Think of Paris Saint-Germain and it wouldn’t be wrong to think of a squad of neatly assembled multi-millionaire footballers. Yet beneath the mega transfer fees and sea of superstars lies a player who is an antithesis of all the above, he is Adrien Rabiot.
An emerging talent of modest stature Rabiot has often been overshadowed by his more prominent teammates but make no mistake about his abilities. In a squad filled to the brim with talent, the Frenchman has managed to carve out a place for himself in the midfield.
He first signed for the French giants in 2012 as an academy product and was subsequently promoted to the senior team by then manager Carlo Ancelotti in the 2012/2013, season and has never looked back since.
Deployed mainly as a central defensive midfielder in front of the back four, Rabiot’s greatest strength is his ability to break up the play of his opponents. This means intercepting balls in crucial areas of the pitch. Add that to his tactical intelligence and composure and you have got a midfielder who is an integral part of the team.
In the 2016/2017 Champions League game against Barcelona, Rabiot gave a midfield masterclass for all to see. Lining up alongside Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti, he was able to nullify Lionel Messi and was decisive in cutting out any passes made by the Spanish side’s midfield.
In that game he had 100% tackles won. 56 passes, 4 interceptions, 4 take-ons and one chance created. These are amazing statistics especially for such a young player. If there’s one weakness about Rabiot though is that his distribution isn’t the greatest underlined by his wayward passes in games.
However last season in the Champions League in the eight matches he played, the 23-year-old had a 93% pass accuracy. Again it shows the great strides he has made in his development. While his club career has blossomed, his international career has taken a major setback after he rejected a call-up to Didier Deschamps' reserve list after being omitted from France's 23-man squad for the World Cup.
But that hasn’t dampened his star quality especially when Barcelona expressed a keen interest in him. Should he remain at the French champions, Rabiot is a talent many should look out for if one is bored of Neymar and Edinson Cavani. Here is a player that certainly represents the future of French football.