Lyon's Groupama stadium will remember him for a long time to come. Known for launching nuggets virtually every season, OL received two stab wounds on Sunday from a 17-year-old footballer. His name is Eli Kroupi Junior.
"A future Kylian Mbappé".
Born only on June 23, 2006, the French international already has 7 Ligue 1 matches to his name, with 3 goals and 2 assists. An incredible maturity and precocity. Tiémoué Bakayoko, who returned to Lorient this summer to coach the youngsters after spells at Chelsea and AC Milan, is blown away by the teenager's efficiency. "He's a phenomenon. He reminds me a little of Kylian Mbappé in his maturity of play. He does everything very quickly. He's already got good stats for a youngster his age. It's incredible. We need to protect him. We've got to give him time to get used to the game a bit, but if he keeps going like this, we've got a future Kylian Mbappé (laughs)," says the midfielder, who witnessed the beginnings and blossoming of the current PSG star, with whom he was 2017 French champion and Champions League semi-finalist.
A double for the history books
This weekend, Eli Kroupi Junior gave Lyon a real scare. Les Gones, in search of their first win since the start of the season, thought they had secured all three points against Lorient. But the youngster struck twice and played a big part in the point the Merlus earned in the Rhône (3-3). A brace that has put him in the Talent League history books. The Lorient native is now the 2nd youngest player in Ligue 1 history to score a brace, behind ex-international Bernard Zénier (17 years and 23 days), whose achievement dates back to September 1974.
In the name of father Eli Kroupi
Soccer is in Eli Kroupi Junior's blood. His father Eli Kroupi, a former Ivorian winger with clubs including Rennes, Angers and Lorient, has certainly given him a knack for scoring goals, and his speed caused havoc in some Ligue 1 defenses in the 2000s. Born in Sassandra in 1979, Eli Kroupi scored 11 goals in 47 Ligue 1 matches, 49 goals in 155 Ligue 2 matches and 6 goals in 18 Coupe de France matches. With Lorient, he won the Coupe de France 2002 and played in the Coupe de la Ligue final the same year. No doubt he hopes his son, who made his professional debut at just 16, will go even higher than he did.
A French U16 and 17 international, Eli Kroupii Junior has scored over 15 goals for Les Bleuets. If he continues on this path, he will almost certainly be with Thiery Henry at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, but will still be able to play with the Elephants A later on.