Memphis Depay surprised many with his lightning fast return after a serious knee injury. The attacker is now hunting for success in the Champions League with Olympique Lyon. "He clearly needs time to get back into it."
On December 15, fate strikes at Memphis. He rips his cruciate ligament in the home game against Stade Rennes. End of season, but since the recovery time for his injury is six to nine months, most likely also a line through the European Championship next summer.
Memphis, however, thinks otherwise. He is determined to make it to the European Championship and has an energetic start to his rehabilitation. Sixteen days after his surgery, he already shares images on his social media channels that show that he does fanatical exercises at the gym. A month later he is already working with the ball.
"In France everyone was wondering if things were not going too fast, even people within Lyon. But he didn't care about that, he wanted to do everything his own way. And we can safely say that it was best." , says journalist Antoine Boulard, who follows Lyon on behalf of the leading France Football .
Memphis Depay reaches for his sore knee in the game against Stade Rennes. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"You felt Neymar's respect for Memphis"
Memphis seems to reach the European Championship against all odds, were it not for the fact that the tournament will be postponed by a year in March due to the corona crisis. He sees the major purpose of his rehabilitation disappear, but also gets more time to recharge for the important confrontations with Lyon.
"Memphis was all about the European Championship. He wanted nothing more than to be important for the Dutch national team this summer. He was convinced that he would succeed. I recently spoke to him for an extensive interview and I noticed from everything that he is extremely confident, "said Boulard.
Memphis makes his unofficial return to Lyon in early July and brightens it up with four goals in a practice game with the amateurs of Port Valais. He will return at the end of that month in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue against Paris Saint-Germain, lost after penalties.
"Unfortunately, Memphis could not make his mark against PSG. He certainly did not play badly, but he clearly needs time to get back into it. The negotiation he had with Neymar was nice, you felt the respect that the star player of PSG for Memphis, "said Boulard.
Memphis Depay loves Neymar. (Photo: Pro Shots)
'Because of him, the expectations of the fans rise'
For Memphis, only the Champions League is waiting to make something of the season with Lyon. The French, who fear that they will not play European football for the first time since 1996, defend a 0-1 lead on Friday in the return in the eighth finals when visiting Juventus.
"It is going too far to say that all hopes are focused on Memphis, because without him they won Juventus at home. But he is hugely important for this Lyon and his presence immediately increased the expectations of the fans. That pressure is on his shoulders, "Boulard concludes.
Juventus-Lyon and Manchester City-Real Madrid are the first games in the Champions League after the corona break on Friday at 9 p.m. The ball of millions is finished in shortened form in Lisbon from the quarterfinals, so that the clubs do not have to travel every time and so the chance of infections is lowest.
View the program and the results in the Champions League