In the final minute of last Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final between Juventus and Barcelona, the Italian giants introduced 18-year-old Frenchman Kingsley Coman to give the spirit of a teen for his first major cup final. Indeed, with this performance, Coman proved he deserves to remain part of the long-term plan at Juventus, as the youngster has only just begun to unlock his clearly vast potential.
Almost 12 months ago, the versatile attacking talent had been warming the substitutes’ bench at the Parc des Princes. Many times he was not even included in Paris Saint-Germain’s match-day squads, yet last weekend he was featuring in European club football’s most prestigious cup game.
Born in Paris, Coman began his career with US Sénart-Moissy in 2002, at the age of 6. After two years with the club, he was scouted by Ligue 1 side, Paris St. Germain, with whom he joined the youth academy in 2004. He is the youngest player to play for Paris Saint-Germain at the age of 16 years, 8 months and 4 days. For this substitution, Coman was awarded a league medal at the conclusion of the campaign as a champion of Ligue 1 in 2013 with PSG.
In July 2014, Kingsley signed a five-year deal following the expiration of his contract with the French side. A month after the deal, he made his first debut for Serie A by playing against Chievo and was awarded man of the match. Coman’s debut season in Italy was not exactly a roaring success on paper; he featured 16 times across all competitions, scored once and provided two assists.
However, almost 500 minutes of first-team football in Turin is comfortably more than he was receiving in Paris before last summer’s move and more than he probably would have got in the campaign just finished had he stayed.
Coman appeared as a substitute for Juventus in the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final as La Vecchia Signora was defeated 3–1 by Messi and his teammates at Berlin’s Olympiastadion. On the other hand, a late cameo in the Champions League final alone does not justify Coman’s decision to leave the French capital for northern Italy. The fact that he has been involved in the starting XI on multiple occasions and got to feature in a game of such magnitude will surely give the Bianconeri man a sense of vindication over his decision to quit PSG.
France is renowned for producing talented young footballers prodigiously and the country’s youth teams are regularly among the best in the world game. The under-17s secured their second UEFA European Championship crown and the under-20s bagged an impressive 12th Toulon tournament title as recently as last weekend, the day after Coman was trotting onto the Olympiastadion pitch in Berlin for Juventus.