Nicolas Nkoulou

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Nicolas Nkoulou
Nicolas N'Koulou.jpg
Personal information
Full name Nicolas Alexis Julio Nkoulou Ndoubena
Date of birth (1990-03-27) 27 March 1990 (age 26)
Place of birth Yaoundé, Cameroon
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Lyon
Number 3
Youth career
Kadji Sports Academy
2007–2008 AS Monaco
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2008–2011 Monaco 78 (0)
2011–2016 Marseille 162 (5)
2016– Lyon 5 (0)
National team
2008 Cameroon U23 3 (0)
2008– Cameroon 68 (1)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:01, 19 September 2016 (UTC).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 3 December 2015

Nicolas Alexis Julio Nkoulou Ndoubena (born 27 March 1990), commonly referred to as Nicolas Nkoulou, is a Cameroonian footballer who plays as a defender for French Ligue 1 club Lyon.

Club career[edit]

AS Monaco[edit]

Nkoulou began his career at Kadji Sports Academy in Douala, the same academy that produced the likes of Samuel Eto'o, Carlos Kameni, and Eric Djemba-Djemba. In late 2007, it was announced that he was acquired by the principality-based side AS Monaco. He agreed to a three-year professional contract with the club.[1] He spent the latter portion of the 2007–08 season playing with Monaco's CFA squad, before joining the squad for preseason in July 2008, where he was handed the number 3 kit.[2]

NKoulou made two appearances during the pre-season starting their opening friendly match against fellow Ligue 1 side Toulouse and also starting against Croatian side NK Zagreb. He made his professional debut on 13 September 2008 in a 2–0 victory over Lorient starting the match before being substituted in the 65th minute.[3] Though he made 24 appearance in the 2008–09 season,

The 2009–10 season saw NKoulou to play in defensive midfielder for the most of the season under the new management of Guy Lacombe and newly signing, Sébastien Puygrenier.[4] As the 2009–10 season progressed, NKoulou signed a new contract with the club, keeping him until 2012[5] and was then reverted back to central defence.[6][7][8] NKoulou also played in the Coupe de France Final, coming on as a substitute for Eduardo Costa in the 111th minutes, in a 1–0 loss against PSG[9] and went on to make 23 appearance in the 2009–10 season despite being committed to the African Cup of Nation.[10]

In the 2010–11 season, NKoulou found himself in the transfer speculation and ended up staying at the club despite fallen out with Lacombe.[11] NKoulou continued remain in the first team, playing in the defensive midfielder position for the most of the season and central defence. Despite suffering from injuries[12] and suspension,[13] NKoulou finished the 2010–11 season, making 30 appearance. However, following their relegation to Ligue 2, NKoulou was among key players to be expected to leave the club.[14]

His performances with Monaco have led to him being scouted by several prominent European clubs. English clubs Arsenal[15] Hull City,[16] Spanish sides Sevilla and Atlético Madrid,[17] and French champions Olympique Lyonnais have all declared their interests in the Cameroonian defender.[18] During his time at AS Monaco, NKoulou made 78 appearance and has started every match since playing the full 90 minutes in them all. He has yet to score a goal.

Olympique Marseille[edit]

N'Koulou pictured during his time at Marseille.

On 29 June 2011, NKoulou passed his medical and signed for four years with Marseille for worth €3.5 million.[19] Marseille and Lyon found themselves competing over their interest signing NKoulou before he chose Marseille.[20]

