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Yoann Miguel Gourcuff (born 11 July 1986) is a Frenchmarker professional footballer who currently plays for Ligue 1 club Bordeaux and the French national team. He operates mainly as an attacking midfielder, but can also be utilized as a withdrawn striker.

Yoann is the son of Christian Gourcuff, the current manager of Ligue 1 club FC Lorient, where Yoann began his career. In 2001, he followed in his father's footsteps and joined Rennes. After progressing through the youth ranks and making the senior team, Gourcuff quickly became a fan favorite among supporters and his individual achievements soon led to interest from clubs abroad, which resulted in a move to Italianmarker club AC Milan. Gourcuff achieved many club honours despite not being able to break into the starting eleven, which resulted in the player being sent on loan to his current club Bordeaux. Following a successful season, in which he earned several club and individuals honours, Gourcuff signed with Bordeaux permanently. His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to Frenchmarker legend Zinedine Zidane. He is the reigning Ligue 1 Player of the Year.

Early life

Gourcuff was born on 11 July 1986 in Ploemeur, Morbihanmarker, Brittany to parents Dr. Marine Thalouarn and Christian Gourcuff, both being Breton. Gourcuff comes from a very athletic family. His mother was a basketball player, his older brother, Erwan, is a competitive swimmer and cyclist, while his father was a former footballer who played for several clubs in such countries as Francemarker, Switzerlandmarker and Canadamarker, however, he is more known for his time at Rennes, Lorient, and Le Mans. Gourcuff's father later moved into the managerial role having stints at Rennes, Le Mans, Lorient (twice), and Qatarimarker club Al-Gharafa. He currently serves as manager of Lorient, his third stint at the club, whom he has managed since 2003.

As a youth, Yoann excelled at both football and tennis, becoming the top player of his age group (12), but eventually opted to focus on football.

Career

Early career

Gourcuff began his career with FC Lorient, who were, at the time, managed by his father. During his time at Lorient, he also trained at the Pôle Espoirs Football de Ploufragan, a smaller version of the Clairefontainemarker Football National Academy. Further to his father's departure to Stade Rennais, Gourcuff, who initially considered Nantes, followed suit and signed an élite (youth) contract with the club in 2001. While in the youth system at Rennes, he participated in the Coupe Gambardella and scored a goal in their 4–1 demolition of Strasbourg in the final match helping the club win the 2003 edition of the youth cup.

As expected, Gourcuff signed his first professional contract in November 2003 and was promoted to the first team for the latter part of the 2003–04 season. He made his league debut on 7 February 2004 in a 0–2 defeat against Auxerre, coming on as a substitute in the 76th minute. He made eight more appearances that season, which included his first start against Bordeaux in a 3–1 victory. The 2005–06 season was more successful for Gourcuff. Wearing the number 10 shirt, he appeared in 36 matches, scoring six goals, which included his first ever league goal against Monaco in a 2–0 win He formed partnerships with fellow Frenchman Olivier Monterrubio and the Swedemarker Kim Källström, helping Rennes to finish 7th in Ligue 1 and winning them a place in the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Milan

Having been linked with a host of big name European clubs such as Dutchmarker club Ajax, Spanishmarker side Valencia, and Englishmarker club Arsenal of the Premier League, at the end of the 2006 season, Gourcuff moved to AC Milan in Italymarker. He signed a five year contract with the transfer fee being approximately 3.5 million. He made his competitive debut for the Rossoneri on 9 August in the club's Champions League third qualifying round tie against Red Star Belgrade, appearing in the 81st minute as a substitute for Andrea Pirlo. He scored his first career goal for Milan in the club's opening Champions League group stage match against AEK Athens.

Over the course of two years with the club, Gourcuff's playing time was effectively insufficient appearing in only 36 league matches, 23 of them as a substitute. His meager playing time and slow development at the club was primarily due to injuries and manager Carlo Ancelotti overlooking and being critical of him, stating that the player had psychological issues. Gourcuff was also in direct competition with the Brazilian international and 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year winner Kaká, which caused further limits in playing time. Gourcuff did, however, earn a winner's medal with the club after they won the 2006–07 edition of the Champions League. Though, he did not crack the starting 11 or the bench for the match, his three appearances for the club in the competition made him eligible to receive a medal. He was also a part of the squads that won the 2007 UEFA Super Cup and the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup.

Following the season, on 31 May 2008, Adriano Galliani revealed Milan would loan Gourcuff to Frenchmarker first division club Bordeaux for the entire 2008–09 season, to allow him more playing time.

