Why The Handsome Filipino-French Alphonse Areola Stands Out At The FIFA World Cup, And Why We Ought to Root For Him
Once again, the Filipino community has made a connection with the French, after Alphonse Areola bagged the position of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) goalkeeper for FIFA World Cup.
Originally pitted for the post against professional Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, the dark and handsome 25-year-old is now the only rookie on the French team. He’ll also be playing exclusively for France, thanks to FIFA’s one-country, one-lifetime policy.
Alphonse’s competition is stiff, but his performance has been consistent with a personal record of eight saves in a 1-0 win at Bordeaux. His gameplay at the Champions League in Real Madrid has also been noteworthy, where he valiantly ran off his line to prevent a 5-2 loss from escalating. With only two losses the entire season, PSG’s defense is already considered as one of the best, thanks to Alphonse having made an average of four saves per game.
Despite his growing accomplishments, he has never forgotten where he came from. “I was born in Paris, but my roots are in the Philippines,” he said in an April 2018 interview on YouTube, which we had to translate from French, Alphonse’s mother tongue.
“When my parents came here, it was for work,” he continued. “It was difficult for them to leave their country of origin and leave their children. My older brother was raised by my grandparents. I think when my parents retire, they’ll take the return flight home in my opinion. I’m conscious of that and I’ll always be appreciative of that.”
Alphonse started playing football at six, where he used to attend football camp with this parents’ employer’s son. His foray into professional sports started at age 15, when he played for the Clairefontaine Football Academy, then signed a contract with PSG within only a year. Eventually, he worked his way onward through senior squads until he was called to join the 23-man French team for the World Cup.
PSG is known for importing seasoned players, and them choosing the relatively inexperienced Alphonse for his excellent performance on the field is a solid testament to what we Filipinos, as well as the international sports community, can expect from him in the future.
Photos from @areolaofficiel