Christopher Nkunku

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Christopher Nkunku
Christopher Nkunku 2021.jpg
Nkunku playing for RB Leipzig in 2021
Personal information
Full name Christopher Alan Nkunku[1]
Date of birth (1997-11-14) 14 November 1997 (age 24)
Place of birth Lagny-sur-Marne, France
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Position(s) Midfielder, forward
Club information
Current team
RB Leipzig
Number 18
Youth career
2003–2009 AS Marolles
2009–2010 Fontainebleau
2010–2015 Paris Saint-Germain
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2015–2016 Paris Saint-Germain B 27 (5)
2015–2019 Paris Saint-Germain 55 (8)
2019– RB Leipzig 94 (31)
National team
2012 France U16 3 (0)
2016 France U19 3 (0)
2016–2017 France U20 12 (0)
2018 France U21 6 (0)
2022– France 2 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 20:52, 21 May 2022 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 29 March 2022

Christopher Alan Nkunku (born 14 November 1997) is a French professional footballer who plays as a midfielder or forward[3] for Bundesliga club RB Leipzig and the France national team.

Nkunku is a graduate of the Paris Saint-Germain Academy and made his professional debut for the club in December 2015. He won three Ligue 1 titles and made 78 appearances in total for PSG before joining German club RB Leipzig in July 2019.

Nkunku represented France at multiple youth international levels, before making his debut for the senior national team in March 2022.

Early years[edit]

Nkunku was born on 14 November 1997 in Lagny-sur-Marne, Seine-et-Marne.[4] He began playing football with AS Marolles as a six-year-old.[4] In 2009, he joined Fontainebleau, where he was spotted by scouts of several professional clubs.[4] Despite his young age and childlike physique, he was noted for "his speed, his technique and his vision of the game", as recalled by Norbert Boj in 2020, former head of the Fontainebleau football school.[5] He would line up in all positions across the midfield, a versatility he, according to another coach at the club, owed to his "technical prowess, obviously, but especially his intelligence of play".[5]

Due to being considered too young and light, Nkunku was not signed by Lens, Le Havre and Monaco; clubs where he had been on trials.[4][5] He eventually signed with Paris Saint-Germain, where he was able to progress through the youth sides of INF Clairefontaine at U15-level.[6] Spending the weekdays at Clairefontaine and playing only on weekends with Paris Saint-Germain, he made the permanent move to the French powerhouse at the age of fifteen.[4][6]

Club career[edit]

Paris Saint-Germain[edit]

Nkunku joined the Paris Saint-Germain youth system in 2010.[7] He was a member of the youth team who were runners-up in the 2015–16 UEFA Youth League.[8] He made his professional debut at the age of 18 on 8 December 2015, in a UEFA Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk, replacing Lucas Moura after 87 minutes in a 2–0 home win.[9] He scored his first professional goal in a 7–0 home win against Bastia in the Coupe de France on 7 January 2017.[10] On 10 March 2018, he scored his first brace as a professional, in a 5–0 win against Metz.[11]

RB Leipzig[edit]

On 18 July 2019, RB Leipzig announced Nkunku's signing on a five-year deal for an approximate €13 million transfer fee plus bonuses.[12] He made his debut for the club on 11 August in a DFB-Pokal match against VfL Osnabrück, which ended in a 3–2 victory.[13] His Bundesliga debut followed a week later, scoring his first competitive goal on the first matchday of the 2019–20 season in a 4–0 win over regional rivals Union Berlin.[14]

On 22 February 2020, Nkunku provided four assists in a 5–0 victory over Schalke 04. In doing so, he became just the second player in recent Bundesliga history to register four assists in a single match, after Szabolcs Huszti in 2012.[15]

On 15 September 2021, Nkunku scored a hat-trick for Leipzig in their 6–3 defeat to Manchester City in a 2021–22 UEFA Champions League group stage match.[16] He was the first player in the club's history to score a hat-trick in the Champions League.[17] On 25 September 2021, Nkunku scored a brace in a 6–0 win against Hertha BSC.[18] A week later, he scored another brace in a win against VfL Bochum, making this the first time he scored back-to-back braces in his career.[19]

International career[edit]

Nkunku was born in France and is of Congolese descent.[20][21] He was a French youth international, representing the country at under-16, under-19, under-20 and under-21 levels.[22] He made three appearances for the under-20 team at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.[23]

