Wissam Ben Yedder profile: Sevilla striker from Sarcelles, the most dangerous area of Paris, who grew up with Riyad Mahrez and learned futsal after top clubs rejected him

The 27-year-old Sevilla striker came up the hard way, playing on the streets in the most dangerous area of Paris.

His best friend was another immigrant son who would go on to became a big name, Leicester’s star man Riyad Mahrez.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, the good news for England is that he has picked France ahead of Tunisia.

Five times the Tunisians have asked him to represent them, and five times he has said no, the last coming in October 2017.

Since then, Tunisia have qualified for the World Cup in Russia, and face England in a Group G match on June 18 in Volgograd.

Why he turned down Tunisia…

Lucky for the Three Lions, Ben Yedder has always had his eye on playing for Les Bleus.

It's why when Tunisia came calling, he snubbed their advances and prays for a French call-up.

“I have a lot of respect for Tunisia, but France is something else, it's the team I want to play for,” he told El Pais.

“At the moment the manager (Didier Deschamps) chooses others, but of course it's a dream to play the World Cup with France.

“If I keep scoring goals in Sevilla and in competitions like the Champions League it could be fulfilled.”

Life was rough growing up for an immigrant's son…

Being born in Sarcelles was the making of the man and it gave Ben Yedder the drive to succeed.

Not many make it out alive, away from the gangs and crime that surrounded his upbringing, but he was determined.

“I had a pretty difficult childhood,” Ben Yedder told Uefa.com.

“Not many people succeed, there are lots of talented young players and lots of players with huge potential and so it’s hard to come looking for players there.

It’s really tough because there are lots of players who, unfortunately, just lack a bit of success.”



Before he became pro, he played futsal…

Before he turned professional, Ben Yedder honed his talents and technique in the unforgiving futsal world.

He played for Garges Djibson in the Championnat de France de Futsal Division One, as well as the French national team and under-21s.


NIGHT-MOUR Manchester United 1 Sevilla 2: Wissam Ben Yedder comes off bench to dump dire Red Devils out of Champions League


Fifth-tier team UJA Maccabi Paris Metropole saw his potential and took a punt on him and he soon moved to Toulouse after that.

"In futsal, I picked up specific technical skills," Ben Yedder said in an interview with Bleacher Report.

"It also really improved my reaction time. In terms of footing and balance, too, futsal teaches you a lot. And most importantly, you learn to be very clinical in front of goal.

"These skills are what really helped me when I first started out in professional football.

“Whether it is in duels with defenders or against keepers, I use a lot of what I learnt and perfected playing futsal all those years ago."

He has a special kinship with Leicester's Mahrez that's born out of the ghetto…


Ben Yedder and The Foxes playmaker knocked about on the same estate, playing a brand of street football to pass the days by.

But the forward looks back on those times fondly, as well how they've both gone on to succeed since.

“It’s great to look back at when we used to play in the neighbourhood, seeing mum shouting and also how we grew up playing in football tournaments between the estates," he told Uefa.com.

"We’d go to another estate and play them. Also, seeing yourself progress bit by bit – those are all happy memories."

He doesn't mind being a Twitter troll…

The scourge of United has taken potshots at Arsenal, Man U, even A.C. Milan on social.

He's certainly not afraid to say what he feels, while rubbing salt onto the wounds of suffering footy fans.

When Sevilla fought back from three goals down to earn a 3-3 draw against Liverpool earlier this season he tweeted, 'hope @acmilan watched it' referencing the 2005 Champions League final.

After beating United last night, Ben Yedder was quick to share a tweet a fan had predicted that he would have a hand in knocking Jose Mourinho's side out of the tournament.

He captioned the tweet: 'He knew even before me.'

Arsenal's Emirates Cup also came under fire, with Ben Yedder taking offense to the rules that meant the Gunners won the trophy even though Sevilla won both their games.

He jokingly tweeted in 2017, 'We win 2/2 but we are not first. Give us back the cup Arsenal ahaha.'


Then, when one fan decided to have a pop at him, Ben Yedder got even funnier.

He wrote: 'Ahaha. Don't be mad bro. You may get your revenge in Champions Le…… Oh wait.' Of course, Arsenal aren't in the Champions League this year.

Look away West Ham fans because he could've been leading your forward line…

The Hammers passed up the opportunity to sign Ben Yedder for just £8m in 2016 for one, very simple reason.

They thought he was too small (he's 5'6") and he wouldn't be strong enough for the rigors of English football.

Given that he's scored doubles against Liverpool and Man United this season, that couldn't be further from the truth.

It might've stopped Hammers' fans from rioting too.

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