The LaLiga 2020-21 season is set to start in early September with defending champions Real Madrid eager to retain the crown they won in dramatic fashion less than a month ago.
But fans of LaLiga in Africa and across the world have so many more storylines to watch when the campaign gets underway, including keeping an eye on the African players who are poised to breakout this coming season. Here’s a look at just a few of the young, talented powerhouses to watch this season.
Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla FC)
A former FIFA World Cup and African Cup of Nations star, Youssef En-Nesyri will continue to make his presence felt at Sevilla FC this coming season.
The 23-year-old Moroccan has been a top performer in LaLiga since his debut with CD Leganés in 2018. He scored four goals that season before securing a big money move to Sevilla midway through last season, racking up a total of eight successful strikes by season’s end. With Sevilla also set to compete in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League, En-Nesyri will have the chance to showcase his talent at the highest level.
Samuel (Samu) Chukwueze (Villarreal CF)
This talented young winger hails from Nigeria, where he shone as a member of his country’s victorious Under 17 World Cup team, and most recently as part of the 2019 FIFA World Cup. The 21-year-old impressed for Villarreal CF – the club he first joined in 2017 as an 18-year-old – last season, proving to be a crucial player in the side which qualified for next season’s Europa League.
Highly talented, and also something of an introvert, Chukwueze often shuns the football limelight to focus on the game he loves. The left-footed striker, whose relatives back in Nigeria once set his football kit on fire to keep his mind on his education, has overcome a great deal to live his football dream.
With 12 career goals to his name and with comparisons often made between his playing style and that of Dutch legend Arjen Robben, this exceptional young player is definitely a star for the future and has already received raving reviews from former African legends such as Freddie Kanoute, Mutiu Adepoju and Nasief Morris.
Yan Brice Eteki (Granada CF)
The young Cameroonian star looks set to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Samuel Eto’o as he makes his mark on the European football scene.
At 22, Eteki is an up and coming midfielder with a solid record on the continent. Since his debut for Sevilla FC’s youth team eight years ago, we have watched his skills grow tremendously – and LaLiga fans have started to take note of them too.
The past two seasons have seen Eteki switch from UD Almeria back to Sevilla and most recently to Granada CF, who will play in next season’s Europa League thanks to a remarkable first season back in the top flight. As he looks to settle into the 2020-21 season, he will be keen to score his first goal for his new team and to continue showing football fans what he’s capable of.
Olivier Verdon (D. Alaves)
The first of two centre-backs on our list, Olivier Verdon is a talented Benin international defender who looks keen to breakout in Spanish football this coming season.
The 24-year-old made his debut in 2017 with French side Bordeaux before making the move to Spain and Alaves two years later. He spent last season out on loan at Belgian side AS Eupen, making 22 league appearances, and now returns to Spain with an eye on cementing his place in the Alaves first team for 2020/21.
Joseph Aidoo (RC Celta)
One of Ghana’s most riveting young players rounds off our list of young African stars to watch in LaLiga this coming season.
24-year-old Joseph Aidoo burst onto the scene in his home country with Inter Allies, when he was in the running for the Ghanaian Premier League’s Defender of the Year award in 2014, then later made his name in Europe first with Swedish side Hammarby and then for Genk in Belgium.
Since joining RC Celta in 2019, he has become a key member of the team’s defence – a position he will be sure to retain in the 2020-21 season. Having made 32 appearance during the previous season, Aidoo has yet to score his maiden LaLiga goal, however, be sure that the best is yet to come for this dynamic player.