5 things you need to know about France’s 44-second man Randal Kolo Muani, Latest Football News - The New Paper

5 things you need to know about France’s 44-second man Randal Kolo Muani

The French conveyor belt continues to produce football talents at alarming pace.

On just his fourth cap, Randal Kolo Muani had the honour of scoring his first international goal at a World Cup.

Who is this substitute who scored the third-fastest goal at the World Cup?

1. He shares a hometown with Kylian Mbappe

He was born on Dec 5, 1998, just 15 days before French superstar Kylian Mbappe.

While Kolo Muani is of Congolese descent, he was born in Bondy, a town in the north-eastern suburbs of Paris, just as Mbappe was.

Interestingly, the commune of over 50,000 people also produced France internationals like Jonathan Ikone and William Saliba.

2. He is a relatively late bloomer

The 24-year-old forward was still playing third-tier football on loan with Boulogne in 2020, and it looked like he would be going nowhere except for early baths as he got sent off thrice in his first five outings.

However, upon returning to Nantes, he chipped in with nine goals and eight assists in the 2020-21 season, with his most important contribution being an away goal in a relegation playoff against Toulouse which helped his club stay in Ligue 1.

In 2021-22, he scored 12 goals and led his team to the Coupe de France trophy.

3. He has been compared to Thierry Henry

Kolo Muani is 1.87m, Henry is 1.88m, but more than that, both are tricky and pacy players with a languid dribbling style, and were eventually redeployed as centre-forwards.

France coach Didier Deschamps said: “Randal has many qualities. He has a presence about him, runs in behind from deep and is a good finisher.”

4. He wasn’t supposed to be in Qatar

Kolo Muani had played for France at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and received his first senior cap only in September in a 2-0 win over Austria.

However, he was left out of the World Cup squad by Deschamps and was recalled only after Christopher Nkunku was ruled out through injury.

And now, he is possibly just 90 minutes from being a World Cup winner.

Frankfurt’s French forward Randal Kolo Muani (centre) scoring the German side’s winner against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Nov 1. The goal sent Frankfurt into the last 16 of the tournament. PHOTO: AFP

5. He is making up for lost time

Scoring just 44 seconds after being thrown into France’s semi-final against Morocco, Kolo Muani has the honour of scoring the third-quickest goal by a World Cup substitute.

Uruguay’s Richard Morales took just 16 seconds to score against Senegal in 2002, while Dane Ebbe Sand required only 26 seconds to net against Nigeria in 1998.

And it seems like he is finally getting into the groove after a rough start to his career trying to break through from the Nantes youth team.

He earned a five-year contract with Eintracht Frankfurt in 2022 and has been an instant hit.

While he did receive another red card, he also set a German Bundesliga record of nine assists in his first 13 league games.

He recorded eight goals in 23 games across all competitions for the Eagles before the World Cup kicked off. One of those goals was the winner away at Sporting Lisbon to send his team to the last 16 of the Champions League.

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