Rabbi Matondo: Things to Know About the In-Demand Welshman Impressing in the Bundesliga

Rabbi Matondo
Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen - German DFB Pokal | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

After Jadon Sancho's success in the Bundesliga, Germany quickly became the hottest destination for young Brits who felt starved of first-team opportunities. One such player is Welshman Rabbi Matondo, who followed Sancho out of Manchester City and landed in Schalke.

Matondo has made his breakthrough to the senior side this season and has caught the eye on a number of occasions, prompting rumours of a high-profile move back to England in the summer.

Here's everything you need to know about the winger.

He Caused a Legal Battle When He Joined Man City

FAW Training Session and Press Conference
FAW Training Session and Press Conference | Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Ever since he joined up with Cardiff City's academy at the age of eight, Matondo has been viewed as a future star. Cardiff felt he could become one of the club's greatest products, so they weren't best pleased when Manchester City lure him away for a nominal fee.

Cardiff were so upset that they started a legal battle against City which left Matondo unable to play for his new side for several months until the case was resolved.

The Bluebirds came out on the losing end as a result of their lower academy status, with City paying just £500,000 to take the youngster off of their hands.

He Rejected England at International Level

Ryan Giggs,Rabbi Matondo
Wales v Trinidad and Tobago - International Friendly | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Matondo is already a regular international for Wales, but he used to play his international football for England.

He was eligible to play for the Three Lions after being born in Liverpool, and he even had the chance to turn out for DR Congo through his parents, but Matondo was always clear that he wanted to represent Wales.

After moving to Cardiff at a young age, Matondo grew up in the Tremorfa district and quickly became loyal to the Dragons, so making a final decision on his international future didn't exactly take him too long.

He's a Versatile Forward

Matondo made his name as a winger at academy level and is usually billed as such, but that doesn't tell the whole story.

He has played largely as either a striker or a central attacking midfielder at Schalke, and he admitted to the Bundesliga that he is comfortable anywhere across the forward line.

Matondo even added that he'd drop back into central midfield if he was asked to do so, such is his desire to play first-team football.

He Grew Up as an Arsenal Fan

FBL-ENG-FACUP-ARSENAL-TOTTENHAM
FBL-ENG-FACUP-ARSENAL-TOTTENHAM | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

He might have been born in Liverpool and represented Manchester City, but Matondo actually spent his youth as an Arsenal fan.

The Welshman told The Athletic that he used to enjoy watching Serge Gnabry strut his stuff at the Emirates Stadium, and he has followed the German's career from West Bromwich Albion to Bayern Munich.

Thierry Henry Is His Idol

Thierry Henry
Arsenal v Leeds United - FA Cup Third Round | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Watching Gnabry was all well and good, but Matondo's favourite hobby was watching Gunners legend Thierry Henry in action.

Matondo described Henry as his 'role model' growing up, but the youngster has also spent plenty of time watching Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappé.

Basically, Matondo likes dynamic, exciting attacking players, so it should come as no surprise that he has turned into one himself.

He Used to Be Man City's Fastest Player

If you watch Matondo play, one of the first things that stands out is his electric pace. The youngster is really, really fast.

In fact, when he was at Manchester City, he actually finished top of the charts in a speed test, coming ahead of Raheem Sterling and breaking the record set by Leroy Sané.

The German was so incensed that he challenged Matondo to a one-on-one race to try and salvage his pride, only to see the youngster beat him yet again.

He Used to Play Rugby

Rabbi Matondo
FC Schalke 04 - Training Session | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Dating back to his days at school, Matondo has always been an athlete who is happy to do anything sporty, and former PE teacher Harry Trelawny offered a funny anecdote to Wales Online about Matondo's spot in the rugby team.

"Every week he'd put himself forward to play rugby, but we'd never let him because we knew we had to wrap him up in cotton wool a little bit because of his football," Trelawny said.


"I always remember, when we were playing our inter-form rugby championship, Rabbi was actually in line to play for England under-15s against Mexico a few days later, and he was literally begging us to play.

"A man went down and he ran on without us looking, made a 40-yard run and was on the end of massive tackle at the end of it. He got up with a smile on his face. That was how he was."

Man City Have a Buy-Back Clause

Rabbi Matondo, Herbie Kane
Manchester City v Liverpool - UEFA Youth League Quarter-Final | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

After losing Sancho with nothing more than first refusal on any future transfer, City made sure not to make the same mistake when they sold Matondo in January 2019.

After a few weeks of uncertainty, Bild settled on the existence of a €55m buy-back clause, although other reports have that figure at slightly closer to the €70m mark.

Whatever the figure, City have the option to bring Matondo back in the near future, or they could simply choose to re-sign him and flip him for a profit if any team is willing to spend heavily on him. The possibilities are endless.

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