Five players you didn’t know played for Le Havre

Le Havre are on course to win Ligue 1 BKT for the sixth time, which would ensure a first tilt and French top-flight football since the 2008/09 campaign.


Luka Elsner’s men are three points clear of Girondins de Bordeaux – with a game in hand – with only 15 left to play for, having lost just a single game all season.


Whilst Nabil Alioui and Amir Richardson – the son of former NBA star Micheal Ray Richardson – look ready to make the step up, les Ciel et Marine are sure to go shopping on promotion.


They might have had designs on pushing Paris Saint-Germain for the title had they kept onto some of the following…


Paul Pogba


Paul Pogba might be the most famous of Le Havre’s former academy players, having been the most expensive player of all time when Manchester United signed him for a second time – from Juventus for €110 million – in 2016, before winning the FIFA World Cup with France two years later.


Pogba spent two years in Le Havre’s youth set-up between 2007 and 2009, captaining their under-16 team before his first move to Manchester, and is now back at Juventus having returned to Serie A last summer.



Steve Mandanda


Steve Mandanda, now of Stade Rennais FC, may be an Olympique de Marseille club legend, but he started his career at Le Havre and, unlike Pogba, finished his youth career with them before spending two seasons in their first team between 2005 and 2007.


Mandanda kept an entirely respectable 26 clean sheets in 72 games in all competitions for Le Havre before leaving for OM, initially on loan, in 2007. The veteran shot-stopper was later one of three former Le Havre players – alongside Pogba and Benjamin Mendy – to lift the 2018 World Cup in Russia.


Steve Mandanda, Le Havre


Riyad Mahrez


Riyad Mahrez had already made his senior debut with Quimper Kerfeunteun FC before joining Le Havre in 2010, but he was still a teenager when he made the move, and it was their youth academy that convinced him to turn down PSG and Marseille at the time.


Initially signed for their reserves, Mahrez hit 24 goals in 57 games at that level before being promoted to the senior squad. Two years and 22 goal-involvements later and he left for Leicester, whom he helped to a shock Premier League triumph in 2016. Has since won it three more times with Manchester City.



Dimitri Payet


Le Havre have a partnership with JS Saint-Pierroise in Réunion, the French island department situated in the Indian Ocean, and it is for that reason that Dimitri Payet, as well as Florent Sinama Pongolle and Guillaume Hoarau, have called the Stade Océane home.


Payet spent four years in their academy but returned to Réunion before being given a second chance in Metropolitan France by FC Nantes in 2005. Has since turned out for AS Saint-Étienne, LOSC and Marseille – the latter either side of a spell with West Ham – and won 38 caps for les Bleus.


Watch: Payet’s 20 best assists in Ligue 1 Uber Eats 


Ferland Mendy

Le Havre have had more than one star called Mendy, with Benjamin and Edouard joined by Real Madrid left-back Ferland Mendy in cutting their teeth at Le Havre.


Originally a PSG academy prospect, Mendy – who is cousins with Chelsea’s goalkeeper – swapped the French capital for Le Havre in 2013 and made his senior debut with the club two years later. Subsequently moved to Olympique Lyonnais then Real Madrid, with whom he won the UEFA Champions League in 2022. 


Ferland Mendy, Le Havre


Honourable mentions


Jean-Alain, Boumsong, Vikash Dhorasoo, Lassana Diarra, Souleymane Diawara, Guillaume Hoarau, Carlos Kameni, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Bernard Mendy, Edouard Mendy, Mamadou Niang, Brice Samba, Florent Sinama Pongolle.

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