Real Madrid came within minutes from being utterly
embarrassed by Club Brugge at the Santiago Bernabeu on
Tuesday, after Los Blancos had failed to contain 21-year-old
forward Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis.
Dennis fired in two goals in the 2-2 draw, in what felt like a
defining moment in his young career. It was the first time
most fans had heard his name, but now he’s the talk of the
Here are seven things you need to know about him.
He Loves Cristiano Ronaldo
Dennis stole the spotlight against Real , and his decision to
mimic Cristiano Ronaldo ‘s famous ‘Siiiii’ celebration certainly
caused a lot of controversy.
Speaking after the game (via the Daily Mail), Dennis
confessed that the Juventus man has always been his
favourite player, and he wanted to copy his celebration at
the Bernabeu to remind them of what they were missing.
Certainly a brave move, but it looks like he got away with it.
A Host of Premier League Sides Have
The 21-year-old may be in the spotlight now, but this
certainly isn’t the first time he has attracted attention from
Manchester United , Manchester City , Arsenal and Leicester
City are all believed to have monitored Dennis in the past
few seasons, but Brugge have simply never been interested
in selling him.
You can guarantee Brugge don’t regret it. Dennis’ value will
have tripled after his showing against Real, so a tidy profit
could be on the cards.
He’s Really, Really Fast
If you have seen Dennis play, you’ll already know just how
quick he is. Dennis is not just fast, he’s absurdly fast.
The forward loves to run and run and run some more, and
he’s yet to find a defender who can keep up with him. He
confessed that his plan was to run Sergio Ramos and
Raphael Varane into the ground, and he certainly did that.
Speed isn’t everything to his game, but it definitely helps him
He Has Been Compared to Neymar
So, we’ve established that Dennis is fast, but he’s far more
than just that. On the ball, he is skilful and dangerous, and
he has earned himself comparisons to some of football’s
It was during his time in Ukraine with Zorya Luhansk that
Dennis began to shine and, according to Voetbal
International , fans were so impressed with the youngster that
they started calling him ‘The Nigerian Neymar ‘. High praise
He’s obviously got a long way to go to reach those heights,
but comparisons between the two aren’t too crazy. They’re
both fast and creative on the ball, and both know how to get
fans off their seats.
He Has Long Been Seen as the Future of Brugge
Brugge fought off plenty of competition to recruit Dennis in
2017, and he was instantly seen as the future of the club.
In fact, Brighton winger Jose Izquierdo, who is a legend at
the club, told HLN (via Voetbal Primeur) that he was not
worried about leaving in 2017 as he knew that Dennis was
the man to lead them to glory.
The Nigerian needed just two months to prove to Izquierdo
that he could become a star, and it looks like he is set to
live up to that potential.
He Never Liked Football as a Child
However, everything could have been so different for Dennis.
Growing up an orphan, he rarely spent time playing football
and had other ideas about his future.
In a video on Brugge’s YouTube channel, Dennis confessed
that he didn’t actually like football as a child, and he instead
wanted to become a priest. He takes his faith very seriously,
and that was the only thing he could imagine himself doing.
He then developed a passion for medicine, before eventually
realising that he was actually quite good at football. He
could not deny his talent any longer, so took the plunge and
became professional. A wise choice.
He’s Close to Aston Villa’s Marvelous Nakamba
In the same video, Dennis appears alongside then-teammate
Marvelous Nakamba, and the pair discuss their bond and
how playing alongside one another makes them feel
confident and happy.
Nakamba left Brugge during the summer to seal an
expensive move to Aston Villa, but you can guarantee that
Dennis will be following his friend’s career very closely.
If he wants to be closer to his friend, a move to England
might be the only option.