Alexandre Lacazette emerged from Olympique Lyonnais' productive youth academy to become one of Europe's top strikers — ligue1.com charts the rise of the Arsenal forward as he celebrates his 29th birthday today.
His first game
It was almost exactly decade ago when Lacazette first graced a Ligue 1 game. Still only 18, he featured for OL in a top-flight match against Auxerre at Lyon's former home, the Stade de Gerland. He played just 12 minutes after replacing Bafétimbi Gomis, but was on the pitch when Miralem Pjanic struck an 85th-minute matchwinner for the hosts.
His first goal
Lacazette wore the number 38 shirt on his debut, but it was soon clear he would take on the mantle of being the team's goalscorer. It took just three L1 games for him to open his account. After coming off the bench to replace Michel Bastos just before half-time, the France U19 international, who had helped his nation to their age category European title the previous summer, found the net against Sochaux. Darting into the box, he stepped around a defender's challenge before firing low past Pierrick Cros from a tight angle to score the decisive goal in a 2-1 OL victory.
His first hat-trick
Now with his trademark number 10 shirt, Lacazette had started the 2014-15 season well, scoring four times and providing an assist in the opening eight L1 games. In Round 9, however, he really laid down a marker. The 5 October, 2014, is a night ex-Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama will want to forget as he was beaten three times by Lacazette with Lyon cantering to all three points.
Ligue 1 top scorer
The 2014-15 campaign would be a landmark one for Lacazette. With 27 goals in 33 top-flight appearances, he finished top of the league's scoring charts, and was named the UNFP Player of the Year. That was a major feat too, as he is still the only non-Paris Saint-Germain player to receive the honour in the last eight seasons. Though he did not win another individual award, he did improve his personal best single-season tally with 28 goals in just 30 games in the 2016-17 campaign.
His best performance
The scene? The penultimate game of the 2015-16 season. The stakes? Second place in the L1 table and a UEFA Champions League group stage place. The man of the moment? Alexandre Lacazette. With three goals and an assist in a stunning 6-1 win, Lacazette almost single-handedly earned Lyon a place at European club football's top table at the expense of Monaco, who had started the game at the Groupama Stadium level on points with their hosts.
His farewell and final goals
Lacazette signed off in style as he brought up a century of Ligue 1 goals in his 203rd and — to date — final game in the French top flight. In a 3-3 draw with Nice on 20 May, 2017, just before his 26th birthday, Lacazette netted twice to make it a round 100 strikes in L1 before he headed to England to join Arsenal.