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THE HANG OVER

What on earth has happened to the World Cup’s breakout star?

Aleksandr Golovin was the name on everyone's lips over the summer, but his start to life at Monaco has been blighted with poor performances

The World Cup feels like a very long time ago, doesn’t it?

Of course, it’s only been about seven months since the big one in Russia, but an awful lot has changed since then.

Notably, a number of England’s summer heroes have struggled to replicate their World Cup form for their clubs this season, while much of the buzz surrounding Serbia’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has somewhat petered out.

But perhaps the biggest backslide of all has been that of Russia’s breakout star Aleksandr Golovin.

Looking back on the World Cup like…

Getty - Contributor
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Looking back on the World Cup like…

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Golovin was the name on everyone’s lips way back in July.

Following the host’s brilliant run to the quarter-finals, the ‘Russian Iniesta’ well and truly put himself in the shop window.

Predictably, a whole host of Europe’s big boys came knocking for the 22-year-old, including Chelsea, Arsenal and Juventus.

In the end, it was Monaco who were able to tempt him away from CSKA Moscow, paying the Russian club an undisclosed ‘record’ transfer fee in the process.

But since then, it’s all gone a little too quiet.

Such promise

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Such promise

The fact is, Golovin seems to be experiencing a major World Cup hangover.

At his new club, the midfielder has yet to score a goal and only has two assists to his name so far, while he’s averaging an appallingly-low 6.21 rating for Ligue 1, according to WhoScored.

Digging a little deeper into his individual performances, the Russian has finished only one game with a rating above 7.0 – which was in their 1-1 result against Club Brugge in the Champions League, when he recorded an assist.

Just short of a face-palm

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Just short of a face-palm

To be fair, his time in the Principality has not been helped by a recurring ankle injury, that saw him miss the opening month of the season as well as a handful of games in November.

But since his debut, his only notable contribution has been the straight red card he picked up for a bad tackle in the 3-0 defeat to Lyon in December, while he also missed a great opportunity to the score the winning goal against Marseille last week – when new signing Cesc Fabregas sent him through on goal with a lovely pass.

Golovin looked nailed-on to score here

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Golovin looked nailed-on to score here

His reaction sums it up

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His reaction sums it up

He isn’t the only player to have struggled in a Monaco shirt this season though.

Big names like Djibril Sidibe, Nacer Chadli and Stevan Jovetic have all failed to get going, and it’s no surprise to see the club down in 19th place in the Ligue 1 table.

Under new manager Thierry Henry – who took over from Leornardo Jardim in October – they’ve won just two league games and finished bottom of their Champions League group without winning a single game.

The start to Henry’s managerial career has not gone well

PA:Empics Sport
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The start to Henry’s managerial career has not gone well

Golovin’s poor start to life at Monaco has lead to reports that he might be sold this month, with Zenit Saint Petersburg said to be interested.

But while a number of Monaco players have been linked with January exits, Golovin will surely want to see out the remainder of the season at the very least.

Either way, it surely reiterates how dangerous it can be to sign a player based on their World Cup run-out.


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