TCC View: Tuchel should ask Ronaldo how good 22-year-old who's just back in Chelsea training is

Chelsea might just want to ask Riyad Mahrez and Cristiano Ronaldo what it’s like to face Malang Sarr as he aims to break into Thomas Tuchel’s squad.

Tuchel wouldn’t be blamed for knowing very little about Sarr, considering he was shipped out on loan immediately after signing for the Blues last summer.

He arrived at Stamford Bridge from Nice and was then packed off to Porto for a season.

Photo by Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The 22-year-old only made 19 appearances across all competitions.

At one stage, he was featuring for Porto’s B-side.

European pedigree

However, there were flashes of Sarr’s spell that stood out, particularly in the Champions League.

His debut for the Portuguese outfit arrived in less than comfortable settings: Manchester City away.

City won 3-1, however it was the Frenchman’s battle with Riyad Mahrez that caught the eye, especially from Chelsea fans.

Photo by Martin Rickett – Pool/Getty Images

Whilst the Algerian tried his flicks and tricks, Sarr stood up to the task well and mainly kept the winger under wraps.

Clash with Cristiano

Perhaps his defining moment came in the first knock-out round away to Juventus.

With Porto 2-1 up from the first leg and level on the night, Sarr was brought on just after the hour to solidify the lead.

Although Juve won 3-2, they were dumped out on aggregate, with Cristiano Ronaldo unable to drag the Italians out of the mud.

This was partly due to the job Sarr did on CR7, which was again admired by Blues supporters on social media.

Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

He recalled that epic evening in an interview with the club website, saying: “That game was unbelievable, with a lot of ups and downs.”

Unfortunately, these two instances of European excellence were few and far between for the centre-back.

Now back at Cobham for pre-season, Tuchel will hope the Mahrez and Ronaldo handler will turn up for training, rather than the player demoted to Porto’s second team.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.