PARIS: Russian midfielder Aleksandr Golovin finally made his impact at Monaco by scoring two superb goals and setting up another to give his side their first win of the Ligue 1 season on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old delivered a man-of-the-match performance in the 3-1 victory against neighbours Nice, justifying his 30-million euro (26.5 million pounds) price tag after being transferred from CSKA Moscow last year.
For coach Leonardo Jardim, back on the Monaco bench in early 2019 less than three months after being sacked, Golovin's breakthrough was expected.
The central midfielder struggled in his first season, but he since taken up more responsibilities as veteran Cesc Fabregas has disappointed since signing in January.
"I'm used to help players improve and Golovin needed that," said Jardim, the man behind the breakthrough of young talents such as Bernardo Silva and Kylian Mbappe.
"He's a very talented player but he had to be polished like a diamond.
"He has improved a lot, notably concentration wise. With him you have to take it step by step."
Golovin's team mates were also expecting the Russian international, who took part in his national team's run to the World Cup quarter-finals last year, to bloom.
"It's a real treat to play with him, he's a super player," said French international striker Wissam Ben Yedder, who scored the third goal on Tuesday after he collected a brilliant through ball from Golovin.
Monaco, who have six points from seven games, will be relying on Golovin again to deliver against Brest at home on Saturday.
"There's nothing surprising about 'Golo', he's a super talented player but we're expecting him at that level again next weekend," said keeper Benjamin Lecomte.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)