Rabbi Matondo’s former Cercle Brugge boss believes the Rangers winger has the potential of a £15 million player while likening his searing pace to that of former Arsenal superstar Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. 

With Rangers already 3-1 down and crashing out of the Champions League at the play-off phase, it probably would have ended up as little more than a brief consolation.

But, as Rabbi Matondo slammed his foot down onto the accelerator, revved the engine and burned past three PSV defenders before clipping the outside of the post, one of the finest individual goals in recent memory would at least have given the travelling support something to warm their hearts on the flight back to Glasgow. 

UEFA Champions League Play-offs, 2nd legPSV Eindhoven v Rangers FC
Photo by ANP via Getty Images

That dazzling run – making pretzels out of the PSV backline – provided a tantalising glimpse into the potential Matondo undoubtedly possesses, but has demonstrated far too infrequently during a difficult Rangers career. 

This, coupled with that superb spell at Cercle Brugge (10 goals in 27 games in 2021/22), remains proof of what the former Manchester City youngster is capable of, if given the freedom and the ‘confidence’ of a head coach willing to take the rough with the smooth. 

Rabbi Matondo may still have a big Rangers future

“He needs to play in an environment where he feels comfortable,” Miron Muslic tells Rangers Review. “With his weapon of pace, it’s a ******* nightmare for centre-backs. If you have Rabbi Matondo with confidence on the pitch, that for me is a Premier League profile (player). 

“Imagine you have a lead and put him on for the last 15 or 20 minutes, with one action he can kill teams. As a football player, he has a major weapon; his pace. That is a game changer. This guy is so fast.

“We measured him once here over 38 metres and I think he was one of the fastest strikers in Europe. Close to Aubameyang.”

Matondo shone as a left-winger in Belgium but struggled on the opposite flank during his debut campaign at Ibrox. It is no coincidence that, since being shifted back to the left by Mick Beale, the jet-heeled Wales international is showing signs of belatedly justifying his £3 million price-tag. 

‘The Thierry Henry finish’

“To be fair he’s also very smooth with the ball. He’s perfectly able to play in the pockets and between the lines, receiving between the defence and midfield,” adds Muslic, insisting that Matondo’s is most effective when deployed in the ‘left-half space’.

“He is at his most comfortable cutting inside and has a very good finish on the inside of his right foot that we worked on at Cercle. I called it the Thierry Henry finish; finding the far pocket instead of aiming for the top corner.”

“For me (in one game in 2021/22), he demonstrated a profile worth £10 to 15 million.” 

Matondo has just one goal and one assist in six games for Rangers this season. But that fine finish in the first leg against PSV – and his rampaging solo run in the second – provides more than enough reason to keep the faith.

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