This summer, DZfoot brings you a series of articles dedicated to the world’s greens. This time, it’s Issa Mandy’s turn to be the center of attention.
He’s been there for so long that we forget he’s only 30 and still has many good years to come. With 76 selection matches played, he is likely to beat Lakhdar Belloumi’s record (97) and reach the cap of one hundred caps.
So far in constant advancement, both at club and selection, Issa Mandy remains a conservative player both on and off the field. Aside from his beautiful set-pieces that sometimes turn into a goal, he’s not particularly distinguished by angry tackles or pointing with his pants. What has always been his strength is his good reading of the game, his sense of anticipation and good healing. He’s become the one and only undisputed rearguard over the years…so far.
pattern of regularity
His football career is limited to only three teams, which is a testament to the seriousness of the character. Mandy started playing at home, in Reims, at the age of eight and developed naturally through the stages until he signed professionally at a legendary club (they reached the double final in the Champions League) and then began to rise. He started as an applicant at the national level (Third Division), immediately after obtaining his baccalaureate, before fully participating in promotion in the first division of the Champagne Club. It will immediately follow four full seasons at the highest level in French football.
Having helped for a long time as a left-back, but especially as a right-back, the skinny defender (1m 86) will have to wait for his last season with Reims to settle in the center of the defense. It was also at the end of 2013 and then the beginning of 2014 when he discovered the Greens as a right-back while Majid Bougherra was still the coach.
His extremely good performances and irresistible demeanor immediately caught the attention of Vahid Halilodzic who is keen on this player’s profile. At 22, Mandy plays in the World Cup and if he remains on the bench against Belgium, he starts against South Korea, and will never leave the national team again.
A 24-year-old, now clearly playing in a central position in a two-man joint or a right piston in a three-man defense, Mandy discovers his scoring talents (11 in two seasons in Ligue 1), and after also playing in CAN, It becomes too big for the Stade de Reims to fall again in the Ligue 1.
A time was announced in AS Saint-Etienne or Olympique Lyonnais, in 2016 in another club in green. European top level pressure.
In the Spanish league vying for the title of the best league in the world along with the English Premier League, Mandy rubs shoulders with the cream of the ball. His coach at the time, Gustavo Bouyer, would start him in his first match at the Camp Nou. The discovery will be easy for Mandy, who will experience a complicated season alongside his club, who will suffer heavy defeats in front of six buses against Barcelona and Real Madrid.
He always knew how to go through the stages, but at his own pace
The following season will be even more convincing since Betis finished sixth in the standings and qualified for the Europa League. Issa Mandy, who is comfortable in the Spanish language and adapts well to his new club, will clearly cross the threshold and will distinguish himself twice against Real Madrid. On the orders of Quique Setien, who will later try to woo him upon his arrival in Barcelona, the Algerian will be far ahead. Along with Marc Bartra or Zuhair Fadhal, he is finally beginning to attract the attention of more high-end clubs, especially in Italy, his talent and fortitude make him a man many would like to count on.
In the selection, George Leekens made him captain during the disastrous 2017 Africa Cup of Nations as he had to fill in the gaps of the losing team along with Bensbini in particular at the hub. He will then occasionally be replaced by left-back Lucas Alcaraz or Rabah Madjer, preferring Hassani or Chafei. Even Belmadi in his first appearance made him play as a full-back.
In 2018-2019, at the age of 27, he played his first European Championship, in particular a double confrontation against Milan in the European League, but the departure of Sétien would not have been successful for players who had a very average season, finishing second. part of the table. Meanwhile, Mandy floats in Bétis infrequently.
In the summer of 2019, he won the African Cup of Nations as a right-wing hub in a joint that he composed with Jamal Benlamri. Finding the colors Having been carried into various positions, the one who was sometimes questioned about his banishment because he didn’t seem comfortable as a right-hander, Mandy literally explodes and forms an ironclad defense conceding just three goals in seven games. He who knew how to be a man of all breeders’ trust, here too he is an indisputable owner in the eyes of Djamel Belmadi, who asked this secretive character to be violent.
Find colors again
Then Mandy at the top. At the club, now on the orders of Manuel Pellegrini, he became deputy captain and was called up by several big clubs. Seville, Olympique Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Inter Milan are all interested in the player who is patiently approaching the end of his contract.
He would eventually do what he felt was a safe option by joining Villarreal, recent winners of the Europa League, and thus the Champions League qualifiers. He was very excited by Unai Emery, so he chose a destination that would presumably allow him to discover C1, at the age of 29, all the while ensuring a time playing he might not have had at Milan, Madrid or Liverpool.
However, since his debut in the European Super Cup against Chelsea, Mandy’s case has been questionable. A substitute, he only goes to extra time, as a right-sided, and to keep the score that his team will eventually give up. This final, which Villarreal lost, perfectly illustrates Mandy’s season: behind Raul Albiol (36), Mandy will only play … 24 minutes on the beautiful track for his people in the LDCs, and he will only have fourteen La Liga starts. However, this is not what will allow his people to shine as Villarreal will finish in a sad seventh place which only allows them to play in minor play-offs in the European League Conference.
A disappointing season that won two titles for Mandy, who, like his teammates of choice, will miss the African Nations Cup in Cameroon and then the World Cup for the second time after being eliminated in the playoffs.
Almost 31 years old, Issa Mandy doesn’t want to wait any longer but with Raul Albiol not intending to retire, the Algerian must really work hard to find a starting place in Villarreal…or somewhere else.
“Hipster-friendly tv trailblazer. Problem solver. Infuriatingly humble introvert. Reader. Student. Subtly charming bacon maven.”