2012/13 French Ligue 1
Many players have been burdened by unwelcome comparisons with the game's greats, but in Yoann Gourcuff, France hope they have found their successor to the great Zinedine Zidane. Operating in behind the strikers and boasting the kind of technique and creativity that marked out his predecessor as the finest player of his generation, Gourcuff all the tools to follow in his footsteps.
After early success with Rennes earned him a move to Italian giants AC Milan in 2006, his career stalled as he could not get a game in Milan. And it took a return to France to kick-start his career.
He joined Bordeaux on loan in the summer of 2008 and his career flourished once more - as he lead Les Girondins to the league and Coupe de la Ligue titles as well as being named the French League's Player of the Year after scoring 12 goals and claiming 11 assists.
Bordeaux signed him on a permanent basis for £13 million in the summer of 2009, leaving AC Milan to rue the departure of a natural successor for Kaka. Gourcuff continued to shine for Bordeaux and was named on the shortlist for the prestigious Ballon d'Or award in 2009, but his love affair with the club soured when manager Laurent Blanc chose to move on and he signed for Lyon for €22 million in August 2010.
Strengths: A playmaker of real quality, Gourcuff is an accomplished passer of the ball and has showcased his creative streak on numerous occasions. His technique bears comparison to the finest players on the globe and he is capable of scoring spectacular goals.
Weaknesses: Carlo Ancelotti identified mental frailties during Gourcuff's time in Italy while he has also been accused of being too selfish.
Career high: His remarkable year in 2008-09 as he scooped the French Player of the Year award when inspiring Bordeaux to the league title. He even scored the goal of the season with a wonderful individual strike against Paris Saint Germain.
Career low: Failing to make the grade at Milan and starting just four Serie A games in the 2007-08 season as Rossoneri manager Ancelotti claimed psychological issues were to blame.
Style: Inventive, extravagant, perceptive, an accomplished playmaker.
Quotes: "Gourcuff is a player with great talent. He's fantastic, if he continues like this, at the end of his career he will be remembered in football history, I'm sure of this." Kaka, June 2009.
Trivia: Gourcuff's father, Christian, is currently manager of French side Lorient, who beat Lyon 2-0 on Yoann's debut.
FRENCH LIGUE 1