Tuesday Oct 04, 2022. 15:00
Historically, the Spanish LaLiga has been a home to some of the greatest African players of all time. In view of the rest of the 2022/23 LaLiga season, here are five players who will be under the spotlight for much of the campaign.
Franck Kessie – Barcelona
Kessie joined the Catalan club ahead of the 2022/23 season in what was a high profile move for the African star. In a packed midfield department, Kessie is yet to start a game under Xavi Hernandez and was predominately used as a substitute this season.
Known for proving strength and stability in the middle of the park, the Ivorian’s progress will be keenly monitored as he attempts to regain the form he displayed at former club, AC Milan.
Samuel Chukwueze – Villareal
In Villareal’s first defeat of the 22/23 LaLiga season, Chukwueze was subject to criticism from manager Unai Emery for failing to uphold his defensive duties.
However, in the same breath, Emery described the attacker as a ‘quality’ forward. Able to play on either flank, more is to come from the 23-year-old who has been used as a substitute for most of the campaign. Chukwueze has the ability to beat players in 1v1 situations, while possessing clever finishing abilities.
Reinildo Mandava – Atletico Madrid
Hailing from Mozambique, Reinildo made the move from Lille to Atletico Madrid ahead of the current season. With Diego Simeone appreciating players of an aggressive and robust nature, the 28-year-old matched the Argentine’s specifications expected of an Atletico defender.
As a regular for the Madrid outfit, Reinildo has been a star turner for Simeone this season, with his displays going under the radar among some of the top performing African players in Europe.
Pathe Ciss – Real Vallecano
The Senegalese star strutted his stuff during a pre-season friendly against Manchester United earlier this year as he bossed the midfield against the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen. A towering figure, coupled with astute ball playing abilities makes Ciss an asset to his team.
Ciss’ ability to play in the central defensive midfield position, central midfield and centre-back position showcases his versatility and will be one to watch as the campaign progresses.
Inaki Williams – Athletic Bilbao
As the older brother to Nico Williams, who opted to represent the Spanish national team, Inaki recently pledged his allegiance to Ghana while being in the prime of his career.
The 27-year-old was Bilbao’s top scorer last season and is now one of the club’s most important players. With Ghana heading to the World Cup later this year, William’s form card will be updated regularly with the Black Stars acquiring the services of a versatile forward.