Cedric Bakambu is perhaps not yet unanimously considered as the new sensation of the Spanish topflight this term but could possibly achieve that recognition if he continues to walk the walk until next May.
The Villarreal attacker was on Wednesday named La Liga Player of the Month of October ahead of finalists Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona and Valencia winger Goncalo Guedes, thanks to the 26-year-old’s 6 goals in 4 matches during the month under review – a hat trick against Eibar, a brace against Girona and one in the 4-0 crushing of Las Palmas.
The French-born, who is now a DR Congo international, said he regretted not being able to help the Leopards qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup but vowed to heal the wounds with ‘a sparkling personal campaign’ in Spain this season, and he very much appears to be on the right track.
Bakambu is currently the third top scorer of La Liga with 8 goals behind Barca icon Lionel Messi (12) and Valencia’s Simone Zaza (9).
“I could be the top scorer if I work very hard but the main objective is to help my team move up the ladder and finish the season honourably,” he said on Thursday.
“We are still far from achieving anything this season and it is still too early to say all is well because tougher days are ahead.”
Truly, a rough ride awaits Villarreal from now until end of the year. The Yellow Submarine will lock horns with Sevilla on Sunday before subsequently facing Barcelona, Celta Vigo and second-placed Valencia two days to Christmas.
Those fixtures could hugely or partially determine the fate of Villarreal’s ongoing rosy campaign, but could also offer the Congolese opportunities to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with in the league.
“I hope to do my best because the expectation and pressure now is high. Those games would be difficult but it is when you emerge from a difficult situation unhurt that you are regarded a hero.
“As a footballer, I’m not afraid of any opposition. Every time they come you take it as a stepping stone to move higher, but if you fall, call it a learning curve.”
In the Europa League, Villarreal lead their Group A with 11 points and have advanced to the knockout phase, thanks in part to Bakambu’s three goals so far in the campaign, all scored against Kazakhstani representatives FC Astana.
Five months to end the season is a long journey that could bring a lot of uncertainties and so it might be too early pay tribute to him. However, he remains one of the very few players who make Africans proud in La Liga.