Aurelien Tchouameni: The Obama and LeBron loving midfielder becomes Real Madrid's next €100m superstar

Tchouameni Obama LeBronGoal/Getty

Aurelien Tchouameni has become the biggest signing of the summer, with Real Madrid having wrapped up a €100 million (£85m/$107m) deal for the France international from Monaco.

It marks the next step in a meteoric rise for the midfielder, whose talents saw Los Blancos come out on top in a hard-fought transfer battle against Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool to capture the 22-year-old.

What makes Tchouameni tick? What kind of player is he to have drawn such rich plaudits from fellow players and coaches at a young age? And what is it that could help him stand out amid the superstar-filled ranks at Santiago Bernabeu?

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The midfielder likes to read Obama and LeBron...

Tchouameni has made no secret of his appreciation for towering figures from across the Atlantic, once stating: "From an early age I was immediately fascinated by American culture, be it through great athletes or personalities like Martin Luther King or Barack Obama."

NBA superstar James remains an inspiration too amid a wider love for the sport, with Tchouameni adding: "NBA players have to eat well and live a clean life because sometimes they play every other day.

"If you play that often, you have to impose these requirements on yourself. I try to apply that to my sport."

That dedication extends to his strong grasp of English too, adding: "I started learning the language at a very young age because I wanted to understand the meaning of the music I was listening to."

...while a former coach kept a blog on his talents

Having broken through at Bordeaux, Tchouameni's skill was so impressive that his coach, Gustavo Poyet, dedicated swathes of his website to waxing lyrical about the then-teenager's prowess.

"He was a big boy, confident on the ball and intelligent," he said. "At that time he was still studying at the university. He was always interested in learning and to improve. He was really very attentive. If you ask him to do something, he will do it.

"It is worth emphasising his enthusiasm to improve, to listen and to ask questions, which is very important for a coach. I have always watched him with pleasure and intensity."

Tchouameni looks set for Qatar 2022...

With France poised to mount a defence of their World Cup title at the end of the year, Tchouameni's hopes of making the cut look to be realised if the glowing testimony from coach Didier Deschamps is anything to go by.

"He's a complete player," the Bleus boss stated in reference to the midfielder's skills, adding that he was particularly impressed by "his head and the necessary maturity".

Paul Pogba meanwhile described it as an "honour to play with him", adding: "He's not a boy, he's a man. He brings a lot of energy, really a lot of energy. Also, he has great technique and a great physique."

...while his father's criticism drove him on to higher levels

Though Tchouameni's desire to improve was apparent as a teenager, it took a conversation with his father Ferdinand - an aspiring player turned medical professional to spur him onto new heights.

"I told him that I wanted to speak to him face to face and that he should give me two hours," the latter stated on a late 2020 meeting between father and son. "I told him that I hadn't recognised him recently and that he had become an ordinary footballer.

"At the end of the discussion? 'Father, you'll see.'"

Since then, the midfielder has only gone from strength to strength - and will look to hit the ground running as he dons the famous white shirt next season.

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