"Amine brings something special; he's decisive," says René Girard, who gave the gifted playmaker his Ligue 1 debut with Nantes after a starring role for France's Under-19s.
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A revelation for Nantes this season, Amine Harit is building on the promise he showed in France's UEFA European Under-19 Championship win last summer. Meet the playmaker with a hint of Zinédine Zidane.
Name: Amine Harit
Debut: 13 August 2016 v Dijon
Date of birth: 18 June 1997
Preferred foot: right
They say ...
"He is a very talented boy who loves dribbling. He laughs all the time. When we prepared [for the EURO] he gave everything he had and learned plenty of things on the defensive side. He improved a lot."
Ludovic Batelli, France U19 coach
"Amine brings something special, he makes the difference. I was amazed how he finds space between the lines. He is not particularly strong but he does not go down easily either."
René Girard, former Nantes coach
Born in the Paris suburb Pontoise, Harit spent his early years playing in the French capital for clubs including Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star. He joined the Nantes academy in 2012 and spent the 2015/16 season in the reserves, before helping France win the 2016 UEFA European U19 Championship in Germany. Harit set up Jean-Kévin Augustin to score the opening goal in the final, a 4-0 defeat of Italy, and was promptly rewarded with a starting berth as Nantes kicked off their Ligue 1 campaign.
Playing style ...
An attacking midfielder, Harit is an incisive presence in the final third. He loves to dribble and pass through the opposition lines, while boasting excellent vision. Those qualities have made him one of the most fouled players in Ligue 1 this term.
Shades of ...
Harit's knack for slipping past defenders, resisting stiff challenges and passing out wide brings to mind a certain Zinédine Zidane. Meanwhile, his versatility carries echoes of another former France stalwart, Franck Ribéry.
Eureka moment ...
Handed his first Ligue 1 start away to Dijon in August, Harit responded with a sparkling display to prove he feels right at home at the top level. The 19-year-old carried out six successful dribbles – more than any other player in the opening round of games – and completed 85.1% of his passes as Nantes triumphed 1-0.
Best-case scenario ...
Under contract at Nantes until 2020, Harit is said to have caught the eye of Bayern München along with Les Canaris' domestic rivals Paris and Lyon. Add an eye for goal to his already impressive list of skills and his progress as one of France's most exciting talents looks assured.
He says ...
"I never put myself under pressure. Out on the pitch, it's all about enjoyment. I am free and I never overthink the game. I think this is one of my strengths."