Fil-French World Cup winner Alphonse Areola out to impress in Real Madrid
MANILA, Philippines – As Real Madrid shook up its goalkeeping ranks on the final day of the summer transfer window, Filipino-French player Alphonse Areola earned a chance to showcase his talents with the 33-time La Liga champion team.
Areola made his way to Madrid as former backup Keylor Navas moved to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), thus bringing in the 2018 World Cup winner on loan from the Ligue 1 champion squad as the primary alternative to Thibaut Courtois.
The transfer was confirmed the day after Real Madrid’s away match Villarreal, where the 26-year-old keeper spent the 2015-2016 season on loan from PSG.
In 2016, Areola helped the Yellow Submarine reach the semifinals of the Europa League.
On an individual level, Areola finished 3rd in the rankings for the Zamora Award – the prize given out each season to the LaLiga Santander goalkeeper with the best goals conceded record – in that 2015-2016 season.
Areola is no stranger to success as he has been a part of many triumphant PSG squads, hitting double figures in terms of medals collected during his time with the capital city club of France.
The Filipino-French keeper was technically part of two World Cup champion squads as he was the starting goalkeeper for France in the 2013 Under-20 World Cup in Turkey and was the third-string keeper in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Despite not being able to play in any match last year, Areola remains known for saving two penalties in the shootout victory over Uruguay in the final of Under-20 World Cup campaign.
Areola had an option to represent the Philippine football team as both his parents are Filipinos, but he committed to France in the end, thus becoming the first player of Filipino origin to lift the World Cup trophy.
However, Areola becomes the second player of Filipino descent to join Real Madrid after keeper Eduardo Teus, who was born in Manila in 1896 and played for Los Blancos in the 1910s. Teus even went on to briefly coach the Spanish national team during the 1940s. – Rappler.com