Aurélien Tchouaméni: Meet the French soccer star everyone is talking about
This is part of our series on the men who bring France and the world to their knees. You can read the other profiles here.
The men who make football great are the ones who have the audacity to fail. They live through their own triumphs, and it’s up to a sportsman to choose his own destiny. Those who are content with making all the headlines are men who choose not to fail. They can look back on their lives and see a succession of disappointments, but they have never allowed themselves to be defined by defeat. You could say that they’re not interested in fame or money, but they have never seen their value on the football field reduced by their failures, or by the way in which they were treated.
Aurélien Tchouaméni is a footballer who has made a name for himself on two European shores. While he may not be household names in France, he is perhaps more famous by the men who cover French football than they are by any other player, and he has been likened to Pele. He’s the French striker who everyone wants to get in at 5-0 with a hat trick in a Champions League game, as opposed to the striker who has a one-in-10 chance of scoring at the World Cup. He’s the French striker who has made an England career out of his performances for Arsenal, as opposed to the Frenchman who made his Chelsea debut last weekend, after a spell of injuries.
Tchouaméni may not have as famous a name as some of his compatriots, but he certainly has as great a reputation in the game as anyone else in France. The question really is: What constitutes a legendary career?
When Tchouaméni came to the Estadio Nacional in June, he was still fairly unknown. He had scored just one league