Barcelona, May 17: Youssef En-Nesyri could easily have walked away from Sevilla’s grim situation in January, but the Moroccan international stayed and his goals have fired the Andalusians to the brink of another Europa League final.
The striker pounced to score against Juventus in the semi-final first leg in Turin last week, before Federico Gatti’s last-gasp header left the tie level ahead of Thursday’s second leg at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
Sevilla were deep in a relegation battle at the start of the year, turfed out of the Champions League, and En-Nesyri had managed just two goals in that competition, and none in La Liga.
The 25-year-old returned from the Qatar World Cup with hero status in Morocco for his fine performances and three goals on the country’s incredible run to the semi-finals.
En-Nesyri’s soaring header against Portugal in the quarter-final was claimed to have broken Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for highest headed goal, and soon Sevilla were on the rise too.
The forward turned down all approaches in the winter transfer window and set to work on a challenge set by then-Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli, that he would reach 20 goals by the end of the season.
“I thank all the clubs that have contacted my agent, but at the moment I just want to keep my mind on Sevilla,” said En-Nesyri in a statement put out by his agent in January.
“It’s not a question of money. It’s a sporting matter, of wanting to help the team in the worst moments.”
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