La Liga Rewind - What happened to Fabrice Olinga?

La Liga enthusiasts might be drooling over the prospect of Lamine Yamal and Endrick. However, about a decade ago there was someone who was making his mark very early in La Liga. In fact Yamal ended up breaking the record of as the youngest La Liga goal scorer is the person we are going to talk about but comes present day even with 20 senior caps. Having played across top flight clubs in Spain, Italy, Portugal Belgium and Romania but still considered as a let down by those who have been following his career closely especially since he was rated so highly. He was touted for big things even as far as FIFA hyping him up in a YouTube video curtsey of him donning the green of Cameroon at just 18 in the Brasil World Cup .

La Liga Rewind - What happened to Fabrice Olinga?
Fabrice Olinga (Credits -

A product of the famed ETO academy which has given the world especially European football some of the finest African youth exports  over the years with Barcelona a former club of his especially benefitting from the conveyor belt of talent. His factory is back in his native Cameroon and Fabrice Olinga was yet another diamond in the rough waiting to explode onto the scene and was quickly touted as the next ETO like many other talents before him. But he ended up in hands of Mallorca and eventually settled at Malaga where he ended up getting his first taste of the Senior game .

La Liga Rewind - What happened to Fabrice Olinga?
Fabrice Olinga (Credits - Transfermarkt)

La Liga debut at 16, scoring in the same debut match, international debut at 16 and world cup at 18. It seemed like nothing could go wrong for Fabrice as he seemed to have the world at his feet but that was his only goal in La Liga. After that it has been a series of ill advised exits by agents, botched transfers, failed loan moves and possibly a case of peaking too early which has resulted in the fact that he is not one of the first names in world football today when superstars of the game are being talked about.

Although his career has been far from being a mess and he has turned out over 120 times from 15-21 in the Belgium top flight club Mouscron. The period before has been a mess and after that there has not been much to talk about either as his stint at Rio Ave and Botosani in Romania literally have less than 15 appearances with no goals to show for in the last 3 years.

Many people in online forums are of the opinion that like many African sporting prodigies before him, he was physically better than his peers and thus ended up being a standout and as a result got his shot at the big time earlier. Clubs and coaches gave him a run as he was extremely young and were of the opinion that he had immense potential and scope for growth. But progress in football is not linear as is often shown by late bloomers like Jamie Vardy, Jay De Merit, Junior Messias among others. On the polar opposite end of the spectrum are young prodigies who burst on very early but either could not find their footing and their growth either stagnated or got derailed due to being exposed to early. In some rare cases being worse off after 10 years of senior experience than when they first started playing.

Even though he might not have had the career he might have hoped for or the heights that he was expected to reach once upon a time, but he might be proud of where he has come and he still has time to make a turnaround and carve out a decent few years for himself. Nonetheless, he will always remain a favorite amongst FIFA career mode players and Bronze SBC and to Cameroon and Malaga FC who like Olinga are unfortunately a shadow of their once glorious self but are hopeful of a revival.

Cover Credits - Malaga CF Official

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