Lille, not only Pépé: the best talented players launched in recent years. PHOTO

Lille, not only Pépé: the best talented players launched in recent years. PHOTO

Napoli are pressing on Ivorian talent Nicolas Pépé, Milan are aiming for Rafael Leao. They are only the latest jewels valued by Lille. The French team has been a launching pad for many, including former Roma manager Rudi Garcia

Napoli is pressing on Ivorian talent Nicolas Pépé, Milan chasing Rafael Leao. Italian teams have often fished at Lille's home. Here are the other stars launched by the French club

Napoli set their sights on NICOLAS PÉPÉ, Lille's driver last season. The Ivorian has gone in double figures in recent seasons (22 goals in 38 appearances in the last French league, 14 in goals in 36 in the previous one). The red and white club asks for a lot of money for the player: will Napoli decide to please him?

Another Lille talent that likes Italy (and beyond) is RAFAEL LEAO: the Portuguese striker, born in 1999, scored 8 goals on his debut in Ligue-1 last season

A year later Napoli thinks of another blow from Lille: last summer the club of President Aurelio De Laurentiis bought KEVIN MALCUIT for 13 million euros from the red and white club, which had taken the French from Saint-Etienne where he had arrived after youth in Monaco. Malcuit made 27 appearances in his first season with Carlo Ancelotti

The big star born in Lille recently is EDEN HAZARD: the Belgian midfielder grew up in the youth club of the French club with which he won Ligue 1 and the French Cup in 2010-11. In the summer of 2012 the Belgian went to Chelsea where he stayed until a few weeks ago before signing with Real Madrid, which spent 100 million euros to buy it

The career of the Ivorian GERVINHO also took another turn after the experience at Lille: the former Roma striker played and scored alongside Hazard in the 2010-11 season, that of the double. After two seasons in France, Gervinho went to Arsenal and then to Rome strongly desired by Rudi Garcia, already his former manager at Lille. After the experience in China at the Hebei CFFC, the Ivorian chose to return to A this time at Parma

Many champions of the future have grown in Lille. The last in order of time is DIVOCK ORIGI, who made his bones with the French club before moving to Liverpool in 2015-16 (5 goals in 16 Premier League games). The following year the forward played more (34 league appearances and 7 goals). In 2017-18 the Reds chose to send him on loan to Wolfsburg before he returned to base to win the last Champions League (goal at Barça in the return semi-final and in the final against Tottenham)

STEPHAN LICHTSTEINER also passed through Lille: the Swiss was in France from 2005 to 2008, becoming a point of reference for the red and white club. Then the full back was bought by Lazio, where he stayed for three seasons before moving to Juventus with which he won seven league titles. Lichsteiner is released after the last season at Arsenal

ADIL RAMI also took off at Lille: the defender played with the French club for five seasons and was one of the protagonists of the 'double' won by Garcia's team. In the summer of 2011 Rami moved to Valencia, where he remained for three seasons before moving to Milan under Filippo Inzaghi's orders. After the experience in Italy, Rami has returned to Spain, this time at Sevilla, and from summer 2017 he plays for Marseille

Another product of the Lille nursery is LUCAS DIGNE, who wore the Lille shirt until summer 2013, when he switched to the PSG for 15 million euros. Then the player went on loan to Roma 2015-16 and was bought by Barcelona where he stayed for two seasons. Last year Digne was a point of reference for Everton

Also the career of MICHEL BASTOS has changed thanks to Lille: in 2006 the outside landed in France after the seasons in Brazil and Holland. In its three seasons in red and white, Bastos has also grown in terms of achievement: 3 goals in the first year (26 games), 8 in the second (35 games) and 14 in the third (37 appearances). In the summer of 2009, the Brazilian moved to Lyon, winner of seven league titles won between 2001 and 2008: his former coach Claude Puel wanted it strongly. In 2013 Bastos left France for Germany first and then the United Arab Emirates. In January 2014, the exterior arrived to Roma on loan from Al-Ain and made 16 Serie A appearances before returning to Brazil.

The history of DIMITRI PAYET has also changed after being at Lille: the player was bought by the red and white club in the summer of 2011 for 9 million euros and played alongside Hazard, Joe Cole and Obraniak. In 2012-13 the team mates left and for Payet the year of exploit came under Garcia's orders: with 12 goals and 12 assists he became the best assist-man in Ligue 1 on an equal footing with Valbuena. In the summer of 2013, Marseille chose to focus on the Frenchman, who went on loan to West Ham in 2015-17. After the Premier experience, Payet returned to Marseille

Another player forged by Lille is YOHAN CABAYE: the midfielder grew up in the French club and wore the red and white shirt from 2003 to 2011, also winning a French championship and a French Cup. After these successes, Cabaye went to Newcastle in Premier where he stayed for three seasons. In January 2014, the PSG paid 30 million to buy it, but the experience of the midfielder in France lasted only a season and a half. In the summer of 2015 Cabaye signed a three-year contract with Crystal Palace. In the last season the Frenchman has played with Al-Nasr in the United Arab Emirates

If he hadn't been bought by Lille, maybe DANTE would never have become a player known at European level. In 2004 the red and white club caught the defender from the Juventude Brazilians and brought him to France. After the two seasons at Lille, Dante left Belgium (Charleroi and Standard), then arrived in Germany: M'Gladbach then Bayern Munich before the 2015-16 season at Wolfsburg. Dante is ready to start his fourth season with Nizza

Among the players launched by Lille there is also ERIC ABIDAL, who joined the red and white club in 2002-03 wanted by the coach Claude Puel who had already had him at Monaco. Abidal stayed in Lille for two seasons before moving on to Lyon with which he won three championships between 2004 and 2007. Then the Frenchman went to Barcelona with which he won two Champions League matches. In 2011 he was diagnosed with liver cancer. After recovering, in 2013-14 Abidal returned to Monaco before closing at Olympiakos (Photo by Eric Abidal Foundation)

An old acquaintance of Inter also took off in Lille: the former defender JOCELYN ANGLOMA started in Rennes and in 1987 he moved to Lille where he remained until 1990. After the experience with the red and white, Angloma moved to PSG and then to Marseille, before landing in Italy first at Turin 1994-96 and then at Inter 1996-97. The defender was a column of Valencia 1997-2000 with which he touched the Champions League on two occasions (Photo from

Lille not only forged players but also coaches: RUDI GARCIA was a midfielder of the red and white club from 1983 to 1988, then went to Caen and ended his career at Martigues. As a manager, Garcia managed to get away with his old club, where he was from 2008 to 2013 winning the French championship and the French Cup in 2010-11, the one in which he was voted best manager in Ligue 1. Garcia has launched many talents present in this roundup and someone has followed him elsewhere, for example Gervinho at Rome. Garcia coached the Giallorossi in 2013-16 then returned to France, this time on the Marseille shore, which he left at the end of this season.

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