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Shabani Nonda: the diamond of Africa

Publish on 27/03/2020 at 11h00

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The Congolese international striker, who made his name at Stade Rennais FC before signing for AS Monaco, scored more than 100 goals in seven seasons in France.

Having landed raring to go at Stade Rennais FC in the summer of 1998, Shabani Nonda exploded in his first season in Brittany, scoring 15 Ligue 1 Conforama goals. He reached this total again the following season before moving to AS Monaco, where he went on to win the Ligue 1 Conforama top scorer's award in the spring of 2003.

In seven seasons in France, the Congolese international striker scored a total of 103 goals in 221 matches in all competitions. Take a look back at Shabani Nonda's career in France…

Shabani Nonad's key stats

First game:

After two and a half seasons with FC Zürich in the Swiss championship, Shabani Nonda signed for Stade Rennais in the summer of 1998. The 21-year-old striker made his Ligue 1 Conforama debut at the beginning of August in a 1-0 win over AJ Auxerre on the opening day of the season. He scored his first goal in the top flight 15 days later, against Le Havre AC (2-1), with a header.

Nonda has the distinction of having scored his first five Ligue 1 Conforama goals at home at the Stade de la Route de Lorient - with Rennes winning on each occasion that he scored, including once against his future club AS Monaco. The striker would score the winning goal against ASM once again the following season, in Brittany (2-1).

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First double:

At the beginning of February 1999, the Burundi-born hitman scored his first double in France in the Coupe de la Ligue BKT round of 16 against ESTAC (4-0). In all, he scored one hat-trick and 14 doubles, including 12 in the league. His first in Ligue 1 Conforama came in October 1999, at home to AS Saint-Etienne (4-1). In his second season in France, the African bagged three braces, all of them at home (ASNL, RC Lens).

Transfer to AS Monaco:

After two successful seasons with Stade Rennais (36 goals in 77 games, including 30 goals in 62 Ligue 1 matches), the player moved to ten-champions AS Monaco, where he was brought in to fill the boots of a certain David Trezeguet. He stayed in the principality for five seasons, scoring 67 goals in 144 appearances. He didn't take long to get back on the goal trail, scoring Monaco's first league goal of the season after just four minutes of play against eventual champions FC Nantes (2-5).

Coupe de la Ligue BKT win:

The highlight of his third season with Monaco was the victory in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue BKT on 17 May 2003, when AS Monaco beat FC Sochaux-Montbéliard 4-1. Nice revenge for the player who had scored but lost in the final two years earlier against Olympique Lyonnais (2-1 a.e.t.).

Top scorer award:

The striker ended the 2002-03 season in stunning form. He scored eight goals in the last five league games, including a hat-trick against ESTAC in Round 38 (6-0). He was crowned top scorer in Ligue 1 Conforama ahead of Pedro Miguel Pauleta (Girondins de Bordeaux) and Didier Drogba (EA Guingamp) after scoring 26 times in 35 games.

Final match:

His last two seasons in the principality were disrupted by injuries, including a dislocation of the left patella, with torn ligaments, that kept him away from the pitch for seven months in the 2003-04 season.

The Congolese international returned in time to score in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Chelsea (3-1). After only three league appearances in the following season, he played his last Ligue 1 Conforama match on 2 April 2005. He replaced Emmanuel Adebayor at half-time as AS Monaco were 3-0 down at AC Ajaccio. The following summer, he signed for AS Roma.