Revisiting Monaco’s FM 2011 wonderkids, 10 years on

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The Football Manager series has earmarked some exceptional rising stars over the years, but they’ve certainly had some better success rates than Monaco‘s crop of wonderkids from FM2011. 

The Ligue 1 club went on to be relegated six months after this game was released back in November 2010, although they’d soon be back, memorably beating PSG to the Ligue 1 title in 2017.

FMScout picked out seven of their standout young talents from that edition as ‘wonderkids’. Here’s how things turned out for them in real life over the past 10 years.

Dennis Appiah
When this game was released, Toulouse-born midfielder Appiah was still mostly turning out for Monaco’s B team and France’s Under-20s before breaking through as a 19-year-old in the 2011-12 season.

However, Monaco spent most of that year battling against relegation from Ligue 2. He only played a peripheral role the following year when Claudio Ranieri led them to promotion and was subsequently sold to Caen.

After spending three seasons at Anderlecht, winning the Belgian title in 2016-17, Appiah is now turning out as a full-back for Nantes in Ligue 1.

Nicolas Nkoulou
Not long after his 21st birthday, Cameroonian international centre-back Nkoulou had already made 78 Ligue 1 appearances for Monaco and caught the eye in spite of the club’s relegation in 2010-11.

He left for Marseille after Monaco went down and made over 200 appearances for the club, named in Ligue 1 Team of the Year in his debut season, which also saw the club win the Coupe de la Ligue.

But he burned his bridges at the Stade Velodrome after moving on a free to arch-rivals Lyon, where he ultimately only spent one unsuccessful season. He’s been at Torino ever since.

Fashion genius or fashion flop?🤦‍♂️

On-loan Chelsea wonderkid @Aina2Ola gives the best reviews on his team mate Nicolas Nkoulou’s drip 🤣 pic.twitter.com/MvUWmPJv97

— COPA90 (@Copa90) March 30, 2019

Nampalys Mendy
A pivotal player for Ranieri’s Ligue 2 champions, Mendy joined Nice after promotion was secured and established himself as one of Ligue 1’s most talented up-and-comers.

After three fruitful years with Nice, the defensive midfielder became reigning Premier League champions Leicester City’s record signing, which was broken twice more later that summer with the arrivals of Ahmed Musa and Islam Slimani.

But he was certainly no N’Golo Kante replacement and made just four Premier League appearances in his injury-hit debut season at the King Power before being loaned back to Nice.

There was a time when Mendy was filed as a transfer flop alongside Musa and Slimani, but he worked his way back into contention under Claude Puel, playing a prominent role in 2017-18, and has since been a dependable squad player for Brendan Rodgers. He was rewarded with a new two-year deal last summer.

Yohan Mollo
Mollo’s career path quite frankly takes the piss, with too many clubs to mention since he left Monaco in 2011.

He’s represented 12 clubs, including Fulham and Zenit Saint Petersburg, in six countries, rarely making more than a handful of appearances for any. The winger, who is the cousin of Andre-Pierre Gignac, is currently turning out for Panathinaikos.

Goals like this – and the subsequent somewhat terrifying limbs in response – don’t appear to have happened all that frequently in Mollo’s career.

Yohan Mollo Fact File 📝

🇫🇷 French LW
🎂 28 Years Old
🆓 Free Transfer
👊 226 Career Apps
🎯 Good at Crossing
👇 Scores Like This#FFC #COYW pic.twitter.com/t3sUy6Ew4f

— Fulhamish (@FulhamishPod) August 31, 2017

Lukman Haruna
Lagos-born Haruna had a reputation as one of Africa’s brightest young talents back in 2007, having captained Nigeria to the Under-17 African Cup of Nations.

Monaco beat off competition for his signature, and he went on to make 44 Ligue 1 appearances for them. He was also part of the Super Eagles squad that went to the 2010 World Cup.

But the midfielder hasn’t quite hit the heights expected of him, having left relegated Monaco for Dynamo Kyiv in 2011. He spent six years on the Ukrainian club’s books but was frequently loaned away.

Haruna has made just one international appearance since 2010 amid a well-travelled career that’s seen him turn out in Russia (Anzhi Makhachkala), Kazakhstan (Astana), Lithuania (Palanga), Tunisia (Tataouine) and most recently Armenia (Ararat Yerevan). He’s currently without a club.

Frederic Bulot
Gabonese academy graduate Bulot was one of many to leave Monaco after the 2011 relegation, joining Caen that summer.

His passport stamps aren’t quite as varied and impressive as former team-mate Haruna, but the midfielder has still had quite the nomadic career. He’s currently in Cyprus (Doxa Katokopias), following stints in Malaysia (FELDA United), Japan (FC Gifu) and Belgium (Standard Liege).

The Standard Liege connection saw him spend the 2014-15 season in the Championship at Roland Duchatelet’s Charlton, sharing an eclectic dressing room with the likes of Nick Pope, Joe Gomez, Tony Watt, Tal Ben Haim, Andre Bikey, Francis Coquelin and Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

Terence Makengo
A former France Under-17 and Under-20 international, Makengo has spent his entire career in the lower leagues of French football, having started out with 12 appearances for Monaco while they were in Ligue 2.

The striker, who is still only 28, is now with third-tier club Villefranche.

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