Nkunku was called up to the senior France squad for the first time for friendly matches against Ivory Coast and South Africa on 25 and 29 March 2022, respectively.[24] He made his debut as a starter in the game against Ivory Coast.[25]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of match played 21 May 2022[23]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Paris Saint-Germain B 2015–16 CFA 18 2 18 2
2016–17 CFA 9 3 9 3
Total 27 5 27 5
Paris Saint-Germain 2015–16 Ligue 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 1[a] 0 6 0
2016–17 Ligue 1 8 1 4 1 3 0 1[a] 0 0 0 16 2
2017–18 Ligue 1 20 4 3 1 3 0 0 0 1[b] 0 27 5
2018–19 Ligue 1 22 3 5 0 1 0 0 0 1[b] 1 29 4
Total 55 8 12 2 7 0 2 0 2 1 78 11
RB Leipzig 2019–20 Bundesliga 32 5 3 0 9[a] 0 44 5
2020–21 Bundesliga 28 6 5 0 7[a] 1 40 7
2021–22 Bundesliga 34 20 6 4 12[c] 11 52 35
Total 94 31 14 4 28 12 136 47
Career total 176 44 26 6 7 0 30 12 2 1 241 63
  1. ^ a b c d Appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  2. ^ a b Appearance in Trophée des Champions
  3. ^ Six appearances and seven goals in UEFA Champions League, six appearances and four goals in UEFA Europa League

International[edit]

As of match played 29 March 2022[26]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
France 2022 2 0
Total 2 0

Honours[edit]

Paris Saint-Germain[23]

RB Leipzig

Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. 9 January 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Christopher Nkunku". rbleipzig.com. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Christopher Nkunku: Former PSG fringe player flourishing under Julian Nagelsmann at RB Leipzig". bundesliga.com. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e Folgoas, Ronan (27 March 2017). "PSG. Christopher Nkunku: Je ne suis pas un surdoué". Le Parisien (in French). Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Butel, Simon; Baron, Jérémie (18 August 2020). "Nkunku, un Titi sur la route du PSG". SOFOOT (in French). Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  6. ^ a b Raynal, Thierry (4 September 2015). "PSG : ce jeune qui a tapé dans l'œil de Laurent Blanc". Le Parisien (in French). Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  7. ^ "Christopher Nkunku reminiscent of Blaise Matuidi as his star rises at PSG". ESPN.co.uk. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  8. ^ "UEFA Youth League report: Chelsea 2 Paris Saint-Germain 1". Chelsea FC. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  9. ^ "PSG - Christopher Nkunku fête ses débuts professionnels en C1" [PSG – Christopher Nkunku celebrates his professional debut in C1]. madeinfoot.ouest-france.fr (in French). 8 December 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  10. ^ "PSG vs. Bastia". soccerway.com. 7 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Nkunku 8/10 as PSG thrash Metz". ESPN.com. 10 March 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Transferts : Christopher Nkunku (PSG) au RB Leipzig (officiel)" [Transfers: Christopher Nkunku (PSG) to RB Leipzig (official)]. lequipe.fr (in French). 18 July 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  13. ^ "Osnabrück vs. RB Leipzig – 11 August 2019". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Union Berlin lose on Bundesliga debut". BBC Sport. 18 August 2019. Archived from the original on 6 December 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Christopher Nkunku: MD23's Man of the Matchday and RB Leipzig's quadruple-assist hero". bundesliga.com - the official Bundesliga website. Archived from the original on 20 March 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  16. ^ "Manchester City 6 RB Leipzig 3". BBC. 15 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Nkunku announces himself with hat-trick against Manchester City". marca.com. 16 September 2021. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  18. ^ "RB Leipzig vs. Hertha Berlin - 25 September 2021". Soccerway.com. Retrieved 2022-04-04.
  19. ^ "RB Leipzig vs. Bochum". Soccerway.com. 2 October 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  20. ^ "Sélection - Ces jeunes pousses du PSG qui ont snobé la RD Congo". madeinfoot.com (in French). Made In Foot. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Christo Nkunku: " Jouer pour la R.D. Congo? Pourquoi pas "". actualitesdesleopards.com (in French). Actualites des leopards. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Christopher Nkunku". fff.fr. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  23. ^ a b c "C. Nkunku". Soccerway. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  24. ^ "RB Leipzig star Christopher Nkunku earns first France call-up". bundesliga.com. 17 March 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  25. ^ "France 2–1 Ivory Coast: Aurelien Tchouameni grabs late winner for Didier Deschamps' side in Marseille". eurosport.com. 25 March 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Christopher Nkunku". EU-Football.info. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  27. ^ "PSG wrap up Ligue 1 title with Monaco win | Goal.com". www.goal.com.
  28. ^ "PSG Champions as Lille held at Toulouse". www.ligue1.com. 21 April 2019. Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  29. ^ "PSG thrash Monaco to win French Super Cup as Neymar plays 15 minutes". ESPN. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  30. ^ "RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku named 2021/22 Bundesliga Player of the Season". Bundesliga. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  31. ^ "Bundesliga Player of the Month". Bundesliga. Archived from the original on 17 September 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  32. ^ "2021/22 UEFA Europa League Team of the Season". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 20 May 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022.

External links[edit]