Bundesliga side Schalke stand between Manchester City and a place in the quarter-final of the Champions League.
Domenico Tedesco’s side progressed through to the round of 16 after finishing second in Group D.
But their form in the league has been a real concern. The Royal Blues have failed to meet expectations this season and are 14th in the German top flight, having won just once in 2019.
When they come up against Pep Guardiola’s City, they’ll be relying on any advice that 18-year-old winger Rabbi Matondo can give them.
Matondo was signed by Man City in 2016 but was blocked from playing for them until March 2017 following a dispute with his former club, Cardiff City.
In January 2019, the Wales international followed in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho by moving to the Bundesliga, with Schalke paying £9.6 million for him up front and add-ons taking the total fee to £11.3m.
“Before coming here I already knew a bit about Schalke 04: Mesut Ozil, Ivan Rakitic and Leroy Sané all took big steps in their careers here,” Matondo said upon his arrival, per the Manchester Evening News.
“Schalke 04 is the right decision for my career and I’m happy to now be a part of this club and their future plans.”
Matondo ran 20m faster than Leroy Sane
Matondo made his debut in a 2-0 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach and has since appeared in two more matches for the club.
What immediately stands out when watching the teenager in action is his pace, and Matondo even has bragging rights over Leroy Sane and Kyle Walker when it comes to speed.
During tests with Man City’s academy, Matondo was told that his 20-metre sprint time of 2.62 seconds was quicker than the times set by Sane, Walker and Raheem Sterling.
"We did fitness tests and obviously we had to do 20m sprints and other things as well," Matondo told Wales Online last year.
"It turned out my time was the fastest in the academy, and it later came out that it was the fastest in the whole club.
"I'm not too sure about that personally, but that's what they said, and as you know there's some really fast players at Manchester City.”
It should be noted that Usain Bolt’s opening 20m time when he won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was 2.87 seconds.
Footage of Rabbi Matondo
YouTuber miroP10 has uploaded a Matondo highlights package that showcases the teen's skills, dribbles, pace and goals for Man City's academy and Wales.
It's hard not to be impressed.
Of course, it takes more than just lightning speed to become a top, top player and Osian Roberts, Wales’ national director, insists that Matondo has more to his game than that.
“Pace alone doesn’t necessarily get you anywhere. You need more than that,” Roberts said, per The Sun.
“I’ve seen a million players with pace, even Usain Bolt tried to be a footballer, but Rabbi has the ability to go past players and score goals.
“He’s got pace, trickery and guile. I remember he scored the winner for Wales in the 2015 Victory Shield against Northern Ireland at Dragon Park.
“He cut in from the left wing, went past three players and put the ball in the top corner from 25 yards. I’ve got high hopes for him.”
Matondo was handed his senior Wales debut last November and he stands to benefit from the opportunity being presented to him at Schalke.
He’ll certainly be out to prove a point when he comes up against his former club in the Champions League.News Now - Sport News