After winning the Africa Cup of Nations and scoring a match-winning double against record champions Bayern Munich, Borussia Mönchengladbach's Algeria international left-back Ramy Bensebaini won't be forgetting 2019 in a hurry.
bundesliga.com profiles the unlikely hero behind Gladbach's title-chasing win over Bayern on Bundesliga Matchday 14...
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Position: Left-back/ centre-back
Country: Algeria (30 caps, two goals)
Bensebaini is primarily a left-back, although he also operates in central defence for club and country. The 6'1" Algerian got his senior career breakthrough in Belgium with Lierse, making 28 appearances over the course of a season-long loan in the Jupilier Pro League in 2014/15. He spent the following campaign at French club Montpellier before sealing a permanent move from parent club Parabou - his first pro station back in his native Algeria - to Ligue 1 rivals Rennes.
Bensebaini added to his modest tally of two goals in 25 appearances for Montpellier by registering one goal and two assists in 98 outings across three seasons at Rennes. He earned his first of 30 senior international caps for Algeria in that time, with six of those coming during The Desert Foxes' triumphant AFCON campaign in summer 2019. It was the 24-year-old's second piece of silverware in the space of three months after Rennes' victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the 2018/19 French Cup final.
After joining Gladbach on a four-year deal in summer 2019, Bensebaini made his Bundesliga debut in the Rhine derby against Cologne on 14 September. He produced an assist on his third league outing, opened his German account and was sent off on his fourth - against Werder Bremen - before returning to the fray in style with a maiden career brace against Bayern.
Plays a bit like: Alex Sandro
Bensebaini loves to get forward, and has the necessary pace to transition from defence from attack to great effect. He's useful on the over- and underlap, and has a flamboyant side usually associated with No.10s. The Algerian doesn't shy away from a tackle either, much like Juventus and Brazil left-sided raider, Alex Sandro.
Did you know?
Bensebaini almost joined three-time English Premier League champions Arsenal in 2015.
"I spent time there, a month on trial, in 2015," Bensebaini told Ouest France in March 2019. "I was training with the first team and I was playing matches with the reserves. I had spoken several times with Arsene Wenger.
"I was going to sign, but there were problems in relation to my papers, my nationality. In the end, it didn't happen."
What they're saying
"He was a young player when he came to us. He didn't have the explosiveness that he has developed whilst he's been here. He used to switch off, too, but he's matured." - former Rennes coach, Christian Gourcuff
"He's got a lot of quality. Ligue 1 was a step up from Algeria and he's really improved as a player." - former Algeria international, Tarek Lazizi
"He can be used as a left-back or centre-back and brings a lot of experience from three successful years with a very good club from Ligue 1." - Gladbach sporting director, Max Eberl, following Bensebaini's arrival from Rennes