Mehdi Carcela

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Mehdi Carcela-González
Mehdi Carcela-González 2012.jpg
Carcela-González with Anzhi Makhachkala in 2012
Personal information
Full name Mehdi François Carcela-González[1]
Date of birth (1989-07-01) 1 July 1989 (age 28)
Place of birth Liège, Belgium
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Olympiacos
Number 33
Youth career
1994–2008 Standard Liège
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2008–2011 Standard Liège 83 (18)
2011–2013 Anzhi Makhachkala 31 (1)
2013–2015 Standard Liège 45 (6)
2015–2016 Benfica 20 (2)
2016–2017 Granada 22 (5)
2017– Olympiacos 6 (0)
National team
2004 Belgium U16 2 (0)
2005–2006 Belgium U17 11 (2)
2006–2007 Belgium U18 12 (1)
2009–2010 Belgium U21 8 (1)
2009–2010 Belgium 2 (0)
2011– Morocco 19 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 November 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 5 September 2017

Mehdi François Carcela-González (Arabic: المهدي كارسيلا‎; born 1 July 1989) is a Moroccan-Belgian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Superleague Greece club Olympiacos and the Morocco national team.

He began his career in his hometown club Standard Liège, playing 157 games and scoring 25 goals in two spells from 2008 to 2015. He won the league in 2009 and the cup two years later. Inbetween his two stints, he played for Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, joining for a fee of €5.7 million. In 2015, he signed with Benfica, and a year later with Granada.

Carcela-González represented Belgium at all youth levels and played twice for its senior team before changing his allegiance to his ancestral Morocco in 2010. He represented them at the 2012 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Club career[edit]

Standard Liège[edit]

Carcela-González is a product of the Standard Liège academy, having joined the club at age five. He made his professional debut at nineteen, when he came on as a substitute for Igor de Camargo in the 81st minute. Standard won 2–0 against Kortrijk on 13 September 2008.[2] He later made his European debut in the last game of the group stage of the UEFA Cup against Stuttgart on 18 December 2008, coming on as a substitute for Wilfried Dalmat in the 65th minute of a 3–0 away defeat.[3] In his first season, the club won the league and Belgian Super Cup, with him making only twelve appearances.

Carcela-González began the 2009–10 season as a substitute, as Standard won the Belgian Super Cup for the second time running. He then scored his first goal for the club and made an assist, in a 5–1 win over Roeselare on 15 August.[4] Four weeks later, on 13 September, he scored twice, as the team beat Mechelen 3–0.[5] He then scored in the next match six days later, in a 3–1 win over Lokeren.[6] On 24 November he was sent off in the Champions League group match at Arsenal after he head-butted Cesc Fàbregas in the waning moments of the 2–0 defeat at Emirates Stadium.[7] As a result, Carcela-González missed two matches in the next European games.[8] This season proved a breakthrough season for Carcela-González, as he scored five goals in 44 appearances in all competitions.

Carcela-González with Standard Liège in 2009

In the 2010–11 season, Carcela-González's performances were observed by Zinedine Zidane from Real Madrid.[9] He made an impressive start to the season when he scored four goals in two games against Lierse on 6 August[10] and Lokoren eight days later.[11] He then scored three goals in three matches between game weeks 10 and 12, as he helped the club humiliate Anderlecht in a 5–1 win;[12] then scored another in a loss against Genk on 17 October;[13] and a 2–1 win against Gent a week later.[14] At the end of 2010, Carcela-González was listed among the 100 best young players in the world by Don Balón.[15]

On 17 May 2011, he was on the receiving end of a kick in the face from Chris Mavinga while both players were tussling for the ball in a league match against Genk, which left him with several facial fractures and broken teeth.[16] After the match, Mavinga apologised to Carcela-González for his actions.[17] Meanwhile, that season, Carcela-González would help the club progress in the Belgian Cup by scoring in the second leg of the semi final, as Standard Liege beat Gent 4–1 to reach the final. Carcela-González had surgery to treat the injury he sustained from Mavinga.[18] He described the incident as the "most difficult period of his life" because he feared that he could have died.[19] As a result of having surgery,[20] He missed the final of the Belgian Cup, in which his team won 2–0 against Westerlo. By the end of the season, Carcela-González had made 44 appearances in all competitions and scoring 14 times, making him the club's top scorer of the 2010–11 season.

Anzhi Makhachkala[edit]

In September 2011, Carcela-González moved to Russia by joining Anzhi Makhachkala for €5.7 million, where he signed a four-year contract.[21] Upon joining the club, he revealed that Spartak Moscow offered a wage double what Anzhi offered.[22] However, Spartak Moscow's sporting director, Dmitri Popov, denied the claim, suggesting he joined Anzhi because of his religion. Makhachkala, capital of the Republic of Dagestan, has a large Muslim population and Carcela-González joined with his compatriot teammate Mbark Boussoufa.[22]

In his first season, Carcela-González made only eight appearances, because of his injury concerns and his upcoming commitments in the African Cup of Nations.[23][24] At one point, Carcela-González played in the centre forward position on 1 April 2012, in a 1–0 loss against Rubin Kazan.[25]

In his first full season, Carcela-González saw his future at the club in doubt and considered leaving the club if he did not get enough playing time, and the club management considered selling him.[26] As a result, he was suspected to be moving to Udinese[27] Despite this situation, he scored his first goal for the club, in a 1–0 win over Amkar Perm on 5 August 2012.[28] In the UEFA Europa League play-off round, Carcela-González scored again, as Anzhi thrashed AZ 5–0, beating them 6–0 on aggregate.[29] From there, Carcela-González had an extended run in the first team that he considered a step forward in his career.[30]