Bordeaux

At Bordeaux, Gourcuff quickly asserted himself into the squad scoring on his league debut against Caen in a 2–1 victory and also helping Bordeaux capture their 2nd Trophée des Champions title. He scored Bordeaux's 4th and final goal in their 4–0 triumph over Vannes in the Coupe de la Ligue final. He also provided the assist on the third goal. He scored two goals in Bordeaux's Champions League campaign against Roma and CFR Cluj. On 11 January 2009, he scored a spectacular goal that was voted the goal of the season by fans against Paris Saint-Germain in a 4–0 victory. Upon receiving the ball from teammate Matthieu Chalmé, just outside of the box, Gourcuff performed a swift Marseille turn, eluding PSG defender Sylvain Armand, followed by quickly shifting the ball from his right foot to his left causing Sammy Traoré to lose balance, before bringing the ball back to his right foot and blasting it past PSG goalkeeper Mickaël Landreau with the outside of his right foot.
Gourcuff, with Bordeaux, during team's lineup before match
The following two weeks, he scored his 5th and 6th goals, respectively, against Nantes in a 2–1 victory and Lille in a 2–2 draw. After going goalless in the league for seven straight weeks, Gourcuff got back on track scoring against relegation-bound Le Havre. On the 33rd match day, he scored his first career brace against his former club Rennes., his 8th and 9th goals of the season. The following three weeks, Gourcuff maintained his form scoring in all three matches, against Sochaux, Valenciennes, and Le Mans giving him a tally of 12 goals for the season. Bordeaux won all three matches, which effectively put them in 1st position heading into the final week of the season. Bordeaux eventually won the league capturing the sixth title in the club's history. The club also recorded their second ever double, as a result of their Coupe de la Ligue title. For his efforts during the 2008–09 season, Gourcuff was awarded the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award. He was also named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year.

Due to Gourcuff's impressive season, his parent club announced that they would be open to the player returning to Milanmarker for the 2009–10 season. However, the club's plans were put on halt after learning of Bordeaux's intent to meet Gourcuff's buy-out clause of €15 million included in the loan deal. Despite general manager Adriano Galliani and new manager Leonardo's efforts to persuade Gourcuff to return, on 28 May, it was announced that Bordeaux had signed Gourcuff permanently from Milan with Gourcuff agreeing to a four year deal. The transfer fee was undisclosed, but was in the region of 13 to €15 million.

2009-10 season

Yoann began the 2009–10 season claiming his 4th silverware with Bordeaux on 25 July 2009, winning the 2009 Trophée des Champions title in a 2–0 victory over Guingamp. As a result of his performance, he was named Man of the Match. Two weeks later, he scored a brace in the club's opening match of the league season against Lens. The final result was 4–1. The victory also set a record in league play for most consecutive wins for the club with 12.

International career

Gourcuff has been capped for France at schoolboy level earning his first cap at the age of 14 with the under-15 team. He made 14 appearances with the under-16 squad scoring two goals. Due to his increased playing time with Rennes, he only made six appearances with the under-17 squad and, as a result, the squad failed to qualify for the 2003 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship. He returned to international level with the under-19s and was part of the winning team at the 2005 European Under-19 Football Championship. Leading up to the tournament, Gourcuff scored goals against Armenia in the first qualifying round and Spain in the Elite round. The 1–0 victory over Spain assured France's qualification for the tournament. In the tournament, Gourcuff scored an impressive hat-trick in a 3–1 victory over Norway converting two penalty kicks and scoring in the run of play. He assisted on two goals in their 3–2 semi-final win over Germany and played the full 90 minutes in championship match against England. France won the match 3–1 giving the nation their sixth under-19 title and Gourcuff his first international honor.

Gourcuff was a regular in the under-21 team making 18 appearances and scoring four goals, but never got the chance to participate in a UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship as France missed out on both times he was eligible losing in the playoffs.

Gourcuff earned his first call up to the senior team on 11 August 2008 for the team's friendly match against Sweden that was played on 20 August. He earned his first cap in that match appearing as a substitute in the 92th minute when France's 3–2 victory had been all but confirmed. He scored his first goal for Les Bleus on 11 October 2008 against Romania in a 2010 World Cup qualification match. The wonder strike from almost 30 yards out drew the match at 2–2 ensuring France's positioning in the group. Since the match against Serbia, held a month before the match against Romania, manager Raymond Domenech has installed Gourcuff in the attacking midfield position, just behind the striker, a position that some believe has yet to be filled since the retirement of Zinedine Zidane following the 2006 World Cup.

Career statistics

As of 3 November 2009

Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists
Rennes 2003-04 9 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 2
2004-05 21 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 22 0 4
2005-06 36 6 6 1 0 0 5 0 1 42 6 7
Total 66 6 12 2 0 0 5 0 1 73 6 13
Milan
2006-07 21 1 3 4 0 0 8 2 2 29 3 5
2007-08 15 0 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 18 0 1
Total 36 1 4 5 0 0 11 2 2 47 3 6
Bordeaux
2008-09 37 12 8 5 1 4 7 2 3 49 15 15
2009-10 10 4 3 1 0 1 4 1 0 15 5 3
Total 47 16 11 6 1 5 11 3 3 64 20 19
Career total 149 23 27 13 1 5 27 5 6 189 36 38


International Goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 11 October 2008 Stadionul Farulmarker, Constanţamarker, Romania 2 – 2 2 – 2 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification


Honours

Club







International



Individual



Notes



References

  1. Includes Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, Trophée des Champions, Supercoppa Italiana, Coppa Italia
  2. Includes UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup


External links




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