World Cup’s Asian Wave

 

Full Name: Alphonse Areola

Birth Date: 27 February 1993

Place of Birth: France

Playing Years: 1999 to present

Position(s): Goalkeeper

Football Club (Current): Paris Saint-Germain

Awards:

UEFA European Under-19 Championship Team of the Tournament: 2012

Ligue 2 Goalkeeper of the Year: 2014

Ligue 2 Team of the Season: 2014

Eurosport Revelation of the Year: 2014

UEFA Champions League Breakthrough XI: 2016

Formative Years

Alphonse Areola is another character in the world’s football scene that you would want to know more about. The sport is quite known for its culturally and ethnically diverse players, one of them, for instance, is Areola, a goalkeeper with Southeast Asian roots, who is Filipino-French born from two Filipino parents.

Areola began playing the sport when he was 6 for Entente Sportive des Petits Anges, spending 7 years here before signing for Paris Saint-Germain. At the age of 15, he was loaned and enrolled at the elite Clairefontaine football academy to grow his skills. After a year, he went back to PSG, and, in July 2009, signed a three-year contract with the Parisians, enrolling himself to PSG’s academy.

Senior Career and Loans

As Areola made it to PSG academy’s advance level, he made his senior debut with a 3-1 victory over Stade Brestois in May 2013. After a brief period of playing for PSG, he was loaned a couple of times for three teams.

In 2013, he was loaned to RC Lens, helping the team finish second in 2013 Ligue 2. His impressive performance throughout the season made him 2013 Ligue 2’s Goalkeeper of the Year. He was also awarded the Eurosport Revelation of the Year award, topping N’Golo Kante and Gaëtan Bussmann.

In July 2014, Areola was, then, loaned to SC Bastia for the 2014-15 Ligue 1, and made his debut with a 3-3 draw with Marseille. He made 13 clean sheets across 39 appearances throughout the season.

Areola had a taste of La Liga in June 2015 when he was loaned to Villarreal, and made his debut in the club in a 1-1 draw with Real Betis. He kept 15 clean sheets across 26 goals, placing him in the ranks of Jan Oblak of Atlético Madrid, and Claudio Bravo of Barcelona. He broke the club record of 615 minutes played without conceding a goal, previously held by Diego López.

Return to PSG and International Career

After his success in La Liga, Areola returned to PSG for the 2016-17 Ligue 1, and kept four clean sheets in eight appearances. In the following season, he helped his team win 2-1 against Monaco FC, earning him a  Trophée des Champions.

Areola also played for France’s national team. A product of French football academies, he played at every youth level from U16 to U21. He was hero for France in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup Final where he kept the goals in clean sheets from Uruguay’s Emiliano Velázquez and Giorgian De Arrascaeta, bringing France its  first ever triumph in the tournament. In the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, he made his debut as senior player in the national team, where he was named man of the match in a game against Germany.

Moreover, Areola, being born from Filipino parents, is considered eligible to play for the Philippines national team and has been invited by the Southeast Asian team to play for them.

 

By @EliaasMJ

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