Celtic-owned Boli Bolingoli picks up concerning injury; hauled off during Champions League clash

By Euan Davidson

December 3, 2020

Controversial Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo has picked up an injury on Champions League duty.

The left back, currently at İstanbul Başakşehir F.K., was forced off after 35 minutes of his side’s wild 3-4 loss to RB Leipzig last night.

Bolingoli-Mbombo, the cousin of Romelu Lukaku, hobbled off with what looked like a knee injury in the first half. He collided with his own player and attempted to play on for the Turks, but it was no use.

The defender, İstanbul Başakşehir F.K. and Celtic will now all be sweating over the severity of the injury.

Bolingoli, number 63? It has to mean something / (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ever-present in Turkey

While the roving Belgian full-back did little to endear himself to Celtic fans this summer, he’s been ever-present in Turkey. Playing for last season’s champions Başakşehir, he has already made 10 appearances, with 5 coming in the Champions League.

Although his defensive nous is as questionable as ever, he provides an attacking impetus for the Turkish champions. That said, his current team have struggled domestically so far. Last year’s Champions sit 9th in the Turkish Süper Lig after 10 matches.

Supporters were mixed on the Belgian defender / (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group via Getty Images)

Controversial figure

Even before the events that unfolded last Summer, Bolingoli-Mbombo was a controversial figure in Green and White. Although his enterprising runs down the left flank were exciting, they came at great defensive risk.

Critics of his game insisted that he lacked positional awareness, while others loved his movement and creativity.

At times, the pair of Bolingoli and Frimpong looked utterly devastating on either flank. Scottish defences simply couldn’t cope with two athletic full-backs sprinting at them.

He would go on to entirely alienate the Celtic support, however. An ill-advised secret trip to Spain during quarantine (Herald) saw him fined by the club, with his long-term future uncertain.

Celtic have since brought in Diego Laxalt, who has impressed during a torrid spell for the Bhoys.

Bolingoli on a trademark dash / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Something to consider…

If Bolingoli is able to learn from playing elite European football at Başakşehir, and his injury isn’t significant, Celtic could have a decent option on the left next year.

Of course, he needs to work on his relationship with supporters, who were let down by his lockdown antics. In fact, it’s likely he’ll never play for the Bhoys again.

If he did, however, he’d be good foil in the the 4-2-3-1 that worked so well for Celtic last season. His overlapping runs would be able to create space for whoever Celtic have on the left of an attacking 3. His ability to find space and deliver a ball would dictate that he was signed for a reason.

If he was able to improve his concentration and positional play at the back, there’s still a chance he could deliver for Celtic. He’s by no means the finished article, but there’s still a player there.