Early Doors

Er, is that a five-year-old playing in the France v Belgium match?

Early Doors

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Photo: Reuters

France's 0-0 draw with Belgium yielded little in the way of action highlights, but a tremendous photograph from the fixture has gone viral online.

At first glance it looks as though Les Bleus used the international friendly as chance for one lucky child, or perhaps an athletically-talented dwarf, to don the national kit and take to the pitch alongside his heroes.

Closer inspection reveals that the vertically-challenged individual in question is not a schoolboy but actually Mathieu Valbuena, aged 28 and three quarters.

Valbuena is an attacking midfielder at Marseille who has been linked with a move to Premier League side Newcastle this summer.

There are no sneaky edits or Photoshop tricks at play here - simply Valbuena's already-diminutive stature at 5'6" tall whilst stood next to 6'3" Vincent Kompany and 6'5" Marouane Fellaini, combined with a fortuitous camera angle as the playmaker leans back during a pass.

Still, it makes for a tremendous visual. And if he were to switch to a Premier League side, he and Manchester City skipper Kompany or imminent Manchester United signing Fellaini may get a chance to improve upon it, with the help of another top photographer and a generous dollop of luck.

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