Senegal's Ismaila Sarr 'rejects Barcelona' for Rennes move

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Senegal's Ismailia Sarr
Ismailia Sarr made his debut for Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations

Senegal international winger Ismaila Sarr says he rejected a move to Spanish giants Barcelona to sign for French side Stade Rennes.

The 19-year-old Teranga Lion has secured a four-year contract in a deal worth $20m (£15.2m) as he switched from rivals Metz.

"I could have gone to Spain and join the great Barcelona, but leaving Metz to join them was too early," he said.external-link

"I saw Rennes as a club that will help me progress and reach great heights."

With just six caps for his country, Sarr has already been compared to former Rennes winger Ousmane Dembele, who now plays for Borussia Dortmund.

However the teenager is keen to create his own legacy.

"I still have to progress defensively, offensively with more flair, and be more decisive in my approach towards goal," he added.

"With Christian Gourcuff [Rennes manager], I am convinced that I will succeed."

Sarr helped AS Génération Foot progress from the second tier to the top flight of Senegalese League.

"I left Senegal a year ago to join Metz, I left my family there. I had to adapt to a new environment," he explained

"Today I am happy, my parents are proud of me. I only count every day as a chance to make the best out of my profession."

Born in Saint-Louis, Sarr moved to France last summer to join Metz on a five-year deal from Génération Foot and made his professional debut against Lille in August.

Despite his relative inexperience in the top flight of French football, Sarr made an explosive impact at Metz scoring five goals and producing five assists in 33 matches.

He made his international debut for Senegal at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon in January and played in all their group matches.

He was also involved when Senegal opened their 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers with a 3-0 home win against Equatorial Guinea in June.

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