UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Breel Embolo
Saturday, February 7, 2015
One of only eight players under the age of 18 to have scored in the UEFA Champions League, FC Basel 1893 forward Breel Embolo is being described as "a sensation".
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UEFA.com continues its new weekly wonderkid feature by looking at FC Basel 1893's Breel Embolo, a 17-year-old forward being linked to the likes of FC Bayern München and Real Madrid CF.
Name: Breel Embolo
Club: FC Basel 1893
Debut: 13 March 2014 v FC Salzburg (UEFA Europa League)
Position: striker, winger
Date of birth: 14/02/1997
Preferred foot: right
They say …
"My heart cheers when I see him playing."
Marco Streller, Basel captain
"I love everything about him."
Paulo Sousa, Basel coach
"I think he is a sensation – playing like that aged 17. I like him as a person as much as I do as a player. His feet will stay on the ground – he won't be shooting from 50 metres to score the goal of the season. You can give him good advice and he is ready to take it without getting angry."
Fabian Frei, Basel midfielder
Embolo was born in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde in 1997, but in 2003 his mother left for Basel, Switzerland, with her two sons. The striker started his career with FC Nordstern Basel before, in 2008, moving to BSC Old Boys Basel. Two years later he joined the youth department at his current club, where he made his debut in a UEFA Europa League game last March. His Swiss Super League bow followed days later – he even scored his maiden goal within four minutes of coming off the bench. Such has been his rapid rise, Embolo was named Super League emerging talent of the year on Monday.
Playing style …
Embolo seems to have it all; he is powerful, technically strong and decisive. He has explosive pace and is a composed finisher – currently averaging a goal every other league game. It is, therefore, little surprise that Embolo is rumoured to be on the radar of FC Bayern, Real Madrid, Everton FC, VfL Wolfsburg, Manchester United FC, Manchester City FC and several Russian clubs.
Shades of …
Embolo has cited Mario Balotelli as one of his heroes. Both players like to lurk between defenders, both scored in their second senior appearances and both have great control allied to physical prowess.
Eureka moment …
On 4 November, aged 17 years and 263 days, Embolo registered for the first time in the UEFA Champions League, hitting Basel's opener against PFC Ludogorets Razgrad shortly after the half-hour to become the sixth youngest goalscorer in the competition's history. He chested the ball down and powerfully evaded a defender's challenge to coolly slot into the net.
Best-case scenario …
With Basel's primary striker Marco Streller not getting any younger at 33, and given Embolo can also operate on the wings, it is logical that the powerful teenager is already a regular – only occasionally being rested to protect himself. He could develop in the Swiss top flight for two or three years before heading to a more prestigious league.
He says …
"I have my mother to thank for everything. I just play and try not to focus too much on anything else."