Malang Sarr, 17, thrust himself into the spotlight by heading the winning goal on his senior debut six days ago. Meet the Nice defender, the latest UEFA.com weekly wonderkid.
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Nice defender Malang Sarr enjoyed a debut to remember for his home-town club last Sunday, scoring the winner against Rennes on the opening weekend of the Ligue 1 season. UEFA.com learns more about the 17-year-old centre-back.
Name: Malang Sarr
Debut: 14 August 2016 v Rennes
Date of birth: 23/01/1999
Preferred foot: right
They say ...
"Malang Sarr scoring his first goal on his first start is the icing on the cake."
Lucien Favre, Nice coach
Wearing No34, with no name on his back, the French Under-17 international had a strong game at centre-half, a display crowned by the goal he scored. Sarr showed maturity beyond his tender years.
Ligue 1.com's match report of Nice 1-0 Rennes
Sarr's rise has been so rapid he does not have a squad number against his profile on the Nice website. Three months ago he played every minute of France's unsuccessful UEFA European Under-17 Championship group stage campaign in Azerbaijan. Having made nine appearances for Nice's B side in the fourth tier last term, he featured in pre-season friendlies against Sporting CP and Napoli and was quickly rewarded with his Ligue 1 bow.
Playing style ...
Sarr lined up at left centre-back on Sunday, although he can play any defensive position. He is strong in the air, as Rennes found to their cost.
Eureka moment ...
His goal last weekend. With an hour gone and the game goalless, Sarr powerfully headed in a free-kick from Jean-Michaël Seri – diverting the ball into the ground and beyond keeper Benoît Costil. He was voted man of the match by the Nice fans.
Best-case scenario ...
Sarr will ideally cement his place in a Nice team now under the guidance of Lucien Favre. However, his exploits are unlikely to have gone unnoticed by some of Europe's biggest clubs.
He says ...
"I was anticipating Seri's ball at the far post. I thought I should go there. After that, we had to hold onto our lead. It was a tribute to the victims [of the terrorist attack on Bastille Day]. This was very important for us and I dedicate my goal to them. I'm from this city. It's hard."