15 fun facts about Allan Saint-Maximin
Allan Saint-Maximin is a French professional footballer who currently plays as a winger for Newcastle United in the Premier League. He was born on March 12, 1997, in Châtenay-Malabry, France.
Saint-Maximin began his football career at the age of six with local club Les Ulis. He then joined the youth ranks at Saint-Etienne in 2013, where he developed his skills and caught the attention of scouts from across Europe. After making just one first-team appearance for the French outfit, he was snapped up by Monaco in 2015.
However, they loaned him out immediately to gain regular first-team football, first to Hannover 96 for whom he featured in 18 games, scoring once, in a relegation campaign. Then on to then-Ligue 1 outfit SC Bastia, where he made 36 appearances and scored three times but they were relegated anyway.
He returned to Monaco, who had just won the league title, so regular minutes were difficult to come by, and he only played two games before being sold to OGC Nice.
Here he played under Lucien Favre for a season, and then Patrick Vieira, finishing seventh and eighth.
His speed and direct play attracted Newcastle, and they bought him for a reported fee of £16.5m in August 2019.
The 26-year-old has made a strong impression at St. James' Park, quickly becoming a fan favourite thanks to his fearless dribbling and natural flair. He went on to make 26 appearances in his debut season, scoring three goals and providing four assists.
Since then, he continued to be a key player for the club, helping the Magpies stave off relegation in the last two seasons before playing a vital role in their climb up the table in recent times as Eddie Howe's men recently reached their first cup final in 22 years and remain in contention for a place in the Champions League this season.
What are the 15 things you absolutely need to know about the Newcastle trickster?
Street football running in his veins!
Neither of Saint-Maximin's parents were involved in the game. He was raised in a reasonably affluent family, and didn't have financial troubles in his formative years. His mother was the director of education at a renowned school in the Paris outskirts. Meanwhile, his father worked as an office administrator at Paris Diderot University.
Athletics arrived first among all sporting alternatives for the youngster, thanks to his innate passion for running and explosive activities. Later, he transferred his athletic abilities to football and started playing alongside his elder brother, Kurtys, who at the time aspired to be a footballer.
He used to play with boys his brother's age, and developed a reputation in street football.
The largely uncoached freestyler was luckily offered trials with Verrieres-le-Buisson, from where his professional journey began.
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Friends with Hatem Ben Arfa 🤝
It’s easy to see the similarities between Saint-Maximin and Hatem Ben Arfa. They’re both French, terrific dribblers, a nightmare for defenders and fan favourites at St James’ Park.
When Ben Arfa was at his best, he was unstoppable. His time in the North-East ended on a sour note, but Newcastle streets will never forget him, or his spectacular solo goals.
Indeed, the French duo happen to be friends. What's more, before joining Newcastle, Saint-Maximin rang his compatriot for advice.
“I remember Hatem Ben Arfa played here,” he told the Telegraph. “He told me to sign. He is a good friend, we grew up in the same area. He had some of his best days at Newcastle and wished he had stayed longer."
Saint-Maximin has acknowledged Ben Arfa is a player he looks up to for the latter's dribbling ability.
“For dribbling, I love Hatem so much,” said Saint-Maximin. “I love a lot of players, but, for me, it’s Ben Arfa. He scored a lot of good goals.
"He had an injury one time, and maybe this was a bit difficult for him, but everybody knows he’s a great player.”
Could've signed for Arsenal 🖋️
What if we told you that Saint-Maximin could easily have been plying his trade for Arsenal had things turned out differently for him in the past?
The Gunners have been one of the most consistent suitors of the Frenchman, who grew up idolising Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. However, for his development, regular gametime was of paramount importance, as he turned down interest from the north London club not once, but twice.
First was when he left Monaco to join Nice. There were also reports in the media that Saint-Maximin had been a transfer target for Arsenal during the summer of 2019. However, the French winger ultimately opted to sign for Newcastle, who were ready to give him a prominent role in their project moving forwards.
He's absolutely loving life in the North-East, and is well-adored by a passionate set of supporters, with the club back on the rise since the Saudi-led takeover.
Gives back to Newcastle community
From his appearance and fashion focus, one may assume he's a flashy and egoist personality, but you'd be wrong. Saint-Maximin is a smart and humble guy who knows what he's doing, which is putting others before himself.
