Former Vitesse Openda striker rivals Messi and Mbappé for individual award in France | sport
Loïs Openda is one of five contenders for the title of best player of the season in the French league. The 23-year-old Liège striker is in his first season in Ligue 1 with 19 goals after 35 games.
Openda moved from Club Brugge to RC Lens in northern France in July last year for €9.8million. The Belgian top club had rented Openda from Vitesse for the past two seasons. At the Arnhem club, the lightning-fast Openda has already scored 37 goals and provided 11 assists in 88 games.
In the French league, the 1m77 striker from Liège has quickly made a name for himself this season. He didn’t score in the first two games, but after that it was four games in a row for Lens. He then scored a hat-trick as a substitute in the last half hour on October 28 against Toulouse (3-0 victory) and has continued to score regularly in recent months, his hat-trick coming within four minutes against Clermont Foot (0 -4) March 12 as the most significant achievement.
Recently, Openda scored an important goal against Marseille in the battle for second place:
The eight-time international from the Red Devils is second in Ligue 1 with Lens, six points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain and two points behind Olympique de Marseille with three rounds remaining. Second place is good for participation in the Champions League, the tournament in which Lens (national champion in 1997/1998) was already active in the 1998/1999 and 2002/2003 seasons.
Openda is not the only Lensois to be among the contenders. Captain Seko Fofana (28), the engine of the Lensois midfielder for three years, also has his chance after a good season with six goals and four assists in 33 appearances.
Two players from Paris Saint-Germain, who are on course for their ninth national title in eleven years, are also nominated. They are Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi. The pair have shone this season especially at the World Cup in Qatar, where Mbappé scored a hat-trick in the final but ultimately had to hand over the world title to Messi. Mbappé (24) is now in Ligue 1 with 26 goals and 5 assists in 31 matches, Messi on 15 goals and 15 assists in 29 league matches. The 35-year-old Argentine is in his final weeks in Paris, where he was recently suspended for two weeks due to a holiday in Saudi Arabia where he could start working at Al-Hilal. A return to FC Barcelona seems financially unfeasible for the Spanish champions, although president Joan Laporta appears to be keen to do everything to bring back the prodigal son.
The fifth nominee for the award is Folarin Balogun. The 21-year-old striker from New York is hired by Arsenal from Stade Reims this season. With number eleven in the league, he now has 19 goals and three assists in 31 appearances. The England youth international (7 goals in 13 international appearances for Young England) announced today that he has opted to play for the United States, who host the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico. Balogun is under contract with Arsenal until mid-2025 which should bring him back to London this summer.
Program, results and Ligue 1 standings
In In our match center you can see the complete program of the next round of the French championship, the classification and all the results of the matches played. Below you can watch all of our football videos.
Free and unlimited access to Showbytes? That can!
Log in or create an account and don’t miss anything from the stars.
“Introvert. Avid gamer. Wannabe beer advocate. Subtly charming zombie junkie. Social media trailblazer. Web scholar.”