Jules Koundé: 8 Things to Know About Rising French Star

Sep 20, 2020, 3:30 PM GMT+1
Jules Kounde
Jules Kounde is in high demand | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
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If you haven't taken notice of Sevilla centre-back Jules Koundé, it's time you do. He could be the name on everyone's lips in the next 12 months.

In his debut season in Spain, the 21-year-old Frenchman was an integral part of Sevilla's successful Europa League campaign and has since attracted interest from Manchester City, who failed with a €55m bid to sign him this summer.

It's time to pay close attention to Koundé, and here's everything you need to know about him.

1. His Nickname is Cafu

Cafu
Kounde is known as Cafu among his team-mates | PEDRO UGARTE/Getty Images

Despite being a centre-back by trade, Koundé has spent a fair bit of time out as a right-back, and his Sevilla teammates were so impressed with his skills out wide that they named him 'Cafu', after the iconic Brazilian defender.

“In training he takes the ball on the side, runs out and we shout: 'There goes Cafu!'" centre-back partner Diego Carlos told ESPN.

"He goes and doesn't come back, he advances until he finishes and scores. He's a boy who can go back and forth, has a lot of strength and power in his legs."

2. He Saw a Psychiatrist Because of His Hatred of Losing

Jules Kounde
Kounde once had real problems with losing | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

During an interview with Onze Mondial, Koundé confessed that he has never dealt well with defeat. When he was eight years old, he used to throw tantrums when his side lost and even ended up kicking his own mother in frustration.

He had to change teams because he couldn't cope with losing and ended up having to see a psychiatrist to address his anger issues which, fortunately, are no longer a problem.

3. He Wants to Change the World

Jules Kounde
Kounde dreams of making a real impact | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

One look at Koundé's Twitter account and you'll see that the Frenchman is well aware that there is more to life than football.

Koundé prefers to use his influence to try to inspire change in the world, tackling various social, political and environmental issues to try and inspire change.

He takes inspiration from Nelson Mandela and also NBA star LeBron James, who uses his platform for the same reasons.

4. He's Not the Tallest

Jules Kounde, Vinicius Jr
Kounde isn't blessed with real height | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

When you think of a typical centre-back, Koundé won't often spring to mind because of his physicality. He stands at closer to 5'10, and it's something that he is well aware will be seen as a problem.

“Growing up, it was often said to me that my size could be a problem for managers," he told Foot Mercato. "I always tried to compensate with my technique, with how I play out from the back, it’s very important,” he said shortly after breaking into the Bordeaux first-team.

“It’s true that sometimes at my height you can’t always challenge in aerial duels but you can always manage the opponent. I’ve always had good timing, I like aerial duels and I jump relatively high, so that really helps. But my small size has never been a problem for me.”

5. He Likes Opponents Using His Height Against Him

Jules Kounde
He loves an aerial battle | TF-Images/Getty Images

Despite his slight frame, Koundé ended last season with one of the best records for aerial duels in La Liga. According to the player himself, that's because opponents always underestimate him.

"I win more head-to-head duels than Sergio Ramos because the opponents don't dare play long on Ramos," Koundé explained. "They must say to themselves 'It's Jules Koundé, he's not tall, we're going to take him down in the air'.

"I am often targeted, I feel it. And sometimes, it is pointed out to me. After games, I am often told that. When I watch my matches again, I realise that I play a lot more aerial duels than the others. They say to themselves that it will be easier against Koundé, and that motivates me."

6. He's Seen as a Modern Defender

Koundé relishes aerial battles, but one of his top attributes is his passing range. Bordeaux began to give him more influence towards the end of his time in France and Sevilla are rarely scared of asking him to kickstart their attacks.

He's known for his love of a long pass, and he definitely has the quality to pull them off, but one concern for Koundé is that he does not yet have the required vision to make him a major threat.

He often misses good runs from his teammates, but that's something which can be improved as he develops.

7. He Has Already Ruled Out a Summer Move

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Alongside City, Koundé's name has been linked to a whole host of European giants, with Real Madrid and Barcelona often suggested as potential suitors. Unfortunately for them, Koundé's having none of it.

He told Estadio Deportivo that he is no rush to leave Sevilla, before echoing to Marca that he's keen to play in the Champions League with Sevilla next season.

8. He Has Some Pretty Impressive Idols

Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos
Kounde enjoys watching Varane and Ramos | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

You can often tell a lot about a young player from which other stars they like to watch. For Koundé, his favourite player to watch is fellow Frenchman Raphaël Varane, but there are a few others he enjoys.

Koundé credits both Sergio Ramos and Thiago Silva for helping him grow as a player, and he has always relished lining up opposite those players during his career.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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