Why not? This is what Real Madrid’s new star Aurelien Tchouameni has seemed to ask himself at every step of his career.
The reigning world champions lost several players ahead of the tournament, with veteran midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante – who were part of the 2018 World Cup winning squad – both out injured.
But the loss of the Juventus and Chelsea stars will likely allow for France’s young talents to shine.
Tchouameni and fellow Real Madrid midfielder, 19-year-old Eduardo Camavinga, will get a starring role in Didier Deschamps’ team.
The pressure will be on the pair to step up in Pogba and Kante’s absence, despite their inexperience in international tournaments.
And as the youngster says in his Instagram bio and in his social media videos – Why not?
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Not just a football lover
Taking a look at Tchouameni’s Instagram page, it appears playing football for France and Real Madrid aren’t the only things his life revolves around.
His pinned picture on his profile is him rocking a pair of Jordans at a LA Sparks’ basketball match, with the caption ‘Chillin’ at the LA Sparks game’.
Aside from football pictures, his Instagram is full of snaps of him at basketball.
The youngster was also seen courtside for Miami Heat’s NBA game against Boston Celtics back in May, alongside compatriot Paul Pogba, Jules Kounde and Eric Dier.
Monaco’s main man
Prior to his move to Real Madrid, Tchouameni played a key role in Monaco’s late-season run of nine wins in 10 games.
This run of form led to the Ligue 1 side qualifying for the Champions League, which looked highly unlikely at one stage, and also saw them finish third in the league.
With a pass completion rate of near 87 per cent, the Bordeaux academy product was hailed as one of Ligue 1’s best midfielders.
In his farewell video posted on his Instagram, the 22-year-old said on his time at the club: “At the beginning, it didn’t go as planned.
“Then I realised Monaco is not ‘a stage’. It’s a turning point.
“So… why not?”
The clip then cuts to his five goals he netted for Monaco in the 2021/22 campaign and his other moments of brilliance across the 50 appearances he made for them last season.
Wanted by the European Champions
With long-standing defensive midfielder Casemiro wanted by Manchester United, whoever stood up to take the Brazilian’s spot had big boots to fill.
And so far Tchouameni’s £85.3million move appears to be paying off, making 10 starts in La Liga and five in the Champions League after choosing Los Blancos over PSG – despite Kylian Mbappe trying to persuade him – and Liverpool.
“The first club to show interest in me was Liverpool,” Tchouameni told Le Parisien. “There were discussions, but as soon as Real Madrid entered, my mind was made up.”
“I didn’t hesitate for a second. I told my agent, take me to Real Madrid.”
The 22-year-old played an integral role in the El Clasico win over Barcelona in October, as he comfortably outplayed the likes of Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets.
And his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by fellow Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric.
“This year we have started very well and we have a very strong team,” the former Tottenham star said.
“As for the midfield, a very important player has left, Casemiro, but we have a lot of very good players to replace him and be good. Tchouameni adapts very well.”
Rise to the Les Bleus
Tchouameni is of Cameroonian descent, was born in Rouen in the north of France and raised in Bordeaux.
Starting out at Under-16 level, Tchouameni has risen through Les Bleus’ ranks and is now part of Deschamps’ squad.
After receiving his first call-up to the senior team in August 2021, Tchouameni made his debut against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the World Cup qualifiers a month later.
The youngster showed off his attacking flare soon after, scoring his first goal for his country in March in a 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast in a friendly.
After only making his first appearance last summer, Tchouameni already has 14 appearances under his belt going into this winter’s tournament.
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