After missing two matches, due to suspension he received while at Monaco,[21] NKoulou made his Marseille debut on 14 August 2011, in a 2–2 draw against Auxerre.[22] In the next match against Saint Étienne on 21 August 2011, Nkoulou was involved in an incident with Florent Sinama Pongolle. But following the reviewing by the Disciplinary Committee of the LFP, he was received a three match ban.[23] While serving his suspension in the league, he made his Champions League debut on Matchday 1 of the Group–stage, helping a club kept a clean sheet, in a 1–0 win against Olympiacos on 13 September 2011 and went on to play ten Champions League Matches.[24] Eight days later on 21 September 2011, Nkolou made his return to the first team, in a 2–0 win over Evian.[25] His performance throughout October saw him earned the club’s player of the month of October.[26] Nkolou continued to remain in the first team for the 2011–12 season despite another suspension (which he got a two match ban against Dijon[27]) and a knee injury.[28] Despite this, Nkoulou helped the club win against Lyon 1–0 in the final of Coupe de la Ligue, winning the cup for their first piece of silverware since 1981, as well as, being named Man of the Match.[29][30] After finishing the 2011–12 appearance, making 46 appearance in all competition, Nkoulou was named Trophées UNFP du football's Team of the Year of 2012[31] and was nominated for the Prix Marc-Vivien Foé Award, but finished as runner–up to Younès Belhanda.[32] Nevertheless, Nkoulou was awarded 2011–12 Olympique de Marseille Player of the Season.[citation needed]

In the 2012–13 season saw Nkoulou found himself in the transfer speculation when the club began to suffer financial trouble, but stayed at the club[33] and insisting on honouring his contract.[34] Nkoulou was ever–present in the 2012–13 season, having played all the match in the league and scored his first goal for the club, in a 2–1 win against Troyes on 3 March 2013.[35] During the season, Nkoulou suffered a knee ligament injury and was sidelined for weeks, but managed to return to the league.[36] At the end of the 2012–13 season, Nkoulou was named Trophées UNFP du football's Team of the Year of 2013 for the second time running.[37]

N'Koulou training at Marseille in 2012.

In the 2013–14 season, Nkoulou stated he is prepared to leave Marseille in the summer,[38] prompting attracted interests from his former club, Monaco,[39] who were just promoted back to Ligue 1, and Arsenal.[40] After the club set a higher price tag on him,[41] Nkoulou remained at the club and started a bad start when he conceded a goal, in a 3–1 win over Guingamp in the opening game of the season.[42] Despite this, Nkoulou redeem himself soon after to continouslly remain in the first team under the new management of Élie Baup.[43] On 4 January 2014, Nkoulou extended his contract with Marseille, keeping him until 2016.[44] As the 2013–14 season progressed, Nkoulou suffered a knee injury, which kept him sidelined for one match.[45] After making his return, Nkoulou went on to score two goals later in the season against Saint Étienne[46] and Sochaux.[47] Nkoulou later finished the 2013–14 season, making 46 appearance and scoring two times in all competition.

Ahead of the 2014–15 season, the club were keen on selling Nkoulou,[48] but following a friendly match against Bari, it appeared hinted that he wanted to stay at the club.[49] His good performance against Guingamp on 23 August 2014 earned him Team of the Week on Matchday 3.[50] Then on 19 October 2014, Nkoulou scored his first goal of the season, in a 2–0 win over Toulouse.[51] Two weeks later, on 2 November 2014, Nkoulou scored again, in a 2–1 win over Lens.[52] However, as the 2014–15 season, his appearance was soon restricted to 26 appearance in competition, due to injuries[53][54] and international commitment with Cameroon.[55] After two months without playing, Nkoulou made his first team return on 12 April 2015, in a 1–0 loss against Bordeaux[56] and went on to help the finished the season in the 4th place at two points of a qualification in the Champions League.

Ahead of the 2015–16 season, Nkoulou’s contract set to expire and haven’t renewed his contract,[57] though his future remained undecided.[58] In the 2015–16 season, Nkoulou made his first appearance of the season, having missed through opening game of the season, in a 1–0 loss against Reims on 16 August 2015.[59] In a match against Lille on 29 January 2016, Nkoulou captained Marseille for the first time following Steve Mandanda’s absent, which they drew 1–1.[60][61] In a match against Saint-Étienne on 21 February 2016, Nkoulou received a straight red card in a 1–1 draw.[62] In addition to his disciplinary issues, Nkoulou was suspended three times in every Coupe de France matches,[63][64][65] Nkoulou started in the Coupe de France Final, which they lost 4–2 against PSG.[66] At the end of the 2015–16 season, the club faced a difficult season with three different managers during the season and finished the league in thirteenth place and finished the season, making 41 appearance in all competition.

