Who is Lucas Hernandez and why did Bayern Munich sign him? | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.03.2019
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Who is Lucas Hernandez and why did Bayern Munich sign him?

The 23-year-old French defender was a part of the 2018 World Cup winning team, and joins Bayern for a record-breaking fee. He is one of the most powerful defenders in the game, but has plenty of room to grow.

The move to Bayern Munich is a big one for Lucas Hernandez.

The €80 million ($90 million) fee makes him the most expensive Bundesliga player of all time, and the most expensive defender ever too. It's also the first time in a long time that Lucas Hernandez has made a big change.

Born in Marseille, Hernandez moved to Spain when he was four and joined Atletico Madrid's youth team when he was 11. He made his first-team debut in 2014 and went on to make 110 appearances for a club that he grew close to.

In that time, Hernandez developed into an incredibly strong defender who is skilled in both defensive and attacking positions. In 2018, Hernandez helped Atletico win the Europa League, sparking a rapid rise.

After a somewhat bizarre situation whereby he declared interest in playing for Spain only to be called up to the French team shortly afterwards, Hernandez declared he would fight for the French jersey until his death. The French defender made his international debut in March 2018, and months later was one of the key players in France's World Cup winning team.

Having expected to be a backup defender, Hernandez found himself as the starting left back. His speed and strength in the tackle made the difference as he flew up and down the left-hand side. He played in all seven of France's games in Russia, including every minute of six, and assisted a goal in the final.

French national football team (Getty Images/AFP/T. Samson)

Lucas Hernandez (far left) helped France lift the World Cup last year

Room to grow

At just 23, Hernandez still has of potential for growth. Despite possessing great technical abilities, he has just four assists and one goal in his career.

On the day of his signing for Bayern, it was also confirmed that Hernandez was to undergo surgery for ligament damage in his right knee (he is expected to be fit for the start of the 2019-20 season).

Off the pitch, Hernandez has also had his troubles. In February 2017, Hernandez and his girlfriend were sentenced to 31 days community service and six months apart for domestic violence after a brawl in which they exchanged blows. The restraining order imposed on the pair stated they were to keep 500 meters from one another. Four months later, though, the pair were married in Las Vegas and then arrested together at a Madrid airport on their return from a holiday.

Hernandez's arrival is a sign of Bayern flexing their financial muscle. Having already confirmed the signing of another talented French World Cup winner earlier in the season (Benjamin Pavard for a reported €35 million), Hernandez's arrival improves their depth at left back and adds competition to an already talented group of central defenders.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said Hernandez's signing "will strengthen our team and continue the tradition of fantastic French players at our club." At a time when many of the best players in the world are French, Bayern are making the right moves for a club looking to return to European contention.