Another Swiss international has come to the Principality! After Philipp Köhn, who arrived on July 15, there’s another Nati, Denis Zakaria, who has joined AS Monaco until June 2028. Trained at FC Servette in Geneva, the 26-year-old midfielder is indeed a key player for his country and has great experience in Europe. Here is all you need to know about the new Monegasque in nine points. 🗓
The ninth Swiss player to turn out for AS Monaco 🇨🇭
To begin with, the former resident of the Old Lady is already the eighth Swiss player to put play at the foot of the Rock. Before him, Alexandre Burger (1948-1950), Umberto Barberis (1980-1983), Marco Grassi (1996-1997), Patrick Muller (2008-2010), Diego Benaglio (2017-2020), and more recently Breel Embolo (since 2022) and Philipp Köhn (since 2023) had taken the same path. He is the ninth Swiss to have represented AS Monaco including coach Roger Courtois, who remained on the Club’s bench from 1963 to 1965.
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) August 14, 2023
He started in Geneva… in a new position! 🎯
A native of the shores of Lake Geneva and passionate about football, Denis started at FC Servette at the age of seven. He grew up and went through all the club’s youth categories (U17, U18 and U21), until making his debut and scoring his first professional goal against FC Wohlen in May 2015 (in a 1-3 victory)… having trained as a striker! This was further evidenced by his second professional goal, a magnificent effort on a free kick.
Making his debut in Europe… at the Stade Louis-II 🏟
While switching between the Swiss fifth division with the reserves and the first team, Denis Zakaria signed with Young Boys of Bern the following summer. He then celebrated his first appearance in European competition in the third preliminary round of the Champions League… against AS Monaco! Coming on on the hour mark, he failed to turn the tide and saw Fabinho and his teammates win the first leg (1-3).Then on the return leg, he wouldn’t make an appearance (4-0).
Coach Adi for life 🤝
First a substitute in Bern, it was with the arrival on the bench of the new Monégasque manager, Adi Hütter that he would show his importance to “YB”. The Austrian manager was full of confidence and installed him as a permanent fixture in his 4-4-2. The Swiss became an essential starter and took part in 33 games, scoring three goals.
The team finished runner-up in 2016 and his good performances opened the doors of Nati to him, even being part of the squad that competed in Euro 2016 in France. From the Swiss fifth division to the national team in less than 12 months… at only 19 years old! Then, at Mönchengladbach, he would in any case, reunite with the Austrian manager for a third time.
Compared to Patrick Vieira… but a fan of Paul Pogba 🐙
A tall and lanky presence (1.90m), the Geneva-born defensive midfielder is often compared to the 1998 World Champion for his athletic qualities, and his ability to make a lot of recoveries. But also for his technical quality and his English-style box-to-box profile, which sometimes leads him close to the opposing goal. On the other hand, Denis has also been inspired by another winner of the World Cup… in 2018!
“My idol is Paul Pogba! He is a player whom I admire enormously and whom I find very strong. We are a bit similar in characteristics, even if I still have a lot to work on to achieve his level”, he confided on making his debut for the Swiss national team.
Named as the best young Swiss player 🥇
In line with his first season, Denis Zakaria has had an excellent second year playing in the double pivot of Adi Hütter, appearing in 34 games (1 goal, 2 assists). This impressive regularity saw him named best young player of the 2016-2017 season in the Swiss Football League.
It was finally at Borussia Mönchengladbach that he would continue his young career. A club where he will later cross paths with coach Adi Hütter in 2021-2022. Playing as part of “Die Fohlen”, he would appear in 146 matches in five seasons.
A good friend of Breel Embolo 👥
In 2019, he would also meet the one who will become more than a teammate. Closely linked off and on the pitch, Denis and Breel played together for three seasons in North Rhine-Westphalia. It was even the new Monegasque midfielder who would even offer the striker one of the finest goals of his young career. A story of friendships… which looks set to continue on the shores of the Mediterranean!
Mit einem Fallrückzieher schoss Breel Embolo die @borussia am 7. #Bundesliga-Spieltag in Führung! 💪 @EAFussball hat das Tor noch mal in #FIFA22 nachgestellt. 🎮 #BLrecreated | #FUT pic.twitter.com/2ATrPkQLC0
— BUNDESLIGA (@Bundesliga_DE) October 8, 2021
A pair of masterclasses against City 🇬🇧
Denis also has a wealth of European experience (24 games, including 8 in the Champions League). And among his most notable feats are two very big performances against Manchester City under Pep Guardiola. The first one was in the Champions League Round of 16 in Germany, despite Gladbach suffering a defeat. (0-2).
It is even rumored that it was that day when England laid its eyes on him. Then during his season on loan with Chelsea, last January, there, too, despite a narrow loss (0-1), he turned in a monstrous display in the heart of midfield.
Lots of potential on FIFA 23 🎮
It’s time to get out your controller. If, like our AS Monaco Esports player, Adrxx, you are a fan of FIFA, Denis Zakaria is a (very) good pick for your career. With an overall score of 81 and a potential to go up to 86, the lanky Swiss midfielder stands out for his power: 88 in tackles, 87 in strength and a not insignificant speed of 86! A good prospect…