Rayan Cherki: ‘I went home, sat with my mother, and cried’

In October 2019, Rayan Cherki (20) made the step up from Olympique Lyonnais’s famous academy system into their first team. He was only sixteen but even at that age there was the promise of more to come from a player who looked entirely natural on a pitch with seasoned professionals. 

For players like Cherki who enter the game at such a young age, it can all look so easy for them, they look as if they have the world at their feet. The dream they’ve been spending their short lives working towards and unimaginable riches are on the horizon. 

There is rarely ever a thought to the welfare of the player, to the mental strain that can come with thrusting a teenager into the intense mental and physical demands of professional football. 

And when, like Cherki this season, these players begin to blow hot and cold, and their mercurial talents linger more on the inconsistent, there is rarely ever a question about their health. Fixing problems is difficult, but finding the next new talent to throw into the meat grinder is easy. 

‘At the end of each season, it was the same’ – Rayan Cherki

In an interview with SO Foot, Cherki has touched on this issue and brings to light the pressures that come with being a professional footballer. “We don’t realise it, but after matches, the players can never sleep.” 

At the end of each season, it was the same, except for the last one because of the under 21 Euros: I went home, I sat with my mother and cried.” The forward explained, “All the pressure and emotional burden of the year had to go away.” 


GFFN | Nick Hartland

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