Wednesday Dec 20, 2017. 19:00
With this set to be the last PLAYER SPOTLIGHT of 2017 focusing on Faouzi Ghoulam, let’s take a look back at the Algerian full-backs’ year.
The Napoli player began 2017 by representing Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon, though it was a disappointing tournament for the Fennec Foxes, as they exited in the first round after finishing third in their group.
That set the tone for Algeria’s national team for the rest of the year, as they eventually slumped to last place in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group behind Nigeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
This denied Ghoulam the chance to be present at a second World Cup, having featured for the North Africans at the 2014 finals in Brazil.
On the club front, the 26-year-old helped Napoli finish third on the Serie A table, reach the last 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League, and get as far as the semifinals of the Coppa Italia.
The start of the 2017/18 season has seen some upheaval for Ghoulam, who had entered the last year of his contract and was being strongly linked with a move to one of the Premier League heavyweights, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea the frontrunners for his signature.
However, in November he suffered a major knee injury in a Champions League match against Man City - this has effectively ended his season, though there is hope that he could return to first-team action toward the end of the campaign.
With speculation over his future rife, Ghoulam committed himself to Napoli until 2022 by signing a new contract earlier this month.
The Algerian will hope 2018 sees him return to full fitness and form, as he looks to help his club continue their rise back to prominence in Italian football, while Algeria will welcome his return for the resumption of 2019 AFCON qualifiers.