Upamecano, from VAFC to the Champions League

match d’Upamecano… “, Ecstatic former Barcelona Javier Mascherano. Gary Lineker on the BBC: “
He has a huge future. Superb with and without a ball.
» Rio Ferdinand (BT Sport) : « He was wonderful! »Fabio Capello (Sky Italia):« A complete defender. Speed, dribbling, technique, intelligence.
»Alessandro Costacurta (Sky Italia):« He has everything to succeed. He impressed me. He deserves a great club …

We could cite endlessly the praise received by Dayot Upamecano (21), the best player of the quarter-final RB Leipzig – Atlético Madrid (2-1) Thursday in Lisbon. A player that the Valenciennes have always followed with a touch of nostalgia since his time at the training center (2013-2015), where everyone succumbed to his precocious talent before seeing him leave for Salzburg, at 17, death in the soul, even before having seen him set foot in the pros. Against a check for 2.2 million euros that would save the club.

While the football world was discovering the phenomenon, and fans were witnessing the expected advent of “Die Maschine” as it is nicknamed in the Bundesliga, Olivier Bijotat (1), posed in front of his TV, saw again Thursday images of Mont-Houy. When the 15-year-old was running in front of his eyes. Unstoppable. ” He was monstrous, colossal, admirable, ignites the trainer back in Lens this season. He quickly won his duel with Diego Costa, resolved all the defensive problems, brought a lot offensively … »

With 100% of duels won, Upamecano left nothing and impressed in his ability to defend while advancing. But he also shone in his rides, his passing game. ” As when he was 15, he was carried by his desire to revive the game. It has kept the same freshness. He always tries to get an advantageous situation. Except that there is in the quarter-finals of the Champions League against Atlético, a team difficult to maneuver
», Appreciates Bijotat.

From street football

« Today it has everything, a mixture of power and incomparable technical quality, notes the technician. At VA, when he arrived, he had his athletic strength but a lot of technical waste. He was already a big defender so we weren’t afraid to offer midfield or attacking exercises so that he was more fluid, less bumped, that he was at the heart of the game and touched more balls. It was easy because he is very demanding. If you give him five training sessions a day, he goes out to the field five times. »

In the game of comparisons, Olivier Bijotat, who also made Raphaël Varane grow at La Gaillette, believes that the Madrilenian, even earlier, had more technique at the start thanks to an academic training but had to gain in power. ” Dayot, his first know-how, is his power. Before VA, he was in Évreux, from street football. He did not feed on the same structures as Raphaël. But he quickly learned. »

“A charming young man”

Olivier Bijotat thinks like many that the future of Dayot Upamecano, pursued by the whole of Europe (Real, Bayern, PSG, the entire Premier League), can be registered in blue. And we will be watching Didier Deschamps’ next list for the match in Sweden on September 5. ” He has that ambition. And inevitably, a lot of people will pay attention to him now … “, Slips the coach, who believes that his foal still needs to accumulate experience,” cram those Champions League matches
To stabilize among the best in the world. ” He now displays such a level of play… There he stands out in one of the best matches that Europe can offer. His match is very striking. It speaks to everyone. It’s beautiful
», Says Bijotat. Who rejoices in the success of a ” boy cream, a balanced, charming young man
“. Tiptoed to VA one day in 2013, for a try, with gold in his legs. Left stronger and bigger, for a champion’s destiny.

1. In Valenciennes, Dayot Upamecano was also coached for a season by Franck Triqueneaux at the training center then managed by Frédéric Zago.


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