Ugo Ekitiak:The 19-year old scored eight goals for Reims during the first half of the Ligue 1 Season, making him one of the most promising young French players.
The 19-year old player
You might be looking to have fun with your family and friends by taking a football-based quiz over the New Year. But one question will confuse anyone who doesn’t closely follow Ligue 1: Who is the top teenager goal scorer in Europe’s top five leagues during the first half of the 2021-22 season?
The answer is Reims striker Ugo Ekitiak.
Although he is not yet a household name in France, Ekitiak, 19, has shown great form over the first few months of the season and will soon be a celebrity all over the globe.
Ekitiak’s breakthrough was a significant step in his career. He had played for Cormontreuil, a local amateur team when he was around 10 years old.
Jean Felipe, aka “Nano”) was a football coach who invited the youngster to spend a summer with him in his family.
“When we arrived, the boys opened the cupboard to find a Reim’s jacket,” recalls Nano to Enough Football. It was too big for my son but it fitted Ugo perfectly so he kept it.”
“He signed a non-solicitation contract to join the Reims Youth Academy shortly after the holidays.”
Nano, who was Ekitiak’s coach from the U7s to U12s, kept telling him that he was being signed by a former Champions League finalist. But the boy didn’t listen and continued to focus on his goal of becoming the best player possible.
Nano said that he scored many goals at Cormontreuil without getting too excited.” Nano would not say how many goals he scored during a match.
He’s a winner, who doesn’t like to show off and wants to do better. But not to be the best. He is a player who will make the best pass possible in front of a goal.
Nano said that Reims might be interested in Ekitiak’s services, adding: “They must be fed-up with Ekitiak scoring against them!”
Join the club
Ekitiak joined the club eight years ago and has been a key player in Reims’ attacking team. He scored eight goals in 17 Ligue 1 matches, including goals against Lyon and Marseille. He has now scored seven goals in the last 10 games and added three assists.
Only a few months after being transferred to Denmark, he has been one of France’s brightest young players this season.
Ekitiak made his Reims debut in October 2020. However, after only one appearance in the first part of the season, Ekitiak accepted an offer from Vejle to join the Danish side. Here he would be able to play against experienced defenders who had played in Europe rather than the fourth tier of Reims’ reserve team.
Ekitiak’s time in Scandinavia was successful with three goals and two assists in eleven games, seven of which were starts. The transfer nearly didn’t happen though, as Ekitiak, his club representatives, and his agent were denied entry to Copenhagen airport in January.
Ekitiak was left alone in a new country after Vejle was placed under epidemic lockdown.
He was not discouraged by the incident.
“When he realized this, he looked at Ekitiak and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care.” Enough Football was told by a source close to Ekitiak. He was 18 years of age and behaved calmly despite being in a country with an embargo, cold, and language barriers.
Ekitiak was described by his closest friends as down-to-earth and focused. His rise in football stardom did not match his lifestyle.
Ekitiak’s close friend said to Enough Football that he won’t be going to Dubai during Christmas. He will spend time with his family and grandparents, and he will be able to spend his time alone to think, relax, and watch films.
“He also watches TV’s big hit series, Game of Squids is his favorite TV show. He just started watching Game of Thrones after Desperado.
Ekitiak says that he wants to be a good footballer and emulate Mbappe.
He said, “That’s how it means to play top and that’s the goal I strive to achieve,” FootMercato asked him while speaking about Paris Saint-Germain‘s star. “He’s the player that I have seen the most over the past few years. He inspires me, and not just on the pitch.”
Mbappe scored 15 goals during his first full Ligue 1 season in Monaco in 2016-17, despite only being one year older than the current Ekitiak. There are similarities between their games, including the fact that Ekitiak likes to curl shots with his left foot and cut in from the left.
Ekitiak stands at 189cm tall and has a fluid running style. He also makes up for his lack of speed with smart movement in the box.
One of Ekitiak’s friends said that Ekitiak has the mentality and physical strength of Kobe Bryant, despite being only 19 years old. He doesn’t mind if you tell him that he has only 10 minutes to play a game. Instead, he views it as a challenge.
Ekitiak enjoys watching other players and is also keen to evaluate his performance. His substitute appearance against Paris Saint-Germain was one that Ekitiak was unhappy with. One source suggests that Marquinhos, the opposition defender, felt particularly stupid after he had passed the ball to him.
Ekitiak will attempt to remedy that situation when Reims faces off against the Ligue 1 leaders on January 23.
Marquinhos, Mbappe, and other people have been warned. If they don’t know Hugo Ekitiak, they will very soon.