Former England defender Rio Ferdinand was full of praise for Dayot Upamecano, with the ex-Manchester United star hailing the RB Leipzig centre-back as “formidable” after an outstanding Champions League display.
Upamecano put in a strong performance on Thursday as RB Leipzig took down Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the Champions League quarter finals, sealing a semi-final date with Paris Saint-Germain in the process.
The Frenchman was dominant throughout the match, showcasing the ability that made him a target for clubs all over Europe.
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Having earned attention from the likes of Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, Upamecano recently put pen to paper on a new contract with RB Leipzig, committing his future to the club by signing until 2023.
Although the transfer rumours have died down in response to that new contract, Ferdinand was full of praise for the defender for his role in guiding the German side to the semi-final round.
“Upamecano was the best player tonight, he was formidable on the pitch,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport.
“They were all defending for their lives. They matched up with Atletico. You need heart and desire and they all showed that especially late on in the game.”
Jermaine Jenas was also impressed by Upamecano’s efforts, with the former Tottenham and Newcastle midfielder saying there was “no point” to Diego Costa even being on the field due to the defender’s dominance.
“It looks so easy to him, the game,” Jenas said. “He looks like he is playing with his mates and that’s when you know you’ve got a good player.”
Upamecano joined RB Leipzig in 2017, having previously come through the ranks at sister club Red Bull Salzburg. He has made 112 appearances across four seasons with the club, including 37 in all competitions throughout this campaign.
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Internationally, the 21-year-old defender has been capped by France up to the U-21 level, although he is also eligible to feature for Guinea-Bissau.
RB Leipzig will face PSG on Tuesday with the winner of that match moving to the final on August 23.
They reached the final thanks to Tyler Adams’ late winner, after Joao Felix’s penalty for Atletico had cancelled out Dani Olmo’s opener.
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