Presnel Kimpembe, 200 and counting

The Paris Saint-Germain defender - a club youth academy product - played his 200th game for the club this weekend.

On Monday, CEO and Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi honoured Presnel Kimpembe with a trophy for his 200th appearance with Paris Saint-Germain, a milestone he brought up in Saturday's Ligue 1 game against Lens. 

The love affair between 'Presko' and the capital club has been a long one. After taking his first steps in the game at AS Éragny in the Paris suburbs, he was just 10 years old when he joined the Paris Saint-Germain youth academy in 2005. Up to the U15 side, Kimpembe was the smallest of all, but he learned to compensate thanks to his anticipation, his determination in the challenge, and his physical robustness. That helped him to continue moving through the ranks to the first team.

In 2014, he got a first taste of the senior team with Laurent Blanc, making his debut with a cameo against Lens before signing his first professional deal a few months later. The next season, he continued to establish himself, playing nine games alongside the likes of Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Marquinhos. But it's the 2016/17 campaign that saw him really come of age.

15 February 2017, when captain Thiago Silva suffers a calf injury, the young Kimpembe is called up at the 11th-hour by Unai Emery for the Round of 16 UEFA Champions League tie against Barcelona. His task in his first European game: stop Messi, Suarez and Neymar, the 'MSN'. Aged just 21, he showed the cool head of a pro as he muzzled the Catalans' star trio. "In spite of the disappointment of the return leg, it'll be a memory I'll always have in mind," said the number 3.


The 2017/18 season saw him gain experience with 38 appearances, and he also showed his experience by featuring at left-back. That summer, having also gone through the ranks at international level, he scaled the summit of world football by helping France lift the FIFA World Cup.

In 2018/19, he played every minute in all eight Champions League games, setting a club record in the competition with 17 challenges won in the game against Galatasaray. There was also the goal he scored at Old Trafford and - on the flip side - the penalty he conceded at the Parc des Princes.

That year also saw him wear the captain's armband for the first time. A leader on and off the pitch, he continued his progress by becoming an undisputed first-choice in the 2019/20 campaign, one that ended with the club's first UEFA Champions League final appearance.

He was officially named vice-captain in 2020/21, and forged a formidable pairing with Marquinhos. He's behind only his teammate (144) and Thiago Silva (121) in terms of Ligue 1 victories since 2014/15, and has taken on the role of 'big brother' to the youngsters emerging from the same youth academy where he began to develop as an elite player.

Determination, rigour, commitment: all words that apply in equal and great measure to Kimpembe, whose devotion to his beloved club was there for all to see in the tackle he put in on Burak Yilmaz against Lille, a challenge that saved a goal but cost him time in the treatment room with a thigh injury.

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And so to 2022. The France international has grown as  a man and as a footballer, unifying qualities that have helped bring the squad together. He's now one of the most experienced players at the club with only Marquinhos (340 matches), Angel Di Maria (277) and Marco Verratti (356) having made more appearances.

From Lens in 2015 to Lens in 2021, 200 matches have come and gone, and Kimpembe's strength of character and of body have been a major factor in Paris Saint-Germain becoming a force to be reckoned with.


Presko is the tenth player to come from the youth academy to reach this milestone after Jean-Marc Pilorget (435 matches), Eric Renaut (290 matches), Luis Fernandez (273 matches), Jean-Claude Lemoult (266 matches), Franck Tanasi (254 matches), Clément Chantôme (249 matches), Francis Llacer (248 matches), Adrien Rabiot (227 matches) and Mamadou Sakho (201 matches).