Mario Lemina

Mario Lemina
Lemina training with Lorient in 2013
Personal information
Full name Mario René Junior Lemina
Date of birth (1993-09-01) 1 September 1993
Place of birth Libreville, Gabon
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Position(s) Defensive midfielder
Team information
Current team Wolverhampton Wanderers
Number 5
Youth career
2000–2004 ES Nanterre
2004–2006 FC Rueil-Malmaison 92
2006–2009 AF Garenne-Colombes
2009–2013 Lorient
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2010–2013 Lorient II 31 (0)
2012–2013 Lorient 14 (0)
2013–2015 Marseille II 4 (1)
2013–2015 Marseille 41 (2)
2015–2017 Juventus 29 (3)
2017–2021 Southampton 46 (2)
2019–2020Galatasaray (loan) 20 (0)
2020–2021Fulham (loan) 28 (1)
2021–2023 Nice 46 (2)
2023– Wolverhampton Wanderers 50 (4)
International career‡
2013 France U20 6 (0)
2013 France U21 1 (0)
2015– Gabon 29 (3)
Medal record
Representing  France
Men's football
FIFA U-20 World Cup
Winner 2013 Turkey
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 23:52, 24 April 2024 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 23:10, 25 March 2024 (UTC)

Mario René Junior Lemina (French pronunciation: ; born 1 September 1993) is a Gabonese professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers and the Gabon national team.

He played for French sides Lorient and Marseille, before joining Italian side Juventus in 2015, where he won the domestic double in both of his seasons with the club, as well as appearing in the 2017 UEFA Champions League final. He joined English side Southampton in 2017, and was later loaned out to Turkish club Galatasaray in 2019. After a loan to Fulham in England, he joined French club Nice in 2021. In January 2023, he returned to England after signing for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

A former French international at youth level, Lemina went on to represent Gabon at senior level, making his senior international debut in 2017. He later represented Gabon at the 2017 and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

He has a younger brother Noha Lemina, who was also born in Libreville and currently plays in the same club with him Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Club career

Early career

Lemina began his youth career in France aged 7 at local club ES Nanterre; he then went to study sports at Rueil-Malmaison, finishing at Colombes. Aged 15, he signed with the Lorient youth academy; he was later promoted to the first team during the 2012–13 season, his only season with the club.

Marseille

Lemina with Marseille in 2013

The following season, Marseille acquired Lemina for €4 million, although he initially struggled to gain playing time in his first year with the club, making only eight league starts during the 2013–14 season. He began to be used more frequently by manager Marcelo Bielsa during the 2014–15 season, making his breakthrough with the club, as he helped the team to a fourth-place finish, earning 23 appearances in the league. In February 2015, Lemina was sent off for a punch to the groin of Ola Toivonen in a 1–1 Ligue 1 away draw against Rennes.

Juventus

During the summer of 2015, Lemina began to attract the attention of several clubs, including Premier League clubs Liverpool, Southampton and West Ham United. On 31 August, however, the last day of the transfer window, Juventus announced the signing of Lemina on a season-long loan for €500,000 with an option to buy for €9.5 million at the end of the 2015–16 season. On 26 September 2015, he scored his first goal for Juventus in his third appearance, coming in the 63rd minute of a 2–1 away loss to Napoli.

On 29 April 2016, Lemina's loan was made permanent; he signed a four-year deal from Marseille for a fee of €9.5 million plus an extra €1 million if performance related targets are met. The deal was scheduled to keep him at Juventus until 2020. On 21 May, Lemina started in the Coppa Italia Final, playing the full match as Juventus defeated AC Milan 1–0 after extra time to capture the domestic double for the second consecutive season.

Southampton

Lemina with Southampton in 2018

On 8 August 2017, Lemina joined Southampton on a five-year deal for a club record fee of £15.4m. He made his debut on 20 August, in a 3–2 victory over West Ham United. His first goal for Southampton came in a 3–2 victory over fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on 3 February.

Loan to Galatasaray

In 2019–20 season, Lemina joined Galatasaray on a loan deal.

Loan to Fulham

On 30 August 2020, Lemina was loaned out to Fulham with an option to buy. He made his debut for the club on 16 September 2020 in the second round of the EFL Cup against Ipswich Town, which Fulham won 1–0. On 7 March 2021, Lemina scored his first Fulham goal to seal a 1–0 away win over Liverpool, handing them their sixth consecutive league defeat at Anfield for the first time in the Reds' history. In doing so, Lemina also clinched Fulham's second win at Liverpool in the club's history.

Nice

On 24 July 2021, Lemina joined Nice for an undisclosed fee.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Lemina playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers (March 2024)

On 13 January 2023, Lemina joined Wolverhampton Wanderers for an undisclosed fee on a two and a half year deal. He made his first appearance on 14 January 2023 as a substitute in a home Premier League game against West Ham, a fixture which Wolves won 1–0.

Lemina made his full Wolves debut on 22 January 2023 in a 3–0 loss at Manchester City and then his full home debut on 4 February, helping the hosts to defeat Liverpool, also by a 3–0 scoreline.

On Lemina's fourth appearance for his new side on 11 February, he was sent off in the first-half of Wolves's Premier League game away to his former club, Southampton, for receiving two yellow cards. Wolves went on to win the game 2–1 despite playing for more than an hour with 10-men.

