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Leny Yoro is quickly attracting the attention of football's biggest clubs.

Feast your eyes on the Varane regen that’s got Real Madrid all hot & bothered

Eighteen is an incredibly formative year in our lives. The first official year of adulthood, the year for many involves plenty of firsts – and even more regrettable decisions.

Legal drinking, legal betting, the sobering reality of having to find something to do with your life that isn’t just mandatory education and seeing what tomorrow brings.

It’s a year full of unnecessary pressures, considering you live and learn from most actions at that age looking back. Plenty of doors close and even more open.

For us, the doors closing were the ones involving a miracle whereby instead of waking up hungover one morning, we wake up immensely talented at football and set up for life as we set Europe’s biggest side on a wild transfer chase.

Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s because it is. For most of us.

There are a select few lucky ones who skip the Sunday League to five-a-side regression, ruining a popular alcoholic drink for themselves and the dreaded move to university altogether because they’re actually living out a reality which most of us merely fantasise about.

Freshly 18, Leny Yoro is living out that exact dream. It’s a FIFA Player Career come true, and with the promise he’s already shown, there’s no reason why the dream doesn’t go all the way.

November 13 2005. An important day in our calendars not just because the LA Galaxy won their second MLS Cup, or because Blackpool and Scunthorpe played out to a seven-goal thriller in League One, but because Yoro was born in Saint-Maurice, France.

And with his birth came the Raphael Varane regen we never knew we’d need in 2023.

Strutting his stuff for Lille, those with their ears to the ground in Ligue 1 would have seen his inevitable rise from a mile off, with him earning a full debut for the club aged just 16 back in May 2022.

Since that historic day – when he became their second youngest debutant ahead of Eden Hazard – it’s been a steady ascent.

Blessed with staggering height and awareness ahead of his years, Yoro has already racked up 15 appearances in Ligue 1 this season, establishing himself in Paulo Fonseca’s side.

He grabbed headlines with a show-stopping performance against Paris Saint-Germain, locking up none other than Kylian Mbappe in an exceptional showing as they held the Parisians to a 1-1 draw.

Limiting the Frenchman to a measly goal from the penalty spot as Lille fought back late on, Yoro made five interceptions and a further five clearances, won all four of his duels and finished with an 81% pass accuracy on top.

It was like watching a young Raphael Varane with the way he wriggled and manipulated his body to always be the one in charge of the ball.

But that’s just one game in an impressive 2023, which is the true litmus test of his potential.

His consistent performances this season have prompted interest from the likes of Liverpool and even Real Madrid, but with David Alaba now ruled out with a ruptured ACL, Los Blancos could even make a move for the heir to Varane’s throne at the Bernabeu as early as January.

What we said about being 18 and learning from mistakes still rings true. But it’s the potential he’s already showing and knowing he can improve on it which is the truly frightening part.

The art of defending is a beauty to behold for some, but to make it sexy takes an entirely different level of skill.

Yoro has that and more; one of many reasons why he has the world at his feet in the next few years.

By Mitch Wilks


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