Who is Zidane Iqbal, the impressive young midfielder against Liverpool?

Manchester United crushed Liverpool in the pre-season match, which was held on Tuesday in Thailand (4-0). A meeting during which Zidane Iqbal made a wonderful entry with the Red Devils. The 19-year-old Manchester midfielder and Iraq international dazzled with his serenity and technical quality.

dream baptism. In his first appearance on the bench at Manchester United, Erich Ten Hag presented himself with a coveted success on Tuesday against Liverpool. The Red Devils crushed their top rivals in a preparatory match organized at Rajamangala Stadium, east of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand (4-0). In the humid heat of the Asian summer, teammates Raphael Varane corrected a recast but nonetheless dominated the Reds (18 shots).

Ten Hag took advantage of this festival to launch Zidane Iqbal in the second half. The 19-year-old midfielder replaced Fred as his side trailed 3-0. His entry did not go unnoticed. In a pivotal role, No. 55 made his talent appreciated in midfield. His composure from ball to foot, his sense of placement and quality of passing have all led to his coaching a lot. Despite his inexperience, the 1.88-meter right-hander (who became the first South Asian to play for United) looked in the eyes of Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho. With a somewhat disingenuous assertion.

There are no Premier League matches

What ignited the enthusiasm of Mancunian fans, who greatly underestimated his performance on the networks. Always without doses. “The best Zidane in history,” for example, wrote a supporter quoted by the Daily Mail. Certainly this is not the case. But it does give an idea of ​​the impression that the person who mentions his first name inevitably made on Zizou’s football fans. A priori, it is not a tribute, the first name “Zidane” (also spelled Zidane) is very prevalent in the Arab world. But he will definitely have to deal with this blink of fate throughout his career.

While waiting to be able to compare himself to the 1998 Ballon d’Or, Iqbal is already enjoying his first important match for his coaching club. After the meeting, he thanked his fans on Instagram (where he already has nearly 500,000 subscribers) by posting a photo of him exchanging the shirt with Mohamed Salah. His good start can encourage Tin Hag to give him time to play while preparing. While waiting to be presented to the Premier League in a few months.

One minute in the Champions League

Born in Whalley Range, near Manchester, Zidane Iqbal joined the Red Devils Academy at the age of nine. Despite his impressive performance as a youngster, he has yet to play in a Premier League match. On the other hand, he participated in the Champions League last December (his only professional appearance). It was fired by Ralf Rangnick in extra time against Youngs Boys Burn in the group stage (1-1). Time to walk Old Trafford for a minute. Enough to provide an unforgettable memory.

He told MU’s website: “I learned this the day before the match. The coach came to see me and said, ‘You won’t play for the U19s.’ I was a little surprised. I felt a lot of emotions in my body. Once the conversation was over, I called my mum, dad and brother. I told them. That there is a good chance that I will play for the first team. I dreamed about this day since I was young to finally live it, it was unbelievable. Honestly, if I could describe the feeling, I would but it really is indescribable.”

Choose to play for Iraq

The following month, Iqbal made his international debut when he decided to wear the shirt of Iraq (one of their home countries), while he could also play for Pakistan and England. Dick Adovgat, the Dutch coach for the Iraqi national team, gave him his first minutes in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. He entered Manchester United’s hope during the matches Iran (1-0) and Lebanon (1-1). For a total of twenty cumulative minutes. Something that whets his appetite.

Iqbal said at the time: “I feel it is the right decision for me in my career. It is a really great honor to represent Iraq. My family is proud of me and I feel I am progressing a little bit more in my career by participating in qualifying for the World Cup. These are important matches. It is a great honor.” .

“I would like to become a model”

After signing his first professional contract last year, young Zidane extended his lease with Manchester last month. Until 2025. Enough to secure his future and allow him to advance into a familiar cocoon. without worrying about the accompanying media coverage.

“I don’t focus too much on it. I just enjoy the sport, and I try not to think about it too much,” explained at the beginning of the year the person who is part of the Asian Inclusion Guidance Scheme, an initiative set up by the players’ association that plays in England (Football Players’ Association). Professional Football League) which aims to increase the number of Asian players in the world of professional English football. “I would like to be a role model. A lot of people tell me I am one. I try to act like one, really. But I still have to focus on myself, I still have a lot to learn.”

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