Who are the Monaco youngsters that dumped Manchester City out of Europe?
Monaco have always been known as one of France’s best youth academies, paving the way to French stars such as Thierry Henry, Emmanuel Petit, and Lilian Thuram.
Still today, the Principality outfit still remains adept at bringing through youth. Not all of Monaco’s new starlets are French though, but they show almost as much promise as those of years gone by, thanks to the work of former sporting director Luis Campos.
On Wednesday night at the Stade Louis II, these new rising stars were all on show as they beat Manchester City 3-1 and qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals.
Benjamin Mendy (22 years old)
The hulking left-back has really come of age since his move to Monaco from Olympique de Marseille. Technique is not the first thing that jumps out when looking at Mendy, it’s more about his athleticism and physique.
However, he’s not all pace and power, and his end product has markedly improved, courtesy of Marcelo Bielsa’s draconian training sessions at Marseille, during which the Argentine drilled him in order to improve his crossing ability.
Having himself admitted he at times didn’t focus enough on his job as a footballer, he’s knuckled down since and, under the tutelage of Leonardo Jardim, who has put the proverbial arm around his shoulder, has earned his first call-up to the France squad on Thursday.