With his contract expiring at the end of the 2015–16 season, Nkoulou attracted interests around clubs, such as, Málaga,[67] Schalke 04,[68] Juventus[69] and Lazio.[70] However, on 27 June 2016, Nkoulou began talks with a move to stay in France by joining Lyon.[71]

Olympique Lyon[edit]

After spending five years at Marseille, with his contract at the club expired, Nkoulou moved to rivalsLyon on a four–year contract on 29 June 2016; coincidentally was the day he joined Marseille.[72] Upon joining the club, Nkoulou stated he joined Lyon to achieve greater things and was given number 3 shirt, which he quoted: ‘’“The No. 3? It is a wink to those close to me, because I am the youngest of three children.”’’[73]

Nkoulou played his first official match for Lyon at the Trophée des Champions, making his first start, in a 4–1 loss against Paris Saint–Germain.[74] A week later, he made his league debut for the club, in the opening game of the season, in a 3–0 win over Nancy.[75] In his first match against Marseille for the first time, which saw them drew 0–0 on 18 September 2016, Nkoulou received boos from Marseille supporters during the match every time he touched the ball.[76] Around the same time he was competing with Mouctar Diakhaby,[77] Nkoulou’s performance soon came under criticism by observers, prompting Manager Bruno Génésio defended him.[78]

International career[edit]

N'Koulou was included in the Cameroon U-23 squad that participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics. He helped the squad reach the knockout round, where they were eliminated by Brazil.

N’Koulou was called up by the national team for the first time on 4 November 2008[79] He would make his international debut in the senior squad on 19 November 2008 in a friendly against South Africa, which they lost 3–2.[80]

N’Koulou selected for the 2010 African Cup of Nations by Cameroon National coach Paul Le Guen[81] and went on to play four times in the cup competitions. Later in 2010, N’Koulou was called up again for the 2010 FIFA World Cup[82] and made his World Cup debut, making his first start and playing 90 minutes, in a 1–0 loss against Japan.[83] N’Koulou played all three matches in the World Cup, as Cameroon were eliminated in the Group Stage.

After captain Samuel Eto'o and vice–captain Eyong Enoh were suspended for five and two matches respectively by Cameroon Football Federation for their action of boycotting a friendly match against Algeria,[84] Nkoulou was appointed as captain of Cameroon on a temporary basis and captained his first national match, in a 1–0 win over Guinea-Bissau.[85]

Following Eto’o refused to return to the national squad in late-August 2012, The Cameroon Football Federation stripped him of his captaincy in response and Nkoulou was appointed as a new captain of Cameroon.[86][87] In the FIFA World Cup, Nkoulou was among 23 players to be included for the squad.[88] Nkoulou played all three matches and retained his captaincy, as Cameroon struggled in the World Cup after losing three matches that saw them eliminated in the World Cup. The following year, Nkoulou was called up into the squad by the national team for the African Cup of Nations.[89]

Two years later on 26 March 2016, Nkoulou scored his first international goal, in a 2–2 draw against South Africa, the team he made his national debut eight years ago.[90]

Career Statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 9 May 2016
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Champions League Europa League Total
2008–09 Monaco Ligue 1 24 0 1 0 1 0 26 0
2009–10 Monaco Ligue 1 24 0 3 0 1 0 28 0
2010–11 Monaco Ligue 1 30 0 1 0 2 0 33 0
Total AS Monaco 78 0 5 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 87 0
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Champions League Europa League Total
2011–12 Marseille Ligue 1 30 0 2 0 4 0 10 0 46 0
2012–13 Marseille Ligue 1 38 1 2 0 1 0 7 0 48 1
2013–14 Marseille Ligue 1 37 2 2 0 2 0 5 0 46 2
2014–15 Marseille Ligue 1 24 2 1 0 1 0 26 2
2015–16 Marseille Ligue 1 33 0 2 0 - - 5 0 39 0
Total Olympique de Marseille 162 5 9 0 8 0 15 0 12 0 205 5
Career total 240 5 14 0 12 0 15 0 12 0 292 5

Personal life[edit]

Nkoulou said when not playing football, he enjoy listening to music and that he doesn’t drink alcohol, even he’s with friends.[91]

Nkoulou is friends with his national and then Marseille team–mate, Stéphane Mbia, who considered him as a brother.[92]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]