Real Madrid: Dehon, the man who discovered Areola: Real Madrid will be great for him
Real Madrid Took notice of him at 16
Alphonse Areola has come to Real Madrid to be the second goalkeeper at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu and he’s a 100 percent Parisian product.
He arrived at Paris Saint-Germain at just 13 before signing his first professional contract, and has all the tools he needs to have a great future between the posts, but he’s become accustomed to having to paddle upstream.
Excluding his time at Lens, Bastia and Villarreal, Areola has always been a secondary option. However not with France, where he’s stepped through all of the underage ranks from the age of 15 until becoming a world champion aged 20.
But under Didier Deschamps he’s returned to that backup role and he, curiously, is the only French goalkeeper to ever win a World Cup before making his debut.
His debut did come in September 2018 though, when France met the former world champions Germany with Steve Mandanda and Hugo Lloris injured.
The situation he faced was rather unusual. Only Italy’s Giovanni Galli in 1982 and Hector Zelada in Argentina’s 1986 side. The latter, who never played for the Albiceleste, remains the only world champion to never play for his country.
Areola always had someone ahead of him at PSG. Gianluigi Buffon was the last, and he was kept patiently waiting. The Italians exit prompted the signing of Keylor Navas.
“It’s not so strange, top clubs never have a goalkeeper they brought through,” said Nicolas Dehon to MARCA, who had taken note of Areola‘s talent when he was 16.
“Areola‘s a great goalkeeper and has everything needed to succeed, but PSG always signed someone to compete with him.”
Dehon and the now-Madrid ‘keeper shared a great relationship ever since they first met in his teenage years.
“He’s like a son to me,” Dehon added.
“I think leaving PSG is the best thing he could have done. It won’t be easy, but I’m sure he’ll have a chance.
“Him having French coaching staff there will surely help him.”
The role at Real Madrid won’t be new for Areola and he’s used to having to fight for a place in the team.
At 1.96 metres in height, he’s a second giant at the Bernabeu, just under Thibaut Courtois‘ 1.99m.
For now, he’ll have to play second fiddle. But that’s nothing new for the Parisian.