Luis Enrique still only calls him “number 8”, as if it were an U15 scouting ground in the depths of Andalusia. But the Spanish coach, a beautiful player after his team’s elimination against Morocco on Tuesday (0-0, 0-3 on penalties), thinks highly of Azzedine Ounahi. In defense of the most famous Twitcheur in this World Cup, the 22-year-old midfielder was still unknown, or almost, to the general public before the start of the competition.
He has 46 Ligue 1 games (2 goals and 2 assists) to his name with Angers, but in a certain anonymity. Educated at the Mohammed VI Academy in Morocco, he never had a chance in the elite during his two seasons at RC Strasbourg (from 2018 to 2020) before revealing himself in the National at Avranches (2020-2021), then seducing SCO.
Not the kind of pitch that usually earns you the praise of a Luis Enrique in the round of 16 of the World Cup. Still, it is the beautiful story that Azzedine Ounahi lives in Qatar. “I was pleasantly surprised by the Moroccan number 8. Oh my God, where is this boy from? He played very well, he surprised me,” said the former Barça coach. But finally Luis, it was enough to slip a head at the René Fenouillère stadium in Avranches two years ago to see the obvious.