It’s been a pretty good week in the Wissam Ben Yedder household.
Two goals in the Champions League to knockout Man Untied kicked things off before the 27-year-old was called up to the France national team for the first time.
Well I say the first time, but the Sevilla striker has represented France in a different kind of football before.
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Ben Yedder grew up playing futsal, the five-a-side indoor version of the beautiful game, and in 2010 played for French national futsal side.
Futsal breeds a completely different style of play compared to the traditional routes of progressing through an academy.
And it is clearly visible in Ben Yedder’s game today with his close control and speed of dribbling.
The great and good of football have cut their teeth on futsal courts all over the world and you can tell when they play the game.
For those of you that don’t know, it is the fast paced older brother of traditional five-a-side where the ball is allowed to go above hip height and tricks, skills and showing off are positively encouraged.
Ben Yedder grew up in Sarcelles and was childhood friends with Riyad Mahrez, can you imagine having to play those two in the park when you were 11?
And although he has finally made it to Champions League football at Sevilla, Ben Yedder had a very unconventional path to get there.
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The 5’7″ striker learnt the game playing for amateur sides in his local area and was never picked up by an academy.
He started his career at 17 years old playing for UJA Alfortville in Paris playing in France’s fourth league.
But after embarrassing defenders on a weekly basis with the dribbling technique and wicked turns he learnt on the futsal caught, Ben Yedder was given a chance to make it as a professional with Toulouse.
However, during his time at UJA Ben Yedder was called up to France Futsal for two games, scoring once for the national futsal side.
Check out some of his skills below…
The Journey from futsal to professional football player is well trodden with a lot of South American stars of the game perfecting their samba style in the indoor version.
Futsal is essentially what every Brazilian grows up playing before they are handed a chance to go to a professional club.
Neymar is no different and the PSG star has explained how regularly completing triple nutmegs of players 10 years older than him turned him into one of the best players in the world with the ball at his feet.
Such is his conviction that 5-a-side is the best was to learn the game he started his own international tournament.
Here’s another Brazilian who was fed a diet of stepovers and rainbow flicks during his footballing education.
His twinkling toes were too hot for the Premier League to handle and he’s found his place with another couple of futsal fellows in Lionel Messi and Luiz Suarez at Barcelona.
The god of passing football came through the La Masia academy at Barcelona but he admits he would have been nothing without futsal.
“In normal football you don’t necessarily identify talent as easily because it’s so much more physical. But with futsal, you notice the small details in quality, class and tactical understanding,” Xavi told fifa.com.
You might not think that Micah Richards robust defensive styled would have been crafted on the slick indoor courts.
You would be very wrong.
Remember when Richards was a promising young defender at Man City? Well he learnt all his composure on the playing futsal.
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