Yacine Brahimi: Player Profile

Voted BBC’s Best African Player

Personal information
Date of birth: 8 February 1990
Age: 24
Place of birth: Paris, France
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position: Attacking midfielder

Club information 
Current team: Porto
Number: 8

Youth career 
1997–2000: Montreuil
2000–2004: Vincennois
2003–2006: Clairefontaine
2004–2006: Paris Saint-Germain
2006–2009: Rennes

Senior career 
2009–2013: Rennes 53 Appearance, 9 goals
2009–2010 → Clermont (loan) 34 Appearance, 8 goals
2012–2014: Granada 64 Appearance, 3 goals
2014– Porto 18 64 Appearance, 7 goals
National team 
2006: France U16 7 Appearance, 2 goals
2006: France U17 3 Appearance, 0 goals
2007–2008: France U18 5 Appearance, 1 goal
2008–2009: France U19 25 Appearance, 11 goals
2010: France U20 5 Appearance, 1 goal
2010–2012: France U21 8 Appearance, 1 goals
2013– Algeria 14 Appearance, 4 goals

Algeria and FC Porto midfielder Yacine Brahimi is the winner of this year’s BBC African Footballer of the Year award. He is the first Algerian player to win in the competition’s 23 year history. Brahimi emerged as the most popular player in a competitive shortlist that included Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon and Borussia Dortmund), Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria and Lille), Gervinho (Ivory Coast and Roma) and 2013 winner Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast and Manchester City). This year’s BBC African Footballer of the Year was the most successful competition to date since the award first launched in 1992 as BBC African Sports Star of the Year. Hundreds of thousands of football fans voted in the 2014 competition from around the world.

The BBC’s Peter Okwoche presented Brahimi with his trophy last Monday, during a global simulcast across radio and television. Having played for the French national youth teams, Brahimi was a late addition to Algeria after switching nationalities in 2013. He showed maturity and leadership at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where Algeria qualified from the group stages for the first time in their World Cup history. Since then he has helped to secure his country’s qualification for next year's Africa Cup of Nations. He has also blossomed in his club career at Porto showing panache in midfield and impressive form in front of goal.

Yacine Brahimi was born in Paris to Algerian parents. After demonstrating early promise in local youth teams, he was invited to join the prestigious Clairefontaine national youth academy, where he learned his trade for three years before moving to Paris Saint-Germain’s own academy. In 2009, the skilful attacking midfielder signed his first professional contract with Rennes and subsequently put in several impressive performances for the club’s reserve team.  After a season-long loan at Clermont, he established himself in the Breton outfit’s starting line-up, playing in numerous French Ligue 1 and UEFA Europa League matches. He moved to Spanish side Granada in 2012, first on loan, and then on a permanent basis. At the end of season La Liga Awards, he was voted the best African player of the 2013–14 season.

On 22 July 2014, Porto announced the signing of Brahimi from Granada for a fee of €6.5 million and a 5-year contract. His first goal for the club came in the second leg of their Champions League play-off against Lille, netting directly from a free-kick as Porto advanced to the group stage with a 3–0 aggregate victory. He scored his first hat-trick for the club in Porto's first match of the Champions League group stage, a 6–0 home win over BATE Borisov on 17 September. In their next European fixture, he had his penalty saved by Andriy Pyatov with the game goalless at Shakhtar Donetsk. He scored his first league goal against Nacional in a 2–0 win on 1 November. On 5 November, Brahimi scored one goal and assisted another as Porto defeated Athletic 2–0 to secure qualification to the knock-out stage of the Champions League.

Brahimi competed and scored in the 2009 UEFA European U-19 Championship and the 2010 Toulon Tournament with France, but switched his allegiance to Algeria in February 2013. The following month, he made his debut for Algeria the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Benin, and would go on to make further appearances later in the campaign. The Algerian attacking forward has been a revelation for Porto and his club will be depending on him to bring home the bragging rights when they take on arch rivals Benfica this weekend.