By Robson Sharuko
Tino Kadewere cost Le Havre US$2.2 million last year and, after his graduation into the big boys of European football, his first two matches at Olympique Lyon could be against a world-class All-Star front three which cost more than US$1.37 billion.
Even if he doesn’t play in those two matches, and is consigned to the bench, it’s a measure of how far the Zimbabwe international forward’s world has dramatically changed that he will now be in such illustrious company.
His first battle, in Lyon’s colours, is set to be the dynamic Paris St Germain duo of Brazilian superstar, Neymar, and the footballer some expect to rule the world, after the end of the Ronaldo/Messi dynasty, Frenchman Kylian Mbappe.
Then, next month, it could be against his football hero, Cristiano Ronaldo, in a UEFA Champions League showdown in Turin, Italy.
It’s a world-class front three attacking talent that will have cost PSG and Italian giants Juventus in excess of US$1.37 billion in direct expenditure, to cover the transfer fees, by the time the trio’s current contracts expire.
Neymar’s stay at the French giants is expected to cost the club US$528 million.
This includes the world record US$263 million which PSG paid Barcelona to secure the Brazilian, on a five-year contract, the US$53 million salary they pay him, bringing the eventual cost of their marriage to over US$528 million.
Ronaldo moved to Juventus, after nine years at Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, in a deal which will, including the transfer, weekly wages and taxes, cost the Italians about US$400 million.
This includes an annual salary and bonuses worth about US$50 million and the US$117 million which Juventus splashed to bring him to Turin.
Mbappe, the youngest of the trio and the only one among them to win the World Cup, was set to be offered the same deal as Neymar, by PSG, to try and lure him to stay at the club beyond his current contract.
With Real Madrid prepared to break the bank to bring him into their ranks, PSG were desperate to spoil the highly-rated forward with a better, and bigger, deal although, after the way the Covid-19 outbreak has significantly changed the football transfer landscape, it’s unlikely the club could still afford such expenditure.
However, Mbappe still costs a fortune, on his current deal, for PSG to keep on their books with the explosive French striker costing about US$443 million, when his transfer fee and earnings are taken into consideration.
For Kadewere, who cost French Ligue 2 club Le Havre about US$2.2 million, to bring from Sweden last year, before he moved to top-flight side Lyon in January this year for about US$16.5 million, this All-Star company he is set to play against, in his first two matches, illustrates how far he has travelled in his football adventure.
He might still be far away from these megastars, and their ridiculous earnings but, just being in their company, even as opponents, is a sign of how his life is slowly changing from a player who was, just five years ago, being rejected by Dynamos as not being good enough.
“I took the boy (Kadewere) from Highfields Academy and tried to have him join Dynamos because he was very good,’’ Gibson Mahachi, the player/manager who was trying to secure a breakthrough move for Kadewere, told The Herald last week.
“Unfortunately, Dynamos refused to sign him saying he wasn’t good.
“I then took him to Harare City where he was signed on loan by Taurai (Mangwiro). Before long, I received a call from Bafana (Eric, a South –based academy coach) and his crew and Kadewere was actually accompanied by (Pieere) Mathieu to Sweden.”
He joined Djurgaden before his move to Le Havre where, he scored 20 goals in 24 appearances, and the Golden Boot in the second-tier league, was enough to get him a move to Lyon.
His first match for Lyon could be against Neymar and Mbappe in the French League Cup final at the end of the month with Lyon set to take on PSG.
Although the French league championship was called off in March, in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the League Cup final is set to be played on July 31.
Lyon edged Lille 4-3 on penalties, in the semi-final in January this year, after a 2-2 draw, to book their date against PSG, who were declared league winners when the championship was halted.
Kadewere will have to first find a place in the Lyon strike-force in which French striker, Moussa Dembele, has featured prominently with 17 league goals in the abandoned league championship race.
The former Celtic star and Dutchman, Memphis Depay, who is back in action after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in the first leg of their Champions League defeat to Juventus on February 26 this year, have been the club’s regular suppliers of goals.
Depay had scored nine goals in 13 league matches at the time of his injury.
After that showdown, Lyon’s next match is against Juventus in the Champions League and that will bring Kadewere closer to his hero Ronaldo.
The Portuguese superstar was the reason the Zimbabwean forward ended up supporting Manchester United.
Kadewere also has a soft spot for Juventus today, because of Ronaldo.
“I support Manchester United since the time Cristiano Ronaldo, who is still my favourite player. When he was transferred to Real, I started to cheer for Real Madrid,’’ he revealed last year.
“And, today, it’s the same with Juventus.
“But, United is still my heart club. At the level of my position. I admire Harry Kane, he is one of the best strikers in the world and I often watch videos of him to try to replicate what he’s doing on the field.’’
If he has been looking for more inspiration, from a front-row seat, from the multi-millionaire football superstars of this world, Kadewere will certainly be spoiled for choice in the coming few weeks.
While he would certainly love to play against them, and show what he is really made of, even if he doesn’t immediately make the starting XI, just being in this illustrious company, for someone who has had to repeatedly watch videos of Kane to help his game, is priceless. The Herald