In August 2013, following restructuring at business level, Anzhi chose to transfer list its whole squad, including Carcela-González.[31] Following this, he expressed a desire to leave the club, and was rumored to be moving back to Standard, or to Roma,[32] Marseille, Toulouse or Nice.[33]

Return to Standard Liège[edit]

After two years in Russia, Carcela-González returned to Standard Liège on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee.[34]

On 8 December 2013, after Oud-Heverlee Leuven's Bjorn Ruytinx committed a bad foul on Carcela-González and then appeared to be laughing, Carcela-González got up, punched him in the face, and was sent off.[35] He received a four-match suspension.[36] He scored in a 1–0 against Charleroi on 15 February 2014.[37] Carcela-González then scored his second goal of the season, in a 1–0 win over Anderlecht on 30 March 2014.[38] In the last game of the season, he scored for the third time of the season, in a 1–0 win over Gent, but Anderlecht's victory gave them instead of Standard the title.[39]

Benfica[edit]

On 13 June 2015, Carcela-González signed a four-year deal with Portuguese champions Benfica.[40] He debuted for the team on 23 August in a 1–0 away loss at Arouca in the Primeira Liga,[41] and scored his first goal for Benfica on 16 October in a 2–1 away win at Vianense in the Taça de Portugal.[42] Two weeks later, he scored his first goal in the Primeira Liga, in a 4–0 league win at Tondela.[43] He was mostly used as a substitute as the Reds retained their title, and played four matches in their victorious Taça da Liga campaign but was an unused substitute in the final.[44]

Granada[edit]

On 31 August 2016, Carcela-González signed a four-year contract with Spanish club Granada.[45][46] He made his La Liga debut on 11 September as a 65th-minute substitute for Omer Atzili in a 2–1 home loss to Eibar, and five days later he scored his first goal, opening a 2–2 draw at fellow Andalusians Real Betis.[47] Carcela-González finished with 24 games and five goals across all competitions while his team were relegated in last place.

Olympiakos[edit]

On 7 July 2017, Olympiacos officially announced the signing of Carcela-González on a three-year deal.[48] He was officially set for release from the club on 4 December 2017 as his performances and work rate did not live up to the expectations of the Olympiacos management.[49] On 18 January 2018, he officaily returned to Olympiacos first team training sessions as he found no other team to continue his career. [50]

International career[edit]

He initially chose to represent his country of birth, Belgium, and even played two friendlies with the Red Devils,[51][52] but in December 2010 he changed his mind and decided to represent Morocco.[53]

In February 2011, Carcela-González made his debut with the Atlas Lions of Morocco against Niger in a 3–0 win for his new side, coming on as a late substitute and winning a penalty.[54] After making his debut, he spoke out on his decision to play for Morocco, saying that he is proud to represent the national team and that it felt "like a childhood dream".[55]

Carcela-González made the squad for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, playing two matches in a group stage exit.

On 11 October 2016, Carcela-González scored his first goal for Morocco in a 4–0 friendly victory against Canada at the Stade de Marrakech.[56]

Manager Hervé Renard named Carcela-González in his squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.[57] He played one match, the opening 1–0 loss to the DR Congo, in a quarter-final finish.

International goal[edit]

As of match played 11 October 2016. Morocco score listed first, score column indicates score after each Carcela-González goal.[58]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 11 October 2016 Stade de Marrakech, Marrakesh, Morocco 12  Canada 1–0 4–0 Friendly

Personal life[edit]

Carcela-González was born in Liège, Belgium, to a Spanish father and Moroccan mother.[59] He remains in touch with his hometown.[60]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 29 November 2017[61][62][63]

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Standard Liège 2008–09 13 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 15 0
2009–10 32 5 2 0 0 0 10 0 1 0 45 5
2010–11 38 13 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 44 14
Total 83 18 8 1 0 0 12 0 1 0 104 19
Anzhi 2011–12 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
2012–13 20 1 2 0 0 0 14 1 0 0 36 2
2013–14 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Total 31 1 2 0 0 0 14 1 0 0 47 2
Standard Liège 2013–14 25 3 2 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 30 3
2014–15 20 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 23 3
Total 45 6 2 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 53 6
Benfica 2015–16 20 2 1 1 4 0 4 0 0 0 29 3
Total 20 2 1 1 4 0 4 0 0 0 29 3
Granada 2016–17 22 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 24 5
Total 22 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 24 5
Olympiacos 2017–18 6 0 2 0 0 0 8 1 0 0 16 1
Total 6 0 2 0 0 0 8 1 0 0 16 1
Career totals 207 32 17 2 4 0 44 2 1 0 273 36

International[edit]

As of 5 September 2017[58]
National team Year Apps Goals
Belgium 2009 1 0
2010 1 0
Total 2 0
Morocco 2011 3 0
2012 4 0
2014 3 0
2016 4 1
2017 5 0
Total 19 1

Honours[edit]

[64]

Standard Liège
Anzhi Makhachkala
Benfica

References[edit]

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  28. ^ "Карсела-Гонсалес: моя задача состояла в том, чтобы поменять ход игры с "Амкаром"" [Carcela-González: my goal was to change the course of the game with 'Amkar'] (in Russian). Championat.com. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
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  33. ^ ""Марсель", "Ницца" и "Тулуза" интересуются Карсела-Гонсалесом" ['Marseille', 'Nice' and 'Toulouse' interested in Carcela-González] (in Russian). Championat.com. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
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  64. ^ Mehdi Carcela at Soccerway. Retrieved 15 June 2015.

External links[edit]