He arrived at Tyneside with reports stating he's a spectacular talent, but with a bad attitude. However, the Magpies faithful have discovered it to be otherwise.
His parents and teachers instilled in him all of the principles of generosity he needed to stay grounded despite his riches. From being a regular contributor of the NUFC Foodbank to making significant donations during COVID-19 to taking 100s of young Newcastle fans to a toy shop and buying them a toy of their wish, he gives a lot back to the Newcastle community.
Needless to say, he shares a special relationship with Toon faithful, and is hero-worshipped by many of them.
Gifted Newcastle fan Rolex watch worth thousands ⌚
This is a story from the opening day of the current Premier League season. Saint-Maximin produced a blistering display in the win against Nottingham Forest as he mesmerised the newly-promoted outfit's back line. However, it was after the match where he left a Toon supporter even more astonished.
Upon leaving the stadium, the Frenchman pulled out a shining Rolex watch and handed it to a stunned Newcastle fan. It was an absolutely magnificent gift, and the lucky supporter, Steve Dutton, could not believe his eyes following the generous act.
Steve said on social media: "I was the person who was gifted the watch from ASM, I was totally speechless.
"I thought he was coming to sign autographs and have pictures taken with the kids. I’m still in shock, I can’t thank @asaintmaximin enough."
It really is quite remarkable wholesome moment, especially in this modern era where football stars possess monster egos and cannot be more detached from the fanbase. Saint-Maximin is different, and truly the man of the people.
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It is hard to think about a player who had more fun at the highest level, and put more smiles on people's faces with his flashy skills and dazzling dribbles, than Ronaldinho.
Saint-Maximin, who is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining players to watch in the Premier League, has often been compared to Brazilian legend Ronaldinho for his flamboyant style of play. Both players are known for their exceptional dribbling skills, creativity, showboating, and flair on the ball.
They also have almost identical off-field interests, such as dance, music, fashion, and unorthodox hairstyles, though the Frenchman has never been infamously caught out partying...yet.
His ability to beat defenders with ease and create chances for his teammates even earned him the nickname 'the French Ronaldinho' among some fans and pundits during his days in Ligue 1.
Iconic goal celebrations and dance moves 🕺
It's easy to forget that football, at its core, is something to be enjoyed. Anyone may become lost in the muck that football has become due to commercialisation and big money involved, but certain players are capable of reminding fans why they love the game.
Saint-Maximin is one such player thanks to his artistry, which made him a source of pure joy, and a brief agent of escapism for Newcastle fans during their dark days under the previous ownership.
He's also got some moves. From back-flipping to various dance celebration to literally performing a stepover dance on the pitch in a professional game against Crystal Palace, he's a genuine entertainer who should be treasured.
'Saint-Maximin on the wing' 🎵
Is there anything quite like the creativity of football fans?
Taking absolute banging tunes, reconstructing them to fit the theme of their own club, and then subsequently shoving the product in the stadium to support their players week after week. Newcastle are among the best in the country.
The club's unwavering fanbase is beyond loud when it wants to be, and one such die-hard Toon fan, Mick Ceason, created a catchy song for Saint-Maximin, who admires the composer's glowing talents.
You can check out the full song here!
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Over the years, there have been several examples of players being extremely in love with their looks, particularly their hair. These are the ways they express themselves and stand out from the crowd.
Saint-Maximin is no different. He has often been spotted posting haircuts, changing hairstyles from time to time and always going for fresh looks, flashy outfits, and accessories on and off the pitch.
There's no doubt that he is aware of his good looks and how best to carry them off.
However, Saint-Maximin has not let the hair get in the way of his superb playing as he's donned his designer headband to keep his dreadlocks in place.
A fan of Karate Kid 🥋
Saint-Maximin is a big fan of the Karate Kid movie. In an interview with GOAL, he shared his love for the famous movie, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, while the footballer also revealed that it was the inspiration behind his fancy headbands, and dreadlocks.
He told GOAL: “I'm not particularly trying to stand out.