Lemina was sent off for the second time in his Wolves career in a 1–1 draw with Aston Villa at Molineux in the Premier League on 8 October 2023, having again picked up two yellow cards in one game. Upon his return from suspension, Lemina scored his first goal for Wolves in a 2–2 home draw with Newcastle United on 28 October 2023. He scored further goals in home wins against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea on 11 November and 24 December respectively, and then away to Brentford on 27 December.

Lemina scored his first-ever FA Cup goal, the only goal of the game, in a 1–0 Fifth Round home win against Brighton & Hove Albion on 28 February 2024.

International career

Lemina had been called by the Gabon national team to participate in the 2015 African Cup of Nations, but he refused his call-up. Although he had initially represented France's under-20 and under-21 sides, also winning the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup at youth level, he formally switched to the Gabonese Federation on 2 June 2015 and is now a formal member of the Gabon national team.

He scored on his international debut, in a 3–3 friendly draw against Tunisia on 9 October 2015. Lemina took part at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, which was held on home soil. He started in Gabon's opening match of the tournament on 14 January – a 1–1 draw against Guinea-Bissau – but later suffered a back-injury, however, which ruled him out of the remainder of the tournament.

On 17 January 2022, Lemina announced his retirement from the Gabon national team. He had just been released by Gabon following a heart complication due to COVID-19, leaving in the middle of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

On 10 June 2023, Lemina shared an image of him training with the national team to his Instagram account. He then played in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against DR Congo on 18 June 2023, confirming his return to the national team.

Style of play

A strong, powerful, hard-working, and dynamic right-footed midfielder, with good technical skills and solid distribution, Lemina is a box-to-box player who is usually deployed in the centre, due to his ability to start attacking plays after winning back possession. Described as a "classy and tenacious midfielder," due to his tactical versatility, he is capable of playing in several positions, and has been deployed as a winger, as a full-back, or as a wing-back, on the right flank; during his time with Marseille, he also played as centre-back in a three-man defence on occasion, during the 2014–15 season, under manager Marcelo Bielsa. He also been deployed as a playmaker on occasion. Despite his talent, he has also earned a reputation for having a temper and for lacking concentration at times.

Career statistics

Club

As of match played 24 April 2024 Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National cup League cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Lorient II 2010–11 CFA 5 0 5 0
2011–12 CFA 15 0 15 0
2012–13 CFA 11 0 11 0
Total 31 0 31 0
Lorient 2012–13 Ligue 1 10 0 4 0 14 0
2013–14 Ligue 1 4 0 4 0
Total 14 0 4 0 18 0
Marseille II 2013–14 CFA 2 3 0 3 0
2014–15 CFA 2 1 1 1 1
Total 4 1 4 1
Marseille 2013–14 Ligue 1 15 0 1 0 2 0 4 0 22 0
2014–15 Ligue 1 23 2 1 0 1 0 25 2
2015–16 Ligue 1 4 0 4 0
Total 42 2 2 0 3 0 4 0 51 2
Juventus 2015–16 Serie A 10 2 2 0 3 0 15 2
2016–17 Serie A 19 1 2 0 7 0 1 0 29 1
Total 29 3 4 0 10 0 1 0 44 3
Southampton 2017–18 Premier League 25 1 4 0 29 1
2018–19 Premier League 21 1 0 0 2 0 23 1
Total 46 2 4 0 2 0 52 2
Galatasaray (loan) 2019–20 Süper Lig 20 0 4 1 4 0 28 1
Fulham (loan) 2020–21 Premier League 28 1 1 0 1 0 30 1
Nice 2021–22 Ligue 1 32 2 4 0 36 2
2022–23 Ligue 1 14 0 1 0 7 1 22 1
Total 46 2 5 0 7 1 58 3
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2022–23 Premier League 19 0 0 0 19 0
2023–24 Premier League 31 4 4 1 0 0 35 5
Total 50 4 4 1 0 0 54 5
Career total 310 15 28 2 6 0 25 1 1 0 370 18
  1. ^ Includes Coupe de France, Coppa Italia, FA Cup, Turkish Cup
  2. ^ Includes Coupe de la Ligue, EFL Cup
  3. ^ a b c d Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  4. ^ Appearance in Supercoppa Italiana
  5. ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa Conference League

International

As of match played 25 March 2024 Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Gabon 2015 3 1
2016 5 1
2017 4 1
2018 4 0
2019 2 0
2020 0 0
2021 5 0
2022 1 0
2023 3 0
2024 2 0
Total 29 3
Scores and results list Gabon's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Lemina goal. List of international goals scored by Mario Lemina
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 9 October 2015 Stade Olympique de Radès, Radès, Tunisia  Tunisia 2–3 3–3 Friendly
2 15 November 2016 Stade El Menzah, Tunis, Tunisia  Comoros 1–1 1–1 Friendly
3 5 September 2017 Stade Bouaké, Bouaké, Ivory Coast  Ivory Coast 2–0 2–1 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification

Honours

Juventus

Nice

France U20

See also

References

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  38. ^ "CAN. Gabon : Lemina annonce sa retraite internationale sur Instagram... puis retire son message" . Ouest-France (in French). 17 January 2022. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
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  51. ^ "Games played by Mario Lemina in 2020/2021". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  52. ^ "Games played by Mario Lemina in 2021/2022". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
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  54. ^ "Games played by Mario Lemina in 2023/2024". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
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External links

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