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Jean-Clair Todibo: there is still time

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Football has changed. In other times, football did not have the attention that it currently has from the fans nor did it used to have the money that surrounds this sport today. Nowadays, a talented 17-year-old player has several compilation videos on YouTube, many international clubs interested in him, club and sponsor contract offers, thousands of followers on social media and, on occasion, parents lobbying for the player. It will reach the highest level for what it can mean in economic benefits for the family.

For a young man being surrounded by all of this, it can have negative consequences that can lead to the detriment of his professional football career, despite how talented he can be. In fact, it is incredible how many young promises have seen their careers fade into obscurity due to non-football related reasons. One of the most famous case is Mario Balotelli. Another player who has been recently affected by this phenomenon is Nicolo’ Zaniolo.

This issue arises from the statements of French agent Bruno Satin, who represented Jean-Clair Todibo, a SL Benfica player on loan from FC Barcelona. Satin recently stated that, in his opinion, Todibo’s main problem, and the one that did not allow him to consolidate at Barcelona, is the fact that he lacks humility that prevented him from listening to the advice of the people. Several people at Barcelona tried to and wanted to help him with precious advises (such as Eric Abidal, for example) but it was useless: Jean-Clair Todibo just do not listen to anyone.

Jean-Clair Todibo, born in Cayenne, French Guiana, on December 30, 1999, trained at FC Les Lilas as a center midfielder although he was converted into a center back, where he later stood out at Toulouse FC, where he would make his professional debut in Ligue 1 in the year 2018. His performance made him a regular starter in the club’s starting elevens. However, Jean-Clair Todibo did not have a professional contract and refused to sign it with Toulouse FC. Many clubs were interested in him, being FC Barcelona the one that ended up signing him in January of 2019. This led to many comparisons between the case of Todibo and that of Raphael Varane in Real Madrid, directing an analogy that to this day is very far from exist.

But he only played five games in FC Barcelona in a year and this led to a 6-month loan at FC Schalke 04, where he would perform at a decent level. Back at Barcelona, the club decided to loan him once again, this time to SL Benfica, in the last hours of the summer transfer window. At first glance, a loan deal to the Portuguese club seemed a good option since they would share a dressing room with experienced center backs such as Otamendi and Vertonghen and a top-level manager like Jorge Jesús, as well as playing a competitive championship, although not as difficult as La Liga.

The reality has been very different, to the point that SL Benfica asked to cancel the loan this month because the injuries have been cruel to him and Jorge Jesús himself considers that he does not have the tactical or physical level to play in the Lisbon club, which allows us to infer that Jean-Clair Todibo does not have an adequate attitude when it comes to the preparation and care that a professional football player should have.

FC Barcelona is in a difficult economic situation and cannot waive the loan payment unless it gets another club willing to pay for the remaining six months on loan or, even better, it signs Jean-Clair Todibo permanently. When it comes to the French center back, he is quite young (21 years old) and must take advantage of these experiences to straighten out his career, which can be very good if we base ourselves on his qualities, even at FC Barcelona itself where it can be seen in the reflection of Ronald Araujo.

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