Christopher Nkunk’s rise to become one of the world’s biggest football stars has been rapid and not unexpected. The French has everything you need: talent, diligence, will. And he keeps a clean head and remains humble.
For Christopher Nkunku, there is no such thing as rest or letting go. On Wednesday, at the RB Leipzig training camp in Aigen, Styria, Austria, the French initially discreetly disregarded coach Domenico Tedesco’s instructions regarding recovery. He put an extra shift in the fitness tent next to the training area at ATV Irdning. He later spared neither himself nor the “French union” around Nordi Mukiele, Mohamed Simakan and former Monaco player Benjamin Henrichs at the table tennis table. With fun and passion, Nkunku struggled with everyone.
And it should be like that for a long time. Until recently, half of Europe pursued him. “I have made a conscious decision to extend and I am not going to leave the club next summer,” the Frenchman said at Schlosshotel Pichlarn on Thursday. The fact that Nkunku ended all speculation about a move to one of the best European clubs with his signature during the summer break was one of the biggest surprises in the transfer market. And also the 24-year-old offensive player’s statement on Thursday that the extension of his working document to 2026 does not mean he will leave the Bundesliga club next summer with the help of an exit clause or a handshake agreement.
The agile right foot was an outstanding figure for RB Leipzig last season, with which the Bundesliga club from Saxony took fourth place in the championship, reached the Europa League semi-finals and won the DFB Cup. Nkunku scored 32 goals and 20 assists in 52 competitive matches.
His league mates voted him the best player of the season then. Voting is an honor for him, Nkunku told the team hotel, but classified its significance in the usual way. “Football is primarily a team sport. I cannot win such titles on my own, so I share it with my team. “
This humility is the hallmark of the six-time French international who, despite its impressive development, has not changed much since it was first introduced to German audiences three years ago in the summer. A talent extorted from Paris Saint-Germain for € 13 million, which almost nobody outside the French Ligue 1 knew: restrained, modest, but with a clear emphasis on its development.
Every day Nkunku greets the club’s employees with a handshake. He still gives autographs, as he did on Thursday for every fan who came from Leipzig, but otherwise he is taking his career forward with the necessary seriousness, even if it means that he still trains on his days off like the day before.
Otherwise, he stays out of the spotlight, but formulates clear, ambitious goals in the several interviews he conducts. “We still have work to do here. We have already achieved a lot by winning the cup. But we want more! ” Nkunku said, looking at the team. And he still sees room for improvement: “I had a good season, but it was my first time at this level. I want to repeat that”.
Whether or not Nkunku will actually stay outside of this coming summer is still open. After a successful World Cup in Qatar in the winter and another season with RB in the Bundesliga, he was able to arouse new desires that herald the end of his stay in Leipzig. Until then, all sides have the prospect of at least one more season together. Coach Tedesco said Wednesday: “That’s the signal.” Christopher Nkunku is as important to RB as “to Robert Lewandowski’s Bayern.” The Chief of Defense Willi Orban is delighted to continue the game with one of Europe’s most wanted players. “The important thing for us is that it got longer. Not only in sports, but also because he is outstanding as a guy ”.