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Jules Kounde celebrates 50th appearance with outstanding performance
Frenchman reaches half-ton of games for the club and plays an essential role in the victory in Portugal
Jules Kounde has been, since the day he arrived, a key component of the FC Barcelona defence. And that has never been more apparent than against Porto on Wednesday night, which also happened to be his 50th game for the club.
The Parisian is an automatic first-team choice, either as full back or centre back, and it has taken him just over a year to reach the magic 50 in all competitions.
And what a display it was, with 94 interventions and 10 clearances. He had a 93% pass completion rate and won 5 aerial duels. But most important of all was the tackle he made to prevent what could have been a goal that changed everything.
Porto were very much threatening to equalise, and it looked like they had it when Pepé was through on Ter Stegen and in the perfect position to score. But the Brazilian was thwarted by a perfectly timed tackle by Kounde at the very instant he was preparing to shoot. There were initially appeals from the home side for a penalty. No way. It was the smoothest, cleanest of tackles, and one that Kounde celebrated as if he had scored. Indeed, tackles like that are just as important as goals at the other end.
Kounde, who has a contract with Barça until 2027, looks set to add considerably to the 50 games he has amassed to date and is clearly destined to become one of the finest centre backs in European football. We're very lucky to have him!