Bryn Forbes with one-and-one against the Miami Heat


Canadians have unprecedented impact on European club soccer

Paris Saint-Germain are one of the richest football clubs in the world and a veritable sporting juggernaut – but the team’s quest for a fourth consecutive crown has been thwarted by a rising Canadian star. Funded by the Emir of Qatar, PSG have the most expensive training in French football, with world stars such as Neymar and Kylian Mbappé. It’s no surprise that they have dominated Ligue 1, winning the French league in seven of the past eight years. But on Sunday, Lille OSC forward Jonathan David, a 21-year-old Ottawa player, scored and helped prepare another to defeat Angers SCO 2-1 on the final day of the season. The victory allowed Lille to finish in first place, just one point ahead of PSG, to win their fourth Ligue 1 championship and first in a decade. The fact that David played the starring role in helping Lille to a remarkable title was a fair reward for a player who came to France at the start of the season with great fanfare, but looked like a major flop. David joined Lille last summer from Belgian club KAA Gent, where he scored 26 goals in 50 games. Lille have reportedly paid a record transfer fee of US $ 35million for David, making the forward the most expensive Canadian transfer ever. WATCH | Jonathan David helps Lille to win the Ligue 1 title: life in France did not agree with David at first; he went scoreless in his first 10 appearances. But David eventually found his balance, scoring 13 times – a record for a Canadian in one of Europe’s top five leagues in a single season. The previous record was held by Tomasz Radzinski, who scored 11 goals for Everton in the 2002-03 English Premier League campaign. David’s perseverance particularly impressed Craig Forrest, former Canadian national team goaltender and Canada Soccer Hall of Fame member. “He came to Lille for a high transfer fee, so the expectations were huge, and he’s still young and it’s been a big change for him, so you can see it hasn’t gone very well for him. early on, ”Forrest told CBC. Sports. “You could see it was affecting his playing and he looked a little desperate.” But once he got a few goals under his belt, that’s all it took. He gained confidence and fought through it all, and was sensational for Lille. “Canadian success across the continent What is encouraging is that David’s success in Lille is not an isolated story of a Canadian succeeding in one of the best leagues in Europe. In fact, they are unprecedented moments for Canadians plying their trade in Europe, as more and more members of Canada’s National Men’s Team play for the best Cubs across the continent, and have been key figures in their successes. In Germany, Alphonso Davies is after another sensational campaign with Bayern Munich, helping the Bavarian giants to their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title. Davies, last year’s co-winner of the Lou Marsh Prize as the best athlete in the Canada, has now won nine major trophies in just three seasons at Bayern. At just 20 years old, he has already established a reputation as one of the best left-backs in the world. Canada, won nine major trophies in just three seasons with Ba yern Munich. (Andreas Gebert / REUTERS) In Turkey, veteran defender / midfielder Atiba Hutchinson and striker Cyle Larin were at the forefront of Beşiktaş as the Istanbul-based club won their first Süper Lig title in four years and won the Turkish Cup for the first time. in a decade. Larin, a 26-year-old from Brampton, Ont., Scored 19 goals to tie for second in the Turkish league scoring race. Hutchinson, a compatriot from Brampton, was a real hobbyhorse as captain of Beşiktaş; the 38-year-old has made 40 appearances in all competitions and inspired the club to their first “domestic double” since the 2008-09 season. In Serbia, Milan Borjan, 33, backed Belgrade’s red star for a fourth consecutive SuperLiga crown as the club’s undisputed starting goalkeeper. In Scotland, midfielder Scott Arfrield was part of a Rangers side that won the Premiership title, ending the streak of nine consecutive titles for rivals Glasgow Celtic. Also in Scotland, David Wotherspoon played a leading role in St. Johnstone winning both the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup. On the women’s side, Canadians Jessie Fleming and Cloé Lacasse won league titles in 2021 for Chelsea and Benfica, respectively. And back at PSG, Ashley Lawrence and Jordyn Huitema are on the verge of winning the French women’s championship. Since arriving at Chelsea earlier in the year, Jessie Fleming, center, has helped the Blues clinch the Women’s Super League title as well as reach the Women’s Champions League final. (Andrew Couldridge / Reuters) Forrest, who won 56 caps for Canada between 1988 and 2002, can’t remember a time in history when so many Canadians were making names for themselves in European club soccer. “If you just watch Alphonso alone it would be beyond anything anyone has ever done in Canadian soccer. But then you add the other guys – Atiba, Larin, David – these are unprecedented times,” said Forrest, who played professionally. in England with Ipswich Town, Chelsea and West Ham United. Forrest hopes all the success at the club level by Canadian players across Europe could benefit Canada’s men’s team next month when they resume their Concacaf qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup. 2022 in Qatar. Canada is trying to qualify for the World Cup for the second time; it’s only another apparition came in 1986 in Mexico. “There’s no reason Canada shouldn’t be fighting a Concacaf team,” Forrest said. “You look at some of the talent that Canada has, they set such a high standard in some of the best leagues in Europe, so that bodes well for qualifying for the World Cup.”

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