From Yellow belt in judo to idolizing Pogba: 5 unknown facts about Aurelien Tchouameni, Real Madrid’s newest signing
After Casemiro, Luke Modric, and Toni Kroos – arguably the greatest midfield trident Real Madrid ever had – move on, the club has now Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde, and Eduardo Camavinga ready and waiting to take over for the next decade or so.
Per the always reliable Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid have secured Tchouameni’s signature for an estimated €80 million, plus add-ons that could post the total closer to €100 million with an announcement coming as early as Wednesday.
Here are 5 unknown facts you probably don’t know about Real Madrid’s newest signing:
5. Aurelien Tchouameni rejected offers from PSG and Liverpool over Real Madrid
The 22-year-old was clear with his agent and AS Monaco: if he was to be sold, it had to be to Real Madrid.
Though Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool made daring pushes for the promising midfielder, Tchouameni did not waver on his desired landing spot (unlike some). “Tchouaméni only wanted Real,” Romano reported.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp met with Tchouameni recently to discuss a move. He was swiftly turned away. PSG was willing to offer more for the French international with Kylian Mbappe taking part in the meetings, but still, Tchouameni knew he wanted Real Madrid and only Real Madrid. The newcomer is already oozing Madrista.
4. He has a yellow belt in Taekwondo
Even though he seems like a shy little kid on the pitch, off the pitch though, he is quite “dangerous”. He has a yellow belt in the Judo style of martial arts which he gained in his childhood.
3. He idolizes Ngolo Kante and Paul Pogba
The fact that Aurelien Tchouameni plays like both Kante and Pogba is no coincidence as he confirmed to GFFN that he idolises both and tries to model his game on them.
The youngster has also spent time watching a handful of other midfielders – he names Patrick Vieira, Sergio Busquets and Clarence Seedorf as other inspirations – but it’s Pogba and Kante who have dominated most of his time.
“Sometimes they laugh and call me ‘Pogba’ or ‘La Pioche’ (Pogba’s nickname),” Tchouameni told Onze Mondial. “After one game where I won a lot of balls, they called me ‘TchouaNgolo’.”
2. Cesc Fabregas is his big fan
At Monaco, Cesc Fabregas has had a front row seat to Aurelien Tchouameni’s development, and it’s safe to say that the Spaniard is a big fan of what he has seen.
“I think he can play anywhere in midfield and not have a problem,” Fabregas told Ligue1.com. “He can play as a defensive midfielder, a No.6, he can play as a No.8.
“In a few years’ time, I even believe he can become a good No.10 because he has the power to get into the box.”
1. He started his career as a striker
Aurelien Tchouameni began his footballing journey as a striker, but despite racking up the goals when he was six or seven years old, the decision was soon made to move him back into midfield.
An uncanny ability to recover possession, added to his towering frame, had youth coaches believing that Aurelien Tchouameni’s gifts were being wasted at that end of the pitch and instead repositioned him as a holding CDM first and then as a CM.
It was a transition which Tchouameni himself admits to struggling with at first, but it’s safe to say he’s figured it out now.