who is Cher Ndour, the Italian nugget stolen from Benfica?


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While Paris Saint-Germain has (again) monopolized the spotlight of the summer transfer window, from the month of June, with in particular the big file of the new coach and rumors linked to high-sounding names like Harry Kane, Bernardo Silva or even Lucas Hernandez, the Parisian club also threw themselves on less famous but well-felt targets. This is the case of Cher Ndour (18) who has officially signed up with PSG for the next five seasons: “Paris Saint-Germain is pleased to announce the signing of Cher Ndour. The 18-year-old midfielder has signed a five-year contract with the club. He will wear number it written in the official press release published on the club’s website.

In Paris, Cher Ndour joins a busy position with the presence – for the time being – of Marco Verratti, Vitinha, Fabián Ruiz, Carlos Soler, Renato Sanches, even Danilo Pereira. If some of these players are likely to pack up in the coming weeks, then Cher Ndour could well be called upon to play an already significant role in the rotation from his first season in the Paris jersey. Otherwise, his good rating in Italy and Portugal should allow him to continue his training thanks to a loan for an entire season before returning to the capital. We will see what the new Parisian coach Luis Enrique wants to do with his young Italian nugget. Because this famous Cher Ndour is far from inexperienced on the European scale despite his young age (18 years old).

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PSG: Cher Ndour’s number is known

A precocious talent

Born in Brescia in Lombardy, on July 27, 2004 from a Senegalese father and an Italian mother, Cher Ndour is a well-known name in the world of Calcio since he is part of the list of “Nuove Stelle” of Italian football for several years already. Since age is only a number, the new PSG player made people talk about him very young and especially very early. In Italy, journalists and leaders did not wait until Ndour was 18 to offer him the headlines of the gazettes. There was no time to lose: due to a much-discussed rule in the Italian football system where only 16-year-olds can join a professional club. Especially once they reach the age limit, they are free to go wherever they want. At the age of 9, Cher was transferred from Brescia to Bergamo: in the young teams of Atalanta, he also grew physically, managing to combine his technical skills with his 1m90. In Italy, however, it is rare that an Italian club, even as far-sighted and formative as the Dea, can bond with a young player for such a long time because Italian teams are still struggling to integrate their young rough diamonds into the spin. And so it is all of Italian football that is suffering from a drain of its talents.

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In 2020, Benfica smells the right shot and therefore secures Cher Ndour by offering him a solid 3-year contract, welcoming him to Portugal with a real solid development project. The move paid off immediately as, within a year, he left the club’s youth ranks to play for their reserve team. Indeed, when he made his debut for the B team of the Águias, on May 2, 2021, at the age of 16 years and 279 days, he became the youngest player to do so, beating the record set by João Felix. The Italian midfielder has solid statistics with 5 goals and 1 assist in 57 games played from 2021. But Ndour’s explosion reached its climax last season when he became a real leader in the Youth League, competition won by young Benfica in the final against RB Salzburg (6-0) during which Cher Ndour scored a goal. His progress was rewarded last year with 7 call-ups in the professional group, including three in the Champions League group stages. In the league, he came on for just a minute against Vitória Guimarães, thus celebrating his first professional match with Benfica.

Versatility that impresses

A big fan of Juventus, Cher Ndour is strongly inspired by Paul Pogba and has often been compared to the French environment by his many similarities in the style of play. The role of the Italo-Senegalese can be described as a “ ball hunter”: he is not confined to a single specific position. He is a flexible axial element rather wanders between the midfield and the attacking third, using the positioning of the ball to deploy his effective press. He relies on his brilliant defensive qualities but in attacking areas to win the ball high. In this sense, Ndour is often considered as an element of the gegenpressing fundamental. The reason for his effectiveness is his large size combined with his physical attributes which allow him to withstand his opponents. He easily wins his aerial duels, especially the second balls, which helps his team to maintain possession and play with the rhythm. this brilliant mix of defensive and attacking traits also allows Ndour to play any part of the midfield (central, defensive, attacking or almost supporting striker).

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Long considered a weak point, his passing game is improving, as are his movements and his runs which were sometimes too risky. However, what makes Cher Ndour special is her divine adaptability. Since leaving Atalanta, the young Italian midfielder has been offered a new challenge every year and has succeeded with flying colors. The first season was that of integration to get a place in the reserve team. The second season was represented by the challenge of the UEFA Youth League to mark the spirits internationally. And in the third season came the challenge of developing his football to a higher level to be called up to the professional squad. And none of these challenges frightened Ndour who was to, in parallel with his training at Benfica, proudly wear the jerseys of the young teams of Italy. He has also gone through all the classes from U-15 to U-20.

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