Idrissa Gueye muzzled Real Madrid

Idrissa Gueye and Toni Kroos, during the PSG-Real Madrid match, at Parc des Princes in Paris, on September 18th. GONZALO FUENTES / REUTERS

It remains to find a song for him, because the one intoned by the turn Auteuil was most summary, but it will put it on the account of the novelty: Idrissa Gueye was done, Wednesday, September 18, in ninety Cannibalistic minutes against Real Madrid (3-0), a place in the heart of the Parc des Princes for his fourth match under the Parisian jersey.

The place was to be taken, since two seasons that Blaise Matuidi had left a pit in the Paris midfield by starting for Juventus Turin. After the Senegalese's match against Zinedine Zidane's team, the world's biggest doubts are that the world champion has found a successor in the role of the indefatigable balloon scraper, who can also play forward by throwing himself by finding the right pass at the right time.

In a team whose usual attackers, with the exception of Edinson Cavani, defend their interests, there was a lack of stability in the middle of Paris also able to curb offensive offensives. A pug offering statistics fans figures that say a successful match (balloons recovered, duels won, key passes), and the coach a peace of mind. Wednesday was Christmas: everyone was served.

"It's a machine"

The numbers, first: no duel lost, 90 balls hit, six recovered, three opportunities created record interceptions, tackles, key passes and passes in the last third of the field. Incidentally, a decisive pass for Angel Di Maria on his second goal.

Thomas Tuchel, who kissed him tenderly as a talisman at the end of the match: "Of course it's the player we missed. We fought hard to buy it. It's a machine. He never stops running, he gets a lot, he scrapes a lot of balls, and, against a team like Real Madrid, it's super important. "

The teammates, delighted that Gueye ran for four: "It's amazing … I do not know how many balloons he got today (six, it was said), and it was not easy balloons. He managed to see before, to read the situation. " (Thiago Silva). "It's a monster, he had to do at least 12 kilometers. In addition to being a 'smoky', he is also technically good " (Presnel Kimpembe)

In detail, Idrissa Gueye has sought to prevent Toni Kroos to launch the offensives of Real Madrid and to block possible transmissions to Eden Hazard. The Senegalese is for many in the non-match of the Belgian, and his pressing on the German allowed Paris-Saint-Germain to start his attacks very high.

His contribution has allowed Marco Verratti to evolve more freely – which has not stopped the Italian, shining at times, to put his hands on his lap in the last twenty minutes.

"We really needed a player like that, praised the Italian the day before the meeting. Last year, I was a bit alone in the middle with more offensive players, and I had to deal with the balance of the team not to suffer counterfeit. There, I feel a little freer. I'm really happy he's here. "

Compared to Kanté

In Paris, Gueye, who "Quickly integrated into the group", merged into the collective as fast as in his previous clubs, Aston Villa and Everton. He had landed in the Premier League at age 25, after a post-training and five seasons in Lille, which had made him a good midfielder of Ligue 1, not a star.

In England, Gueye mutated: more skilful than the average reclaimers, taking advantage of his physical superiority in a championship where the intensity is key, he quickly established himself as the best reclaimer in the country … behind N'Golo Kante.

The two men are often compared, including by Steve Walsh, the man who recruited them (Leicester for Kante, Everton for Gueye). A downside: the Senegalese, who held David Beckham for his childhood idol, is more attracted to the goal than Kanté.

In England, not many people have understood that Paris-Saint-Germain has debauched this summer for 30 million euros without any major Premier League club finds nothing to say. No doubt the Parisian club, Thomas Tuchel in particular, had taken too much in advance in the court made in Senegal, already well started last winter.

If the PSG can have a regret, it is not to have concluded the case as of January. Because, Wednesday night, in the basement of the Parc des Princes, everyone spoke only Idrissa Gueye. Except the person concerned: "It's not the individualities that made the difference, but the team. (…) Individually, it's easier when everyone works together. " And for everyone, it's easier when Idrissa Gueye works.


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