Saïd Benrahma applauds Lyon's fans

Saïd Benrahma: The Hero's Return

Saïd Benrahma: The Hero's Return

Publish on 02/26 at 16:00 - E. DEVIN


With his first goal in Ligue 1 in more than eight years on Friday, Saïd Benrahma powered Lyon to a 2-1 win -- learn more about his story in this profile of Les Gones' newest signing.

With a spectacular finish against FC Metz on Friday, Saïd Benrahma has well and truly announced his return to Ligue 1 Uber Eats, some eight years after leaving. His long and winding career path has seen him move from his native Algeria to Nice, but fail to establish himself in Les Aiglons’ first team, despite becoming a senior international.

He did impress in successive loan spells, though, eventually catching the eye of Brentford in 2018. At the time the London-based club were playing in the Championship, but their creativity in scouting, with a focus on players from outside England, helped them earn promotion. Indeed, Benrahma was part of a raft of players who arrived from across the channel, being joined by defender Julian Jeanvier and Bryan Mbuemo among others.

Success was quick to come for Benrahma in England, as he finished his second season with Brentford with 19 goals and a place in the Championship team of the year. A move to the Premier League beckoned, and he moved to West Ham at the start of the 2020/21 season, missing out on the Bees’ promotion campaign.

After impressing in the Hammers’ first two seasons (including an historic Europa League title), he had found playing time hard to come by in the current campaign, as the arrivals of Edson Álvarez and Mohammed Kudus saw Lucas Paquetá shifted out to the left. Not wanting to be stuck on the bench despite his side’s involvement in Europe, and with a measure of revenge to take, Benrahma returned to France as part of Lyon’s ambitious January window, adding veteran attacking nous to a largely young set of forward players.

Speaking to Lyon’s website following his move earlier this month, he reflected on this being a moment for, if not revenge, then certainly redemption. “I have a bitter taste at not having been able to perform in France, I want to prove that I can succeed here. I have been following Ligue 1 since I was little, I watched this league when I was a child, I am keen to succeed here.”

Success has been a little slow in coming — there is competition for places in attack in Lyon as much as there is in London, but he and Ernest Nuamah look to be ideal pieces to dovetail with Alexandre Lacazette in Pierre Sage’s 4-3-3. In addition to his goal and overall quality on the ball, Benrahma worked hard to show his development as a complete player, his maturity and doggedness being an ideal complement to younger players like Nuamah, Malick Fofana and Rayan Cherki.

Indeed, post-match, Benrahma was philosophical about the result, stressing the importance of the result as a team: “This goal will give me confidence, after the goal I already felt much better, I showed more daring and I had more freedom. We have to continue like this, my teammates, the coach and the whole club trust me so I try to give back this to them on the pitch.”

With that confidence, the sky is the limit for Benrahma and his teammates, especially with the Coupe de France still ahead of tomorrow’s quarterfinal.

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