Who Is Romain Alessandrini? Everything You Need To Know About The LA Galaxy Star!

Romain Alessandrini

Photo Credit: AP

Romain Alessandrini has provided entertainment throughout his career with his eye for goal, close-control dribbling and burst of pace.

While fans of Clermont Foot, Olympique Marseille and Rennes all enjoyed Alesandrini’s magic in France, many would argue it was in MLS with Los Angeles Galaxy that he really flourished.

Some footballers are all tricks and no substance. Others rarely attract attention but do the dirty work. At his best, Alessandrini was a joy to watch while producing for his team.

That’s what every supporter dreams of, a star player who brings excitement and end product in equal measure.

There were transfer rumours linking Alessandrini to the Premier League on more than one occasion. He was an injury away from being recognised as a full France international, too.

It could be seen as a career of what might have been, of opportunities missed, of talent that was underappreciated across the Atlantic and then disappeared to the soccer wilderness of China with good years left.

However his career is remembered, those who saw at Alessandrini at his best won’t forget his game in a hurry. Plenty of FIFA players will fondly recall his peak years on the game, too, including some particularly sensational special cards.

Romain Alessandrini Career

Spending the majority of his youth career with Marseille, Alessandrini left the French giants to drop down the football pyramid when he was just a teenager.

Gueugnon welcomed a tricky, inconsistent winger to the club, and he made his senior debut in the third tier of French football.

From becoming a first team player in 2008, he stayed with the club until 2010 when Clermont Foot came calling.

Immediately an important member of the squad, Alessandrini started 35 matches in his first Ligue 2 campaign with the club, contributing a combined 18 goals and assists.

The 2011-12 season was similarly successful with 33 starts and 15 goal involvements. Those performances caught the eye of Rennes, who were coming off a sixth-placed finish in Ligue 1.

Stepping up to the top flight didn’t prove much of a trouble for Alessandrini. He notched 16 goal involvements in his first Ligue 1 season despite playing the equivalent of 17.4 matches.

During the second half of that campaign, he looked to have a big break with a call up to the France squad.

A poorly timed injury prevented Alessandrini making his national team debut, though, and as a golden generation of French talent came through, the quick-footed winger never got another opportunity from Didier Deschamps.

Although less productive in 2013-14, Marseille splashed five million euros to bring Alessandrini back to the club.

Limited to just 13 league starts in his first season with Les Phocéens’ first team, he could never replicate the performances that saw him ascend the pyramid with Clermont Foot and Rennes.

With things not working out at the club, Alessandrini swapped France for California, joining LA Galaxy as a Designated Player in January 2017.

Then general manager of Galaxy Peter Vagenas was thrilled with the coup. He said, “We are very excited to add a talented, attacking winger like Romain to our roster.

“He is in the prime of his career and has spent time playing at a top division in Europe. Romain will play a valuable role in our team’s success this season and we look forward to him joining our roster ahead of the 2017 campaign.”

Galaxy had spent a year pursuing Alessandrini with technical director Jovan Kirovski at the head of the operation. Aware of his difficulties in his second stint with Marseille, Kirovski and the Galaxy were there to swoop, and they did just that.

Explaining the dynamic, Kirovski said, “He didn’t quite live up to expectations at Marseille. And if you know Marseille, it’s a crazy place.

“I mean the fans are really on it, they’re intense and they expect a lot and he just didn’t live up to it, he didn’t fulfill the expectations he was supposed to there. So it didn’t work out but… the timing was right for us to come in and get him.”

Alessandrini went from strength to strength in Los Angeles. He started strongly and built on those early performances to score 24 goals and create 19 in his first 50 starts for the club.

Like all of his stops, though, it was a short-lived affair – despite working with some fantastic coaches, including former Galaxy player Kevin Hartman.

The Frenchman announced in January 2020 that he was leaving the Galaxy, and a few weeks later he signed a contract with Qingdao Football Club and now plays alongside former Udinese midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu.

Style Of Play

When Alessandrini was carrying Rennes back in 2012, Jonathan Johnson speculated that the young winger could be the next big French star.

Writing on Bleacher Report, Johnson said, “If his ascent continues at this speed, interest from outside of France will soon start pouring in and international acclaim will surely follow.

“Rennes are a fantastic club for nurturing youth and developing talent, but in terms of offering Alessandrini sustained success, the Breton club may not be able to fulfil his ambitions.”

Johnson also gave a nod to Alessandrini’s reserved nature away from the pitch. He was creating goals out of nothing for a Rennes side in disarray, a feat he repeated throughout his career, including on some subpar Galaxy teams.

While he never fulfilled the lofty potential to become a defining player in his generation, Alessandrini’s talent could never be in question.

He possessed an eye for a pass and the talent to pull most of them off. Often a risk-taker in possession, fans could be frustrated, but those moments were outweighed by the joy of his play in full flow.

The statistics do not fully paint the picture of Alessandrini’s skill, though he ranked 10th in key passes per game in the 2017 MLS season. Only two players bettered his tally of 11 assists that season, and only 17 scored more goals.

It’s a career with plenty of what-ifs. On raw talent alone, there’s no question Alessandrini could have become a star in Europe, racking up massive transfer fees and France caps simultaneously.

*All photo credit on the site belongs to ap*

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