Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Youssoufa Moukoko has revealed he wanted to quit football due to pressure after bursting onto the senior stage.
Moukoko was drafted into Dortmund's first team as a 15-year-old in January 2020, having scored a staggering 88 goals in 141 games for the club at academy level.
In November that year, the striker became the youngest player in Bundesliga history when making his debut one day after his 16th birthday and has since nailed down a role in the squad, but his rise to prominence hasn't all been plain sailing.
What has been said?
Moukoko has now admitted to struggling mentally with the weight of expectation that comes with playing at the highest level, while crediting Dortmund youth coach Sebastian Geppert for helping him navigate his way through a testing period.
“In the beginning, the reports were very stressful for me, especially when my age was discussed," the teenager told German publication WAZ. "I didn't want to do this to myself anymore. I wanted to quit, but my trainer helped me a lot, he supported me. I could forget everything on the pitch."
Moukoko's record for Dortmund
Since making his first senior appearance for Dortmund against Hertha Berlin, Moukoko has racked up 15 appearances for the club across all competitions, including one in the Champions League.
The Germany U20 international also has three goals to his name, having become the youngest scorer in Bundesliga history when opening his account in a clash with Union Berlin in December.
Moukoko's goals for 2021-22
Moukoko is eager to reach even greater heights in the upcoming campaign under new head coach Marco Rose, who replaced Edin Terzic in the hot seat earlier this summer.
"I want to accumulate more minutes than in my first season, score more goals, make more assists," he said. "I always want to be there when the team needs me.
"Of course it's going to be difficult. But I have to be confident in my abilities. I need playing time. I'm sure I will have more playing time."
Moukoko has also expressed his belief that Dortmund can challenge Bayern for the Bundesliga crown and make a big impact in the Champions League in 2021-22.
"Our captain Marco Reus has already said that we can play for the title," he added. "That's why I want to become a German champion and win the trophy. If we believe in ourselves, we can also achieve a lot in the Champions League. Why not?"