Lacazette helps Lyon push for European spot as he battles Mbappé for top scorer

Lacazette helps Lyon push for European spot as he battles Mbappé for top scorer

Lyon’s late push for European qualification is aided by Alexandre Lacazette’s goals.

Last Sunday, the striker’s incredible four-goal effort helped Lyon beat Montpellier 5-4 after trailing 4-1. After his stoppage-time penalty, the bench surrounded him.

Lacazette may break in new boots this way.

“They were a lovely present that I received, and I’m going to keep them meticulously clean for the next game,” said Lacazette, who rejoined Lyon in the winter after five years with Arsenal.

Lacazette now has 157 goals for Lyon, second only to Fleury Di Nallo (222).

Lacazette wants to overtake Kylian Mbappé to become the French league’s top scorer with his fortunate boots.

Both have 24 league goals—three more than Lille’s Jonathan David—with four games left.

Lacazette enjoys the challenge.

“Yes, because I know that if I score lots more goals it will help the team improve (and) finish in the highest position possible,” the 31-year-old Frenchman stated.

Lyon sits seventh, one goal behind sixth-place Rennes. Lille leads fifth-place Europa Conference League with three points.

Three teams play Sunday.

Lyon plays mid-table Clermont at noon. Monaco has surrendered more goals than Lyon in the top eight.

Lille travels to Monaco and Rennes hosts Troyes. Lille would be two points behind Monaco if it won and finished fourth, which ensures Europa League qualification.

AULAS, REVOIR

Lyon’s 36-year president Jean-Michel Aulas resigned on Monday.

After betting on Raymond Domenech, who later coached France, the 74-year-old Frenchman promoted the club back to the first flight in 1989.

Lyon won seven straight titles from 2002 to 2008 under Juninho and Karim Benzema.

Aulas built a 60,000-seat stadium, improved Lyon’s development program, and made the women’s team Europe’s best.

Benzema, Lacazette, Sidney Govou, and Hatem Ben Arfa are among its alumni.

19-year-old attacking midfielder Rayan Cherki is a rising talent.

Aulas was a successful transfer market entrepreneur. Lyon’s extensive scouting network found promising players and sold them for significant money.

Benzema joined Real Madrid in 2009 for a French record 35 million euros ($38.2 million).

Lucas Paquetá was sold to West Ham last summer for 61.6 million euros ($67.5 million).

Bruno Guimarães, another Brazilian midfielder, cost the same and was transferred to Newcastle for 50.1 million euros ($54.9 million) plus 20% of potential future sell-on value.

Govou honored Aulas.

“You listened, chose, learned, built, won, lost, grew, united, divided, lasted,” Govou tweeted. “But always for Lyon’s best.”

Aulas was well respected, but his tendency of speaking his mind—often using Twitter to directly ping his caustic views—made him battle with club presidents and coaches, soccer analysts, and former players.

He had a heated elevator altercation with former Lens president Gervais Martel regarding loan player use.

He reconciled with Martel by gifting him a vintage bottle of Martell cognac, but he fell out with Juninho, who scored 100 goals for the club, when Juninho became the sporting director. Juninho resigned early last year, and their rift persists.

Ben Arfa furiously posted “Soccer won’t miss you, bye” on Instagram with a photo of Aulas, which former Lyon striker Sonny Anderson slammed.

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