Tall in size from the top of his 1.94 meter, Ibrahima Konaté is nonetheless a “small” among the Blues. Before France-Australia this Tuesday evening when the central defender of Liverpool is announced holder in the axis of the defense of the France team, the player trained at Paris FC then at Sochaux has only two small selections. However, this does not prevent Didier Deschamps from considering him as a pillar of his new defense as the young defender displays calm, zenitude and confidence before this first major international competition.
Didier Deschamps is not the only one to show his confidence in him. “He always assured when he was confronted with new situations, whether at Sochaux when he started as a pro, at Leipzig or Liverpool”, notes one of his trainers at Sochaux, Eric Hély in an article by L ‘Team dedicated to the young phenomenon. Curiously, Ibrahima Konaté even displays more guarantees than his friend Dayot Upamecano, pillar of Bayern Munich but until then disappointing, feverish or even frankly worrying during his 7 selections. Their agreement will certainly be one of the highlights of the Blues this Tuesday against Australia since the Upamecano-Konaté doublet knows each other well. The two young players played side by side for four years in the RB Leipzigthe pinnacle of the Red Bull galaxy, which they joined at a very young age, illustrating the energy drink giant’s “nursery of talent” policy.
The Frenchman plays today in one of the biggest clubs in the world: Liverpool, recent finalist of the last Champions League. Often crossed out by Virgil Van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp’s defenseman and by the most experienced Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konaté has gradually made his mark. A regular substitute in the Premier League, he played a major role in the Reds’ journey to the Champions League, an epic that ended with a defeat in the final against Real Madrid at the Stade de France last May.
idier Deschamps had to resolve to form an extended list and not be satisfied with 23 names. Ibrahima Konaté had already taken advantage of this climate of serial sores to join the France team for the first time in September 2022 for the League of Nations matches. The Liverpool stopper, called up in the wake of Raphaël Varane’s package, was able to discover the blue jersey against Austria and Croatia, rewarding a clear progression already welcomed by his coach at the Reds, demanding Jürgen Klopp. It is for the moment his only experience in Blue … before this World Cup.
Before joining Liverpool in 2021, Ibrahima Konaté was trained at Paris FC before joining the FC Sochaux Montbéliard training center in 2014. It is in the Doubs that the defensive midfielder is placed in the axis of the defense where he started in Ligue 2 during the 2016-2017 season. At the end of this first professional season, he chose not to extend his contract and went to Germany for RB Leipzig, which was attracting more and more young French players (like Dayot Upamecano, also a young hope for the French defense). He won there definitively in the 2018-2019 season and was then transferred to Liverpool in the summer of 2021 for an amount estimated between 35 and 40 million euros.
Ibrahima Konaté is a central defender by trade. If he began his training as a defensive midfielder, he logically took a step back during his young years at Sochaux, asserting his power and his heading game to win. Tall from the top of his 1.94m, powerful and fast, he appreciates the duels but also the covers and admits to being inspired by the defensive leader of Liverpool, the Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk considered as one of the best stoppers in the world. We have known worse model in training…