The Moroccan goalkeeper has already created historical past, serving to his nation attain the World Cup semifinals.
Morocco’s win over Portugal to turn into the primary African aspect to achieve the World Cup semifinals produced some iconic pictures: Youssef En-Nesyri’s leap for the aim, Sofiane Boufal dancing together with his mom on the touchline, supervisor Walid Regragui being hoisted by his gamers, the unbridled pleasure amongst Moroccan followers within the stands.
Joao Felix was teed up by Cristiano Ronaldo and the curling left-footed strike he unleashed appeared destined for the highest nook of Morocco’s aim. However Yassine Bounou had different concepts. The goalkeeper tipped the ball behind for a nook, leaving Felix with an expression of disbelief. It was a second that handed by in a cut up second however one which Moroccan soccer will relive for many years.
It’s amongst a string of such epic saves by Bounou on the World Cup in Qatar that helped his aspect create historical past whereas additionally propelling him into the worldwide limelight.
The Morocco keeper is among the breakout successes of the World Cup in Qatar [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]
Rumours are swirling of prime European golf equipment, from Actual Madrid to Manchester United, taking curiosity within the Moroccan goalkeeper, who’s often known as Bono – the title he wears on his jersey.
Albeit protected by an ready defence, Bounou has stored three clear sheets to this point within the World Cup, the joint-best within the match. It’s a feat no African goalkeeper has ever achieved earlier than.
In 4 video games between the posts, Bounou has conceded only one aim. His targets conceded per 90 minutes is 0.23, the bottom to this point on this World Cup. He didn’t play in Morocco’s first massive upset of the match, towards Belgium.
However he starred in his aspect’s win over Spain within the spherical of 16, retaining out all three penalties within the shootout.
Yassine Bounou saves Sergio Busquets’s penalty kick in Morocco’s spherical of 16 match towards Spain. [Glyn Kirk/AFP]
Whereas Bounou is among the breakout successes of the World Cup, La Liga followers are properly acquainted together with his expertise. The Sevilla keeper conceded 5 fewer targets final season than Actual Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois, arguably the primary goalkeeper on this planet. The Moroccan’s 13 clear sheets noticed him topped the perfect goalkeeper of the 12 months in La Liga.
Born in Montreal to Moroccan dad and mom, Bounou was eligible to play for Canada and was even contacted by the Canadian supervisor in 2013. However he in the end opted to play for Morocco.
“I’m initially from Morocco and I grew up there. I at all times dreamed of enjoying for the Atlas Lions,” he mentioned in an interview to the Spanish tv present Balón Parado earlier than the World Cup.
Whereas Moroccan followers have to be thanking their stars for Bounou, Sevilla supporters could quickly should half methods with him. He has begun to obtain courting glances from Europe’s elite golf equipment, and the Andalusian aspect – the place he’s at present in his fourth 12 months – could have a process on their fingers to maintain maintain of him.
For groups which have nonetheless not discovered what they’re on the lookout for between the posts, “Bono” could be the reply.