"january 11" 2019 "brendan donley" "the assist"

#62 // Mendes → Pépé Lille 1 – 0 Caen

If you’re ever hungry for a through-ball assist…

Give thanks to Thiago Mendes, for fixing you up a meal:




The search for tonight’s assist was a tough one—why?

This Lille team performed one too many.

There was Thiago Mendes, delivering the gorgeous through-ball to Pépé.

And then, minutes later, Pépé himself produced a bit of beauty…

Setting up Rafael Leão, with a ball at least 99% as good:



Then came the celebration.



And then, the wondering:


Why hasn’t this guy made his way to one of the top clubs in Europe?

You think back to Eden Hazard, playing for this very same Lille team—and then on to Chelsea, and the success of a Belgium national team that grew up around him.

Gervinho, too—a kind of Lille-to-EPL pipeline ready to start flowing again.

So maybe, soon, it’s coming.



And maybe, like Didier Drogba and Yaya Touré…


The Ivory Coast has a superstar again.