Kingsley Coman spent a decade at Paris Saint-Germain, coming up through the club’s academy and making four senior appearances, but it was his goal which condemned the French giants to defeat in Sunday’s Champions League final.
The 24-year-old Coman headed the only goal in Bayern Munich’s 1-0 victory in Lisbon, inflicting a devastating blow on his boyhood club in their first appearance in the final of European football’s premier competition.
Coman’s match-winning turn served PSG another reminder, this the most painful of all, of the stream of talented academy products to leave in recent years, including Adrien Rabiot and current Lyon striker Moussa Dembele.
Teenager Tanguy Kouassi also snubbed the capital club in favour of Bayern this summer, while France Under-21 winger Moussa Diaby left for Bayer Leverkusen on a five-year deal last summer.
Coman undoubtedly has few regrets over his departure as a raw teenager in 2014, winning two Serie A titles with Juventus before a trophy-laden spell in Germany. In all, he has nine league winners’ medals — five more with Bayern and two while at PSG.
“It’s an incredible feeling, lots of happiness and a bit of sadness for Paris, they had a great run,” Coman told French broadcaster RMC Sport after Bayern were crowned Europe’s top team for a six time.
“My heart was 100 percent Bayern because I’m 100 percent professional but I’m not going to lie, to see Presnel (Kimpembe) like that, to see our team like that, gave me a little bit of heartache.”
– Injury nightmares –
Coman’s compassion towards Kimpembe in particular stems from their time at PSG, where the pair formed a strong friendship after joining the club in their youth. They lived together for a year while part of the academy and even go on holiday with each other.
The pacy winger has endured his fair share of injury troubles and missed much of 2018 after twice rupturing ankle ligaments, ruling him out of the World Cup squad in Russia as a result.
While convalescing from the second of his ankle setbacks in the autumn of 2018, he even mentioned the possibility of retiring were injuries to continue to plague him.
He again missed time this season, starting just half of Bayern’s 34 Bundesliga games and was no guarantee to start the final after playing bit-part roles in their wins here over Barcelona and Lyon.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick gambled Coman could be the difference maker, and was rewarded handsomely.
“He’s a former Parisian, he will undoubtedly have a little extra motivation and I chose him for his speed,” said Flick of his decision to start Coman ahead of Ivan Perisic.
Under contract in Bavaria until 2023, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has tipped Coman to “become a true great at Bayern in the future”.
Sunday’s goal and his role in the club’s sixth European triumph — and second treble after 2013 — will ensure he is forever remembered fondly in Munich and leave PSG to ponder what might have been.