To score on your Premier League debut for one of England’s most historic football clubs is a dream many football fans across the world have.
For Rudy Gestede, Aston Villa’s new £6m signing, the dream has became reality as he guided Tim Sherwood’s Villa to their first win of the season thanks to a bullet header of a goal against Bournemouth to announce himself on the world stage.
Born in Essey-les-Nancy, the striker made his name within the French leagues before making the move across the British Channel. At only 17, he signed professional terms with Metz B. Less than two years later, the attacker, who at the time had already made his debut for the French Under-19s, was ushered into play for the Ligue 1 side’s first team.
Appearances though were few and far between for Gestede, so there was no surprise that a loan move would be on the cards – Cannes the destination for the young striker. Here he would storm through the first team as he impressed from early on; he also impressed certain English clubs including Cardiff City, who just over a year later, called him for a trial in South Wales.
Under the guidance of Malky Mackay at Cardiff, he thrived and made an early impact by setting up the winner at the famous Boleyn Ground for the Bluebirds in their first game of the 2011-2012 season. Cup glory would be the way to sum up the South Wales’ side season and the Benin international played a key feature within the League Cup run including scoring against Leicester City in the early rounds to take the tie to penalties. He would later miss one of the spot-kicks which sent the League Cup of 2012 into the Anfield trophy cabinet, rather than the one at the Cardiff City Stadium.
If the 2011-12 season was one of domestic cup triumph, the season later would be one to remember for promotion to the Premier League. Gestede missed the start of the season through an injury picked up in pre-season, however when he returned he looked as sharp as ever. His five goals earnt the team their first season in the premier league; it earnt him a Championship winners’ medal and the opportunity to play against some of the world’s elite.
Things, however, would not go to plan for Gestede. Despite making three appearances in the big time – including a trip to Stamford Bridge – he would not feature as regularly as he would have hoped. Perhaps a move to the Championship would help him bring back his confidence – and that is exactly what he did.
Ewood Park the destination. Gary Bowyer’s Blackburn Rovers the team. Here he would prosper into the player he is today. His role; to play off star striker Jordan Rhodes. But as he was a striker, his first goal came rather quickly. New Year’s day 2014 will be a day Gestede won’t forget a for a long time. His first goal for the club he fell in love with, as well as also signing permanently for the 1995 Premier League champions.
Ever since that day, he shone for the Ewood Park faithful. Therefore there was no question that sooner or later this star man would get his chance to play within the English top-flight on frequent occasions. It came this summer. Tim Sherwood was the man who offered him the dream. A £6m move which may change his career and show the world the ability of Rudy Gestede.