Euro 2020: Ranking the best African-origin stars at the tournament

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Sun, 6 Jun 2021 Source: goal.com

#6 Romelu Lukaku

Heads into the tournament on the back of winning an Italian title with Internazionale, Lukaku is in the form of his life and could be the difference as Belgium look to secure major silverware.

This could be the last chance for their fabled Golden Generation—of which Lukaku is a key member—and at 28, the ex-Manchester United man is a Golden Boot contender.

Lukaku’s father Roger was an international with Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

#5 Karim Benzema

Back in the France fold after six years in the wilderness, Benzema has the chance to end a largely unfulfilled international career on a high note.

He joins a squad that won the World Cup three years ago, and while there are questions about whether the forward will upset the balance of the team, he remains an elite striker.

Lyon-born Benzema could have represented Algeria.

#4 Presnel Kimpembe

Another player of Congolese origin, Kimpembe actually represented the DRC at U20 level—back in 2014—but ultimately opted to commit to France.

He was part of the side that won the World Cup in 2018, and has gone from strength to strength in the intervening years.

#3 David Alaba

Newly acquired by Real Madrid, Alaba is one of the world’s finest left-backs, and will be patrolling the wide areas for Austria at this summer’s Euros.

It could have been a different story had Vienna-born Alaba instead opted to represent Nigeria, the land of his father, a Yoruba prince from Ogere.

The 28-year-old is Austria’s star performer, although it sometimes feels as though he’s shouldering the burden of carrying the national side all on his own.

#2 Kylian Mbappe

A superstar at the World Cup three years ago, Mbappe is firmly established as one of the world’s top players, and was influential as Paris Saint-Germain reached a Champions League final.

He’s yet another African-origin talent playing at the pinnacle of the world game, although it could have been a different story at international level for the 22-year-old.

Mbappe’s father’s family hail from Cameroon—he’s reportedly related to Indomitable Lions great Samuel Mbappe—while his mother is of Algerian origin.

#1 N’Golo Kante

Surely in contention for the Ballon d’Or for his exploits for Chelsea in the business end of the Champions League, Kante will be eyeing more major success at the European Championships this summer.

He’s an elite central midfielder, and while once lauded for his immense defensive capabilities, he’s proven to be much more than a one-dimensional destroyer.

Paris-born Kante was eligible for Mali before making his Bleus debut, and could have followed in the magnificent tradition of Eagles midfielders from Mahamadou Diarra to Mohamed Sissoko.

Source: goal.com