Randal Kolo Muani had a direct hand in a Bundesliga-leading 26 goals in 2022/23. bundesliga.com profiles the explosive Eintracht Frankfurt and France forward...
Stats correct as of 30 August 2023
Age: 24 (5 December 1998)
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Country: France (six caps, one goal)
Kolo Muani was a relative late bloomer in the modern world of academy football. He started out at Villepinte in the Paris suburbs and then played for Tremblay-en-France and Torcy from U11-U16 level - but it wasn't until November 2015, a month shy of his 17th birthday, that the teenager joined the youth ranks of Nantes. He would again have to bide his time for a chance in the first team, but finally made his professional debut on 30 November 2018. His 22-minute cameo against Saint-Etienne came a full three years after he signed for the Canaries. By the time Kolo Muani closed out the 2018/19 campaign, the then 20-year-old had six Ligue 1 matches under his belt.
A loan spell at Bolougne in the French third division followed in 2019/20, where Kolo Muani was sent off twice in his first five appearances. He would go on to score three times and lay on five assists in 14 outings during a campaign that was brought to a premature end by the coronavirus pandemic. He was back at Nantes the following season, scoring nine goals and providing eight more for his teammates. Kolo Muani's most important contribution came in the relegation play-off at the end of 2020/21. He found the back of the net away to Toulouse - a strike that ultimately saw Nantes stay up on away goals. He improved on that record in 2021/22, notching 12 league goals and winning the French Cup to earn a summer move to Frankfurt.
Kolo Muani hit the ground running in Germany with a DFB Cup debut assist in Magdeburg and a Bundesliga debut goal in defeat to Bayern Munich. He set up Daichi Kamada's equaliser against Hertha Berlin on his first start, before scoring and assisting in the win at Werder Bremen two weeks later.
The powerful forward has a knack for finding his teammates, setting a new Bundesliga record for most assists (nine) 13 games into a season. He had eight goals of his own in all competitions when the league broke for the 2022 World Cup, with the most important of them coming in the UEFA Champions League. The new Frankfurt talisman got the winner against Sporting Lisbon to send his side into the last 16, ultimately ending his maiden campaign in Eintracht colours on 23 goals and 14 assists across 45 games. No Bundesliga player contributed more than his 26 efforts (15 goals and 11 assists). The 24-year-old also topped the DFB Cup scoring charts with six goals, although he was unable prevent his side from losing 2-0 in the the final between to RB Leipzig. He has put that disappointment behind him, though, scoring in three of Eintracht Frankfurt's first four competitive outings in 2023/24.
Not surprisingly, Kolo Muani has been rewarded at international level. The Eintracht No.9 made his France U21 debut in October 2020 and scored his first goal a month later in a 3-1 win over Switzerland. He has seven U21 caps to his name and also played in all three of his country's games at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that took place in the summer of 2021. He got a maiden call-up to the senior squad thanks to his form for Eintracht, and made his France debut in September 2022 in a 2-0 win over Austria.
Watch: Randal Kolo Muani - AWS Match Facts analysis
Kolo Muani was then called up for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku was ruled out through injury. He came off the bench and scored just 44 seconds after entering the pitch in France's semi-final against Morocco, the third-quickest goal from a substitute in World Cup history, and won a penalty in the final with Argentina, before converting his spot-kick in the shootout loss. As France subsequently all four of their opening Euro 2024 qualifying fixtures, Kolo Muani featured in each match, and now appears to be a mainstay of Didier Deschamps' set-up.
Plays a bit like: Thierry Henry
Much like Kolo Muani, legendary France striker Henry started his career by impressing with his pace and trickery out wide before being repurposed as a centre-forward. Both players also clock in around the 6'2" mark and cut very similar, rangy figures.
Kolo Muani also has a languid dribbling style and immense turn of speed that were hallmarks of Henry's game - especially at a young age. He bears similar strength on the ball and a cheekiness to his play that will leave Bundesliga defenders both in his wake and cutting frustrated figures.
Did you know?
Kolo Muani's family are from Congo, but he was born in Bondy, a town in the northeastern suburbs of the French capital. Kylian Mbappe - who was born just 15 days after Kolo Muani - grew up in the same place, while Bondy has also produced fellow France internationals Jonathan Ikone and William Saliba.
He has gone on to outshine Mbappe on a number of occasions, picking up three wins over Paris Saint-Germain in five meetings during his time with Nantes. He scored three goals and collected an assist in the process when up against his fellow Bondy-native's star-studded outfit.
What they're saying
"Randal has many qualities. He has a presence about him, runs in behind from deep and is a good finisher." - France head coach Deschamps
"He's quick, strong in the tackle, a great dribbler, and can finish. He's doing really well for us." - Ex-Frankfurt head coach Oliver Glasner
"Randal Kolo Muani brings attributes that we need for our game. He’s fast, robust and a very good finisher. He’s also tactically versatile and can play in several different systems, which will give us even more flexibility next season. Randal’s potential has attracted the interest of many clubs. We’re very pleased that he wants to take his next steps at Eintracht Frankfurt." - Eintracht board member for sport Markus Krösche
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