Following his magnificent brace against LOSC Lille, Saint-Etienne’s Max Gradel is tied with Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony as the top-scoring Ivorian player in a major European league.
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Both men were absent for a month earlier this year when they travelled to Equatorial Guinea to represent the Cote d’Ivoire at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
The pair were influential as the Elephants went on to lift the continental crown.
While Gradel was one of the tournament’s outstanding players, impressing with his pertinent contributions and superb set-piece delivery, Bony was responsible for seeing the Ivorians advance past Algeria with two goals in a tricky quarter-final.
While Bony has taken his time to break his duck for Manchester City since moving to the Etihad Stadium from Swansea City in January, he finally bagged his first for his new club against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.
That goal took him to ten for the season, a tally equalled by Gradel on Sunday.
The winger was in unstoppable form as he hit two past LOSC Lille and their excellent Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. Since returning from the Afcon, Gradel has been in fine fettle, scoring six since becoming an African champion.
Which of these two Ivorian stars will go be their nation’s top scorer in a major European league this campaign? In his current form, it’s hard to bet against Gradel!