Reinildo Mandava: Lille star makes history in Ligue 1 triumph


Reinildo Mandava has become the first player from Mozambique to win any of Europe’s top five leagues.

The left-back achieved this feat following Lille’s Ligue 1 triumph with Sunday’s 2-1 defeat of Angers at the Stade Raymond Kopa.

Against the Black and Whites, the African star was on parade from start to finish as Les Douges secured the important win with Jonathan David and Burak Yilmaz finding the net.

"To be a champion you have to have an extraordinary season, especially when you have PSG in front of you,” manager Christophe Galtier told the club website.

“We had an exceptional season, full of emotions and obviously a total investment on the part of my group that we were able to lead to the end with my staff and especially my faithful assistant, Thierry Oleksiak.

“This wonderful group got to do it, again outside. We suspected that PSG was going to perform in Brest. To be champions and keep our place, we had to win. We played a very serious and applied game. It's an amazing night.”

Mandava joined the Stade Pierre-Mauroy giants on a permanent basis from Portuguese side Belenenses on May 31, 2019, after the French side triggered the €3 million option to purchase the player at the end of his initial loan spell.

In his second season at Lille, he featured in 16 league games as Galtier’s men finished fourth in the French elite division as the competition was ended abruptly following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

This season, however, the 27-year-old played a crucial role in the club’s historic triumph, playing in 29 matches – with five of them coming as a substitute.

He was sent off as the Mastiffs laboured to a 1-1 draw at home against Julien Stephan’s Rennes on August 23, 2020.

Mandava was dismissed by referee Clement Turpin in the 43rd minute after he launched a fatal tackle on Brazil’s Raphinha.

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That was the first time the Mozambican would be given his marching orders since he began his career in 2012 at Ferroviario da Beira.

His impressive showing this term also saw him shortlisted for the 2021 Prix Marc-Vivien Foe alongside Karl Toko-Ekambi, Alexandre Oukidja, Nayef Aguerd), Farid Boulaya, Andy Delort, Idrissa Gueye and eventual winner Gael Kakuta.