Mamadou Sarr is a central defender who made his debut for the Lyon first team in their final home match of the 2022-23 season. He came off the bench to replace Maxence Caqueret in the 83rd minute of a 3-0 win against Stade de Reims.
Sarr is a product of Lyon’s famed youth academy. He enrolled with the club back in 2018 at the start of his teenage years, and progressed rapidly through the ranks. His first steps in the Under-19 team came in the 2021-22 season when he was still only sixteen.
Early success at youth level
During that 2021-22 season, Sarr was a lynchpin of the Lyon team who won the prestigious Coupe Gambardella – the French equivalent of the FA Youth Cup. He was ever present from the Round of 16 onwards and scored in both the quarter and semi finals. The final against Caen at the Stade de France finished 1-1 and Lyon went on to win the penalty shoot-out 6-4.
Just nine days after that final, Sarr was in action for the French national U17 selection in the UEFA Under-17 European Championships in Israel. He played the first two group games – 6-1 and 4-0 wins over Poland and Bulgaria respectively – and was rested for the third match. Back in the starting line-up for the start of the knockout phase, he helped France to penalty shoot-out success against Germany and Portugal in the quarters and semis, but was on the bench for the final against the Netherlands. Nevertheless, France won 2-1 to secure the title and Sarr lifted his second trophy in less than a month.
The following season, 2022-23, Mamadou Sarr was promoted to the Lyon reserve squad playing in the Championnat National 2. He featured regularly in the team but it was a disappointing campaign that ended in relegation. Sarr also made nine appearances in friendlies for the France U18 team during the course of the season and, as mentioned above, was handed his senior Lyon debut in late May.
Waiting to take his chance
This season, Sarr has been shunted between the reserves, now in the Championnat National 3, and the first team bench. His second senior appearance came against Toulouse in December, again as a late substitute and he got a few more minutes in the Coupe de France Third Round win versus Pontarlier. He has also won his first caps for the France U19 team.
Should he make the grade, Mamadou Sarr will have two options at international level, as he also qualifies to play for Senegal by virtue of his father. Pape Sarr was a defensive midfielder who represented his country at the 2002 World Cup and spent most of his career in France. He began with Saint-Étienne and went on to wear the colours of Lens, Istres, Brest and Paris FC.
Young Mamadou has clearly inherited some of his dad’s football talent, and is showing promising signs that he can follow in his father’s footsteps and forge out a career as a professional. It’s too early to tell whether he’s headed right to the top, but he certainly has bags of potential.