After being made to wait four years to make his first team debut for Borussia Mönchengladbach due to niggling injuries, Mamadou Doucoure is now officially a Bundesliga player.
bundesliga.com looks at who the former Paris Saint-Germain is…
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Country: France (32 youth caps)/Sengeal
To say Doucoure’s football journey has been a difficult one so far would be a cruel understatement. After joining Paris FC as a child, the French capital's biggest club came calling in 2011 and he signed for PSG. Doucoure progressed through the same youth system which also produced the likes of Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman, Borussia Dortmund's Dan-Axel Zagadou and RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku – most famously captaining the U19 side to the UEFA Youth League final in 2016.
And just weeks after that final defeat to Chelsea, the centre-back decided to leave the comforts of home to join Gladbach in Germany. However, Doucoure was not able to immediately join in with first team training due to a thigh injury he'd picked up in that final PSG youth game. Weeks quickly turned to months and, ultimately, years with continuous muscular problems.
Doucoure finally made his first appearance for the Gladbach first team in September 2018, in a friendly game. However, luck never seemed to fall on the Frenchman's side, with recurring muscular injuries seeing him drop in and out of training with the first team, while making 12 appearances for Gladbach's second string over the course of two seasons before finally, on Matchday 29 of the 2019/20 season, Doucoure came on for his first minute of Bundesliga football.
Plays a bit like: Samuel Umtiti
Relatively short for a central defender at 6'-tall, Doucoure grew a reputation at PSG which saw him come to be regarded as one of the club's best young talents. Nominally left-footed, he is comfortable enough on the ball off both feet and can even play in defensive midfield as well as at the back. His frame and reading of the game make comparisons with Barcelona and France defender Samuel Umtiti unavoidable.
The lack of game-time that has come with his injury troubles has not allowed for Doucoure to build quite as much physical strength as he might have liked, but his football ability remains intact despite those years on the sidelines.
Did you know?
Doucoure played every single minute of the PSG U19's run to the UEFA Youth League final in 2015/16. Despite being only 17 at the time, Doucoure also wore the captain’s armband to lead the likes of Zagadou, Nkunku and former Leipzig striker Jean-Kevin Augustin.
What they're saying
"It was sensational! I think I was the happiest person in the world at that moment. I worked towards this day for a very long time, almost four years. Even if it was a game without spectators, it was a great, magical feeling that I will never forget in my whole life." – Doucoure on making his debut against Union Berlin
"I got the feeling that he was a little nervous. I told him he should just enjoy the moment. I can say that he totally deserved this moment from the work he put in over the last months and weeks, and I hope that he stays healthy from now on." – Gladbach coach Marco Rose
"He's a huge talent and there were lots of big clubs looking to sign him. With this transfer, we're continuing our tradition of bringing young players with lots of potential to the club and giving them an opportunity to take their careers to the next level." – Gladbach sporting director after signing Doucoure