Football

Nabil Fekir could be the new Zinedine Zidane

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Since Zinedine Zidane's departure from the French national team in 2006, following over a decade of brilliance with Les Bleus, Raymond Domenech, Laurent Blanc and now Didier Deschamps have fruitlessly experimented with different creative options such as Samir Nasri and Mathieu Valbuena in an attempt to replace France's iconic number 10.

The current French setup is full of wonderful midfield talent, notably Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba who would walk into most teams in the world, and now with Nabil Fekir they may well have finally found the 'New Zizou'. 

The ex-Real Madrid star is the finest footballer to wear the French blue. The infamous headbutt on Marco Materazzi in his last international appearance has done nothing to tarnish his reputation as a national icon.

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While it is likely that Fekir will never reach Zidane's level, the 22-year-old may well be able to make his mark on the national team as he will again audition for the coveted number 10 position in this improving French side under Didier Deschamps.

The France coach will hope his side continues to build on their encouraging form in the two upcoming friendly fixtures against Portugal and Serbia as they prepare for Euro 2016 as the host nation. 

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Parallels between Zidane and Fekir

The parallels between the two playmakers are there for all to see. Both are born to Algerian parents and possess a host of creative ability to unlock defences. Zidane was a physical beast and a player blessed with desire to accompany his enormous technical talent. Fekir, like his illustrious fellow Frenchman, is well built and has the balance and trickery to give defenders nightmares. 

The French international has started the new Ligue 1 season with a bang as Lyon strive to challenge PSG all the way for the league title.

Last season's runners-up have looked short of attacking flair with a series of toothless performances and an underperforming star striker in Alexandre Lacazette, however, on Saturday it was the diminutive playmaker Nabil Fekir who lit up Lyon as he led his side to an impressive 0-4 away win at Caen with a stunning hat-trick and an assist.

Fekir could emulate Zidane at international level

Fekir's performance was faultless as he showed a ruthless streak in front of goal that will surely ensure that beats the likes of Mathieu Valbuena and Moussa Sissoko to a starting playmaker spot in next week's international fixtures. 

Fekir is a Lyon man born and bred and will not be leaving the club this summer - even if there are lucrative offers from abroad.

He has continually been linked with a move away from the Stade Gerland, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger known to be a keen admirer of the youngster, however, for the the coming season, Lyon's star man is focused on repaying Lyon's faith in him - "I want to give back to OL (Olympique Lyonnais) what the club has given me," he told France Football, according to Sky Sports.

The talent coupled with his evident motivation will take him far in a career that is only just taking off.

His club will be well aware that his transfer fee is only going to rise if he continues to put in performances like he did at the weekend and with Lyon now playing in the Champions League, last season's Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year will know that the world's best teams will be keeping a close eye on his progress on the European stage.

The whole of France will be behind him and hope that he can play a key role in their home European Championships as they bid to win their first major tournament since the last time they last played host - namely the 1998 World Cup, where a certain Zinedine Zidane announced himself on the biggest stage of them all with two goals in the final.

While Fekir can only dream of having a similar impact for his country next summer, the future of French football is seemingly in good hands with the little Lyon man leading the charge for another trophy.

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Topics:
Football
Lyon
Zinedine Zidane
Arsenal
Arsene Wenger

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