Amadou Haidara: 5 things on RB Leipzig’s new midfield dynamo
He’s been dubbed as Naby Keita’s successor and idolised Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, but who exactly is new RB Leipzig signing Amadou Haidara ?
1) Early starter
Born and raised in the landlocked African nation of Mali on 31 January 1998, Haidara hails from Bamako in the south-west of the country, close to the border with Guinea. He started playing football at the age of five with his brothers and friends before his talent was discovered by JMG Academy Bamoko, where he progressed through the youth ranks. Haidara was eventually scouted by Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg in 2016, but initially went out on loan to second division side FC Liefering to help him acclimatise to European football.
Amadou Haidara joins fellow Africans such as Salomon Kalou and Nabil Bentaleb in the Bundesliga. – AFP/Getty Images
2) UEFA Youth League winner
Haidara scored two goals in 25 appearances for Liefering, but was called back to Salzburg and slotted into the U19 side. He was in the starting line-up for every game of the UEFA Youth League knockout rounds in early 2017 (including facing Jadon Sancho and Manchester City in the play-offs) beating Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona en route to the final, where they overcame Benfica 2-1 to lift Salzburg’s first title at U19 level.
Although he was just 19 at the time, that was not Haidara’s first taste of international football. He was also a mainstay in the Mali side that reached the final of the FIFA U17 World Cup in Chile in 2015, which they ended up losing 2-0 to Nigeria.