A scorer of some breathtaking goals in the UEFA Youth League last season, Jordi Mboula has left Barcelona for Monaco on a five-year deal – UEFA.com looks at what the French champions are getting.
Article top media content
Jordi Mboula, undoubtedly one of the standout players in the UEFA Youth League last term, shot to fame in February, sending social media into a frenzy when he scored a sensational solo goal against Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.
The 18-year-old added to his highlight reel two months later with another spectacular strike, this time versus Salzburg in the semi-finals in Nyon. He finished the 2016/17 competition as the eight-goal leading marksman alongside Ajax's Kaj Sierhuis.
Now he is heading for Monaco. UEFA.com introduces the winger-cum-forward.
Name: Jordi Mboula
Born: 16 March 1999
Preferred foot: right
UEFA European Under-17 Championship: runner-up 2016 (Spain)
UEFA Youth League: top scorer 2016/17 (Barcelona)
They say ...
"Barcelona helped to form me both as a player and as a person from the age of nine onwards, but I am ready to start a new phase in my career with Monaco, one of the biggest clubs in Europe."
Jordi Mboula talking to the Monaco website after moving to the Ligue 1 champions
"He's an explosive player, different to others. He's very good in one-on-one situations but, above all, he has absolutely searing pace – that's what defines him."
Spain team-mate Juan Brandariz
"This signing of a really bright young talent continues our strategy based on the formation and continued development of young players. Jordi Mboula has done great things as a Barcelona junior and Monaco can now offer him an ideal stage to continue his progression. We are going to help him grow at the heart of our team, as we did with Bernardo Silva, Fabino or even Tiemoué Bakayoko."
Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev
"Jordi Mboula masquerades as Leo Messi to score a stunner"
Headline in Spanish newspaper Sport after that goal v Dortmund
The son of a Congolese father and a Spanish mother, Mboula was born in the town of Granollers – 30km from Barcelona. His parents had actually met in China, and Mboula spent two years there as a child before returning to the Iberian peninsula. His football career began at the age of nine with six months at local team Amelia del Vallès before he joined Granollers and, within a year, Barcelona.
He has excelled at youth level with the Blaugrana and Spain, though his career took a major upward trajectory last season. His goalscoring exploits prompted a call-up to the Spain U19s and involvement in first-team training.
The narrative surrounding Mboula is his electric pace. In Spain they call him a 'jugador explosivo', which would roughly translate as someone lightning-quick out of the blocks. He possesses an uncanny ability to slow things down then gallop past an opponent from a standing start. His goalscoring return shows he is also blessed with composure.
While at Barcelona the talk may often be of finding the next Xavi Hernández or Andrés Iniesta, in Mboula they had a player spoken of in the same breath as Thierry Henry.
With his talent to play stop-start, cut inside and produce a fine finish it is not hard to see why they nicknamed him 'Titi' – as Henry was known. Considering his natural athletic gifts, eye for goal and professional lifestyle off the pitch belying his tender years, Camp Nou insiders were quietly confident they had unearthed yet another gem at La Masia. Now he is Monaco's to polish.