“The headband, for example, I've always liked Karate Kid, tennis players, but also manga. In the world of manga [Japanese comics and novels], there are mythical characters who wear headbands. In tennis, [Rafa] Nadal and [Roger] Federer also wear them. Karate Kid too.
“Obviously, wearing a headband while being bald is not the best look. That's what also made me want to find a haircut that could go with my headbands.”
Aside from the Karate Kid, the Newcastle forward is also a big admirer of Japanese anime series, and manga, including a certain Dragon Ball Z, which he mentioned in other interviews.
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The headband problem?
The French winger's fashionista outlook on life meant he developed an early fondness for headbands from his childhood itself, which he has maintained until recently. Ever since arriving in England, he's grabbed plenty of attention - and not just because of his sensational performances.
He was forced to cover up his famous Gucci headband during games because the attacker broke strict dress code Premier League rules, which state the headband wore by the player should match the kit colour and funky headbands like the ones Saint-Maximin used to wear, be they Louis Vuitton or Gucci are big no-nos.
The 26-year-old ditched the headbands and dreadlocks altogether for a fresh look at the start of the season, which caused quite the stir on social media. While the dreadlocks are back lately, Toon fans and neutrals alike are still waiting for the return of ASM's iconic head gear.
Launched his own board game called 'Helios' based on Greek gods
Saint-Maximin keeps himself occupied outside of football, and launched his very own board game. The Frenchman was captivated by the gods and the Greek mythological legends throughout his boyhood.
Zeus and his siblings Hades and Poseidon, as well as Athena, Ares, and Apollo all remain a fascination to Saint-Maximin. So much so, that he has created a new card game in tribute to them dubbed it 'Helios', a term named after the sun god.
The idea came after he fell in love with board games with his young family. It took him two and a half years to build Helios from scratch, and the game is a big hit amongst his Newcastle teammates.
In late 2022, the Newcastle United star announced a digital version of his board game, which is live on the Apple App store and Google Play.
Read more about the game tactics and inspiration from the man himself in an interview with GOAL!
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A dribble king! 👑
Saint-Maximin is the best dribbler in Europe...and we have stats to back our claim up, as he topped the charts for the most take-ons completed in Europe’s top-five leagues over the course of the calendar year 2022, pipping a star-studded list which includes Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Vinicius Junior.
His balance, and close control in tight spaces, combined with his short, frequent touches and feints with the ball mean that he can easily change direction while in possession, making him an unpredictable and menacing force for opposition defenders to stop.
Expressing himself in a distinctive way with his dribbles and pace doesn't just come from academy football, the crown jewel of the Newcastle United once explained his uniqueness by saying: “Since I was little, whether at futsal, at five, at home between the furniture, I have always dribbled. I was going everywhere with my ball and my goal was always to dribble.
“I've always liked Brazilian players a lot, whether it's Robinho or Ronaldinho. There are also very classy French players like Zidane. They inspired me and made me want to dribble.
“When you start football at four years old and you train for 10 or 15 years to make cross passes, to work the left foot or the right foot, you inevitably manage to have qualities and to get by with the ball, but knowing how to dribble past opponents very well is not given to everyone.
"That's why a Zidane, in the France team, we didn't have 50 of them.”
Training ground fines💰
Apparently Saint-Maximin was regularly fined by the club for wearing earrings and jewellery to the training ground, or occasionally arriving late for a meeting at times in his early Newcastle days. However, when you’re banking approximately £300k every month, a £100 fine doesn’t really scratch the surface, does it?
Former Newcastle boss Steve Bruce admitted he lost count of how many times he had fined the Frenchman. Luckily for Saint-Maximin, his ex-teammate Jetro Willems was there to help him out by paying his dues.
Willems, who arrived at Newcastle in the same transfer window as Saint-Maximin but had his loan stint cut-short due to an unfortunate injury, revealed to ChronicleLive: "He always spun it and I always had to pay for him. The result was always that the player next to him had to pay.
"That was the funny thing because I didn't get any fines."
Fitness Freak 💪🏋🏻
Saint-Maximin is of course a professional at the highest level with a muscular build to maintain. However, he is also a true family fan who loves spending time at home.
Saint-Maximin has a full-fledged gym setup in his house, and also gets children involved in the exercises, which is a unique workout strategy that he uses to stay in shape for those explosive runs forward.