Whenever Cristiano Ronaldo decided to put on a finishing clinic, Stephy Mavididi was usually at the front of the class, taking notes and absorbing as much as he possibly could from his superstar Juventus teammate.
“It was a privilege to even train with him. It’s helped me so much,” Mavididi told The Guardian in December.
“It’s not even about going up to him and asking him questions. You just watch him and you learn.”
And, as Montpellier celebrated their third straight Ligue 1 win with a 2-1 triumph over Rennes on Sunday, there were certainly shades of CR7 about the way Mavididi went about his business.
The Montpellier forward reacted at the speed of light to tap home the opener but, if that close-range volley highlighted his improving instincts inside the penalty area, his second of the game was classic Ronaldo.
Bamboozling a Rennes defender with a gorgeous first touch, Mavididi rifled a stunning finish into the roof of the Rennes net.
Taking his tally to six for the season, this is Mavididi’s most prolific campaign since 2018/19 – when he was playing for Juventus U23s in Serie C and training with a certain Mr Ronaldo.
It is three years since the Derby-born forward left Arsenal for Italy and, after moving on to Montpellier for about £6 million, Mavididi is finally starting to make good on the promise he showed in north London.
More displays like that at the Stade de la Mosson and Mavididi, like Serge Gnabry, Ismael Bennacer and Yunus Musah before him, will have Arsenal fans wondering if another hugely exciting talent has slipped through their fingers.
Here’s what some fans had to say on Twitter about Mavididi’s performance: