July 24, 2021

Chrislain Matsima in full ascent of the Rock

Chrislain Matsima, a name that may still be unknown to you, but certainly not for very long. This young defender (18 years old), turned pro at AS Monaco in 2019, could well have his chance this season and set foot on the lawns of Ligue 1. Captain of the reserve team, he has already caught the eye of the coach Niko Kovac who summoned him with the pro group for the summer preparation. Discover the career of this budding Asemite club captain.

At AS Monaco, for several years, young people have hatched. The capital gains of the club, owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, are quite impressive. By themselves, Anthony Martial, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva were recruited for 24M € and sold for more than 180M €. The list is not exhaustive, but the Rocher club is also an excellent training club. At the end of the 2019-2020 season, AS Monaco was ranked 5th best training center in France, a DTN ranking dominated by PSG. Best example of this training: Kylian Mbappé.

Arrived on the Côte d’Azur at the age of 15 after two years at the INF, the young French prodigy was sold 180 million euros, bonus included, to PSG four years later. (In reality, one-year loan with compulsory purchase option in case of maintenance.) If the 2018 world champion is the most telling example, the best young people of the training center can indeed have their chance. Like Benoît Badiashile in 2018, Chrislain Matsima could be one of the next to have the opportunity to make his Ligue 1 debut this year. Under a professional contract since 2019, the central defender has had a course strewn with success but also failure.

Matsima, quickly upgraded

Born in the Paris region, it is in his district of Nanterre that the young Chrislain touched his first balloons. First among friends in his neighborhood, then at JSC Nanterre, he quickly stood out for his ease and maturity. “He was already above the rest, he was stronger and very tall”, recalls his childhood friend Elias Nabih. Among his first educators as a beginner, Ralede Djellab Benaïssa, alias “Toto”, also has fond memories of this youngster. “He was a child full of maturity, serious, attentive … Everything you need to be a good player”, he confides, happy to follow his evolution.

Technically superior and very mature, Chrislain Matsima already demonstrated the human and athletic qualities to succeed. If at first, he was not upgraded because his teacher preferred “The development of young people with their friends rather than competition”, he nevertheless quickly joined the greatest.

Failure at the INF to bounce back better

Party at La Garenne, then Racing Colombes, the young defender participated in the selections of the INF (National Football Institute of Clairefontaine), but was unfortunately not selected during the last round. Combative and determined, Chrislain Matsima quickly rebounded by joining the CREPS of Reims where he played for two years during the week and returned to his club at the weekend. It was then that he learned to live far from his loved ones.

Benjamin of four siblings, one brother and two sisters, he is very close to his family which has always been united. “He is very hard-working even before going to Reims and was good at school too”, confides to us his brother Janis, today, educator at JSC Nanterre. Very attentive to advice, Chrislain Matsima, now holder of an STMG Bac, rose through the ranks very quickly in Monaco, to the point of becoming captain of the reserve at only 17 years old.

“I did not give him the armband to please him”David Bechkoura

Outclassed in all the clubs where he has been, the central defender has also been at ASM. At 15 in the U17 then U19, he even joined David Bechkoura’s reserve last year and finished the season captain of the group. “I didn’t give him the armband to please him, assures us the asemist coach since 2017, he is a boy who has established himself as a holder in N2 when he was only born in 2002. “ Very satisfied with the consistency of his performance, the former coach of the PSG reserve chose to reward him, highlight him and take him as an example for his teammates.

Among the U17s, coach Manu Dos Santos had also observed these same qualities: “In the field, he is a natural leader, in particular through the impact he puts in duels. Very attentive, he quickly rectified his small gaps in the reading of the game, an aspect where he sinned a little sometimes. “On the club’s website, the trainer also describes similarities with Benoît Badiashile, 19 years old and already holder of the pennant team this season: “When I saw the two go staggered with me in U17 with comparable qualities, I directly thought of a central hinge association in the future. “ And this was the case this summer in a friendly against Standard de Liège, the two young players were established by Niko Kovac, new coach of team 1. On the summer preparation, Chrislain Matsima totals 88 minutes of play according to Twitter @AlyumdrA. He is also the fourth most used defender by Kovac after Badiashile, Marcelin and Disasi, further proof that he could be thrown into the deep end in the coming weeks.

Here in the duel with English Madueke, Chrislain Matsima, international U18, has 35 tricolor selections in total among young people. Photo: PA Images / Icon Sport

Matsima, an international future A?

If he does not have to skip too many stages, Chrislain Matsima is in any case not badly illustrated among the young French (35 selections in total). Last year, with the U18s of Jean-Claude Giuntini, now retired and replaced by Landry Chauvin, he played six of the seven matches of the U17 World Cup. Alongside Tanguy Kouassi, he formed a central hinge full of promises for the future. Well surrounded, he can count on his relatives to remind him not to take the big head. This summer, West Ham’s interest appeared in the press but his relatives confirmed to us that he would stay in Monaco. “I’m trying to tell him not to focus on this, it will come later”, says Janis, his brother.

His former educator “Toto” hopes he will keep “His humility and his modesty”. Pride of his entire neighborhood, he does not hesitate to return to his previous clubs to greet his former educators. He brought them jerseys from Monaco but also from the French team. “We watch all his matches on youtube (AS Monaco broadcasts their home matches on the club channel), we are all very proud of him. He must continue his progress, that he does not relax his efforts, ”concludes Elias Nabih, his childhood friend. Very appreciated in Nanterre, it is also in Monaco as evidenced in a video of ASM Enzo Millot, another young nugget of the formation: “We started in Monaco together, our first selections were made together. He’s a person you can always count on, we know each other well, he’s a brother to me. “ Matsima like Millot may have their chance during this 2020-2021 season. It is up to them now to continue working and seize it …

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Rayan Cherki (Olympique Lyonnais)
Oumar Solet (ex-OL, since this summer at RB Salzburg)
Dayot Upamecano (holder at RB Leipzig)
Rayan Ait-Nouri (Angers SCO)