubs in Europe – who else but Real Madrid are leading the race to sign this wonder kid from France.

Camavinga was born in a refugee camp in Miconge, Angola in 2002, to Congolese parents, who fled from Kinshasa.

He has five siblings. His family moved to France when he was 2 years old. They moved to Fougeres, where he grew up. He practiced judo for a time, before giving it up to focus solely on football. In 2013, the Camavingas’ house was burnt down, destroying most of the family’s property.

On July 7, 2020, he obtained the Baccalaureat ES (Economic and Social) without mention.

A talent to watch

According to CNN, “He was spotted by Rennes playing football in Fougeres, 50 kilometers from the city, at the age of 13. He signed his first professional contract with Rennes in December 2018 and, in an attempt to tie down his future at the club a little longer, signed an extension in August 2019 until 2022.”

“Having burst onto the footballing scene with Rennes – with standout performances coming against Ligue 1 heavyweight’s Paris Saint-Germain — Camavinga became a regular starter for the side at just 16 years of age.”

“During his first full season for Rennes, he helped the Brittany club qualify for the Champions League for the first time in its history.”

“Now in his third season with the club, Camavinga has become a vital part of the side. And after six games of the 2020-21 season, Rennes sit atop the Ligue 1 table, having not lost any of its opening games.”

“Shortly afterward, he made his debut for his national team last month when he replaced Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante in the second half of his side’s 4-2 win against Croatia in the UEFA Nations League.”

A midfield gem

The French are the masters in producing one of the best midfielders in the world. From Raymond Kopa to Zinedine Zidane and Paul Pogba; Les Bleus has never been tired of gifting world football world-class midfielders.

Like his predecessors, Camavinga plays at the center of the park. He is some who could maneuver the spaces and organize play in the midfield. Also, he commits himself as a floater, when needed, and positions himself, higher-up, the pitch to aid the attack, and even score goals.

Blessed with a higher-movement, he can press and orchestrate fake runs, which help to create rooms for his teammates and contribute to play across the pitch with his body movements. Then, when he is at the central midfield position, he becomes a rhythm-controller due to his vision and sense. He would overload and then switch to second gear, by freeing the ball in the spaces – it reduces the load and creates space for others and in the twinkle of an eye, the opposition discovers Camavinga higher-up the pitch.

Composure is another quality that Camavinga possesses and he uses this under pressure to break the passing lanes and free the ball with great maturity. He controls the play by sending a huge number of balls to the flanks or backward and can block the threats or steal the ball from the feet of the opponents.

Either defensively or as a playmaker or as an attacker, he covers a lot of spaces – a blessing for any team.

Next destination – Real Madrid?

With a passing accuracy of 89% at this age, Camavinga is set to create waves in the shores of England, Spain, Italy, and Germany.

According to AS, “The 17-year-old was singled out earlier this year by Real Madrid head coach Zidane and the club’s head of scouting Juni Calafat with contact established between the player’s representatives and Real Madrid.”

Ultimately with his Rennes side securing a place in the Champions League, the midfielder decided to stay with the Ligue 1 side for another season but now Madrid face a battle for his signing from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, and Juventus who are eager to sign this wonder kid.

He is still in the phase of learning the tricks and terms of football, but his talent and maturity are at the level of a true professional.

France might have gifted us another gem in the midfield.