Ligue 1 has been the abode for many young defensive players. The duo of Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti grew through the ranks of French clubs before heading to bigger Spanish clubs and won France the World Cup in 2018. The league still has multiple defensive talents coming through clubs and one of them is Benoit Badiashile.
At the tender age of 18, Badiashile has established himself as a regular centre-back option at Monaco. While the likes of Kamil Glik and Guillermo Maripan have played more than him, but this is Badiashile’s second full season of senior-level football and he’s not let anyone down.
Under former manager Leonardo Jardim, Monaco would play either a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-5-2 shape and the results were inconsistent. New manager Robert Moreno has done the same but has slowly transitioned to playing a flat back-four in a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 shape.
Badiashile’s debut though, came under Thierry Henry back in November 2018. The Frenchman started a game against Paris Saint-Germain in a tumultuous season for Monaco. The game ended 4-0, compounding the pressure on Henry and giving Badiashile a debut to forget about.
That has had no bearing on Badiashile as his role has been that of a reliable back-up defender. He has made 15 Ligue 1 appearances for the club, slowly getting to grips with playing in a flat back-four alongside Maripan himself. Initially, he was being used more often in a back-three beside Maripan and Glik but he’s now slowly maturing into a newer shape as well.
As far as traits go, Badiashile is very good in the air. As per Soccerment, the Frenchman wins 3.7 aerial duels per game and has a success rate of 64.3 percent. His physicality allows him to be strong in the tackle as he wins 64.7 tackles per game for Monaco too.
Badiashile has earned a reputation for being a good ball-playing defender too. He has played 57.2 passes per game this season, boasting of an accuracy of 85.2 percent. For a player who is 18 and is still into his second full season, that is very good at a developmental stage.
Statistically, Badiashile’s best game in a Monaco shirt this season came in a 1-0 win over Dijon in 2019. Under Jardim, the teenager was deployed as the left-sided central defender in a back three and he showed how dominant he can be aerially.
He won five aerial duels, also making three interceptions and four clearances. In what was a dominating performance, he came up with 53 successful passes as well. An Aleksandr Golovin goal had proved enough for Les Monégasques to win the tie.
That game was very much a definition of what Badiashile can be. He can dominate the backline at will and be the complete central defensive package for modern-day football.
The Monaco youth product has played for the French national side at various levels, growing through the Monaco system during that time. The youngster had become a much-needed source of hope in a humiliating 2018-19 season, playing a total of 20 games for the club. While the club’s performance, on the whole, was disappointing at the back, it came at a good time for Badiashile.
He has used that platform to very good effect this season, growing in stature and establishing himself alongside Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate as one of the best young defensive stars in French football. While Badiashile is younger than the RB Leipzig stars, the skill-set is quite the same.
With Glik not getting any younger and former defender Naldo not at the club anymore, Badiashile has the right sort of circumstance to succeed. He’s seen the club at a low point last season and now it is players like him who will have to take charge of taking them back to the upper echelons of the game again.