The young Toulouse goalkeeper is destined for the top, writes Sam May.
Becoming the youngest keeper ever to feature in Ligue 1 at 16 years and 310 days in 2015, he has become a key figure for Pascal Dupraz’s side.
But who is he?
Name: Alban Lafont
Date of birth: January 23rd, 1999
Born in Burkina Faso, he was always going to have a career in sport. His parents Roland and Laurence played Tennis and Handball, respectively. Moving to France at a young age, he quickly found his feet, featuring as an attacking midfielder for AS Lattoise, where he spent six years.
Following an injury to Lattoise’s goalkeeper, Lafont was given the gloves – a move which he hasn’t looked back on since. He has gone on to make over 50 appearances at Stadium Municipal. Many sides had been running the rule over him at the time such as AS Monaco, but it was Toulouse who won the race to sign him.
His potential was noted by the clubs hierarchy, who quickly fast tracked him through the academy age groups. He was given the number 40 shirt and became the clubs fifth goalkeeper. Dominique Arribage, the clubs manager at the time threw Lafont into the deep end when his side had failed to win any of their 13 league games and had the worst defensive record in the league.
Lafont later made his debut against Nice, keeping a clean sheet – the first one of the season, helping his side to a 2-0 win. His side beat Troyes a week later and he claimed another. He helped to keep his team in the top flight of French Football.
He is a relaxed goalkeeper, and calm under pressure. The fact he helped to keep his team in the league suggests he can handle pressure and is dominant force. His sweeper-keeper style means he is good with the ball at his feet, and his outfield role in the past has helped him with this.
Producing a man of the match display in his sides 2-0 victory over Paris St Germain this season, he is only going to get better over the years. France’s future number one? Toulouse are keen to extend his contract that runs until 2020.
He has represented France at U-16, U-17 and U-18 level, but still has the option to play for Burkina Faso., however he is likely to play for the France national team. Many teams have been interested such as Arsenal, Watford and Lazio, but expect Europe’s elite to be running the rule over him this summer.