'From virtual unknown to rising star in three games' - Goal's World Player of the Week Zakaria Bakkali

World Player of the Week
Zakaria Bakkali
AGE 17

Zulte-Waregem 0-3 PSV

There have been 221 previous editions of Goal's World Player of the Week award. However, it is doubtful whether any previous recipient of the accolade has had a more spectacularly life-changing seven days than our latest winner, Zakaria Bakkali.

On Wednesday evening, in what was just his third appearance for PSV, the 17-year-old Belgian marked his Champions League debut with an exquisitely executed volley in a 3-0 win over Zulte Waregem.

Less than 24 hours later, he had been named in Marc Wilmots' Belgium squad for next Wednesday's friendly against France. There were those who questioned the wisdom of calling up a teenager on the back of just three competitive outings and one goal in professional football.

However, now there is nothing but incredible excitement at Bakkali's likely international debut in Brussels, with the winger having not only celebrated but justified his inclusion with a stunning hat-trick in PSV's 5-0 demolition of NEC on Saturday night.

As Goal Netherlands' Seran van Gemert explains, the Standard Liege academy product's sensational exploits not only wrote his place in the history books, but created an instant sense of anticipation and excitement around his potential.

"Bakkali has gone from an unknown youth player to a rising star in just two games," he enthused.

"His volley against Zulte was sublime but it was his hat-trick against NEC that was truly special, because it saw him become the youngest hat-trick scorer in the history of the Eredivisie.

"What's more, the nimble winger has actually amazed Dutch and Belgian supporters alike with his Brazilian-like trickery and ball control. He is capable of beating three players in a split-second, while his finishing also of high class.

"He has absolutely tormented every defence that has had the misfortune to come across him and seems to have the ability to continue doing so for years to come."

Congratulations to Zakaria, Goal's 222nd World Player of the Week winner!

The Shortlist

P-E Aubameyang - Dortmund

@mattspiro: "Hat-trick on Bundesliga debut for Dortmund. Will be a big star."

Goal's Enis Koylu: "Put Robert Lewandowski in the shade with a historic treble in Saturday's 4-0 win over Augsburg."

Conan Byrne - St. Pat's

 @FM104: "Conan the Barbarian smashes Shamrock Rovers!"

Goal's Ryan Kelly: "A talismanic figure in St. Patrick's Athletic's win against Rovers, scoring all four goals."

Clement Grenier - Lyon

@OptaJean: "Has been involved in 11 of Lyon's last 24 league goals (seven goals, four assists)."

Goal's Robin Bairner: "How Arsenal must regret not signing the playmaker, who bagged two goals and one assist."

Santiago Silva - Lanus

@twjbeck: "Many doubters over Santiago Silva's move to Lanus but he scored twice on his debut."

Goal's Rupert Fryer: "After a disappointing 18 months at Boca, 'The Tank' now has three goals in two games."