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the top 5 players trained at the club!

The reputation of the Olympique Lyonnais training center is well established. It is considered the best in France and one of the very best in Europe. Many players have come out of its ranks over the years. A look back at five talents trained at OL since its creation in 1950.

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5. Samuel Umtiti

When we talk about Samuel Umtiti, his victorious header against Belgium still echoes in our heads. The goal for a final and the rest is history! The native of Yaoundé (Cameroon) arrived in France at the age of 2. He started football at the age of 5 in a club in the Lyon region before joining at 8 years old the Les Gones training center. In ten years among young people (2002-2012), the young Samuel went through all the positions in the field before stabilizing in central defense. He first appeared in pro face AS Duchère, during a 32nd final of the French Cup in January 2012. His qualities enabled him to impose himself within the Lyonnaise defense during four Seasons (171 matches played, 5 goals). In 2016, he decided to fly to Catalonia and the great FC Barcelona. In Spain the defender will perform well but his knee health will deteriorate after the 2017-2018 season, causing him to long absences and the total loss of confidence of the different coaches that he encountered. Today, he is no longer welcome in Barcelona and trying to find a new base. Sad career for a player who gave so much for his country during the campaign in Russia.

4. Ludovic Giuly

Ludovic Giuly alias “the magic elf” started the first pages of his career in Lyon. It is launched for the first time during the reception of AS Cannes at home in 1994, he is 18 years old. Her small size and his liveliness gave him a reputation that has not failed to attract the biggest European clubs. He will play four seasons before leaving for the principality where in 2003, it is very close to winning the Champions League, dryly beaten 3-0 by the Porto of José Mourinho. Thereafter, he engages with Barcelona where he achieved the best part of his career. He notably won a LDC and two titles of champion of Spain after 6 years of scarcity for the Blaugranas. In selection, the story is less beautiful since he not participate in Euro 2000he was injured just before the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004 but still won the Confederations Cup in 2003. He ended his career in 2013 after stints in Rome, Paris Monaco and Lorient. He takes the path of the amateur world where he will play for three seasons in the club of his childhood Chasselay-Monts d’Or Azergues or GOAL FC for the Lyonnais, following a promise made to the then president Gérard Leroy. For several years he has been in charge of young players, notably at ASM and more recently at OL, where he was appointed assistant in charge of attackers this summer.

3. Anthony Lopes

The Portuguese goalkeeper has been the delight of OL and supporters since 2012. Passed by the youngsters between 2007 and 2012, it was when Hugo Lloris left in 2012 that Anthony Lopes joined the pro group. He is playing his first professional against OGC Nice in the round of 16 of the Coupe de la Ligue where the Lyonnais lost 3 goals to 1. The 1.84m goalkeeper compensated for his few centimeters less by good relaxation, of unparalleled vivacity and an excellent vision of the game. In 419 games with Les Gones, the goalkeeper of 31 has not won a single title. In selection, Anthony Lopes won Euro 2016 in France against the host country but did not play a single minute. If the success is full in the Rhone, in Portugal it remains for the moment, the eternal second.

2. Fleury Di Nallo

Let’s take our time machine and go back to the 1960s-70s! “The Little Prince of Gerland” is known to be one of the club’s iconic strikers. Author of 222 goals in 489 games with OLIt is the club’s top scorer. He won several titles with Les Gones including three French Cups in 1964, 1967 and 1973. During a match against Red Star, Fleury Di Nallo is tackled by Carlos Monin who provokes him a double fracture of the tibia-fibula which keeps him away from the field for almost a year. In 1975, he signed up with the ancestor of the MHSC, the Montpellier PSC which was playing in DH at that time. After two seasons at the club, he put on his playing career and returned to Lyon where he held various positions within the Lyon institution.

1. Karim Benzema

How not to finish this top 5 with one of the greatest talents of the Lyon training center for the last 10 or even 15 years. The native of Bron joined the academy at the age of 10 before signing his professional contract in 2005. In four seasons with OL, he won 4 titles of champion of France (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008), two Champions Trophies (2006 and 2007) as well as a French Cup (2008). The forward signed for Real Madrid in 2009 and the rest is history! He is the second top scorer of the Merengue club behind Cristiano Ronaldo (323 goals) and is part of a very closed circle of players who have won the most LDCs (5). At the forefront of Real’s attack for more than 10 years, Karim Benzema’s reputation is second to none. In selection, many will remember the affair of the sextape with Mathieu Valbuena which kept him away from the Blues for seven years. He returns to the list for Euro 2020 and won the 2021 Nations League a few months later against Spain, scoring a sumptuous goal.


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