I CONTINUE

LEARNING 

EVERY DAY

I CONTINUE LEARNING EVERY DAY

When I first entered the pro team’s locker room about three years ago, I didn’t know where to seat; there were a lot of senior players at the club, I was embarrassed. Steve Mandanda, Romao, Lass (Diarra), Nicolas Nkoulou… I was a little lost.I was in the middle of the room, waiting. Finally it Rolando told me to sit at his place. So I did. And every time I was called to train with them, I picked the same spot.
I stayed rather with the younger players like Max (Lopez) ou Seyni (Alphousseyni Sané), but as they had assigned lockers yet either, they also found it hard to find their place.
Today, I sit at the entrance of the locker room. On my left: Max. And on his left: captain Dimitri Payet . I could choose where to sit this time, so I sat next to Max because we are very close. We played together in youth (U19), we’ve known each other for a while.
From now on I am more at ease, I took my marks. I’m kidding with everyone, everyone is joking with me, I feel very good. It is paradoxical because, if in the locker room I am the equal of the others, on the ground, I am still the “young one”. But that’s perfectly normal.

When I first entered the pro team’s locker room about three years ago, I didn’t know where to seat; there were a lot of senior players at the club, I was embarrassed. Steve Mandanda, Romao, Lass (Diarra), Nicolas Nkoulou… I was a little lost.I was in the middle of the room, waiting. Finally it Rolando told me to sit at his place. So I did. And every time I was called to train with them, I picked the same spot.
I stayed rather with the younger players like Max (Lopez) ou Seyni (Alphousseyni Sané), but as they had assigned lockers yet either, they also found it hard to find their place.
Today, I sit at the entrance of the locker room. On my left: Max. And on his left: captain Dimitri Payet . I could choose where to sit this time, so I sat next to Max because we are very close. We played together in youth (U19), we’ve known each other for a while.
From now on I am more at ease, I took my marks. I’m kidding with everyone, everyone is joking with me, I feel very good. It is paradoxical because, if in the locker room I am the equal of the others, on the ground, I am still the “young one”. But that’s perfectly normal.

LOCKERS ROOM RULES THAT ARE ESSENTIAL

For example, when we train passing the ball in training, the young people go in the middle defend. It is the same when it is necessary to move the goals for a game or to pick up and put away the equipment.

For me, it’s natural, we’re not going to ask Rolando who is at the end of his career, Morgan or Steve, to go get the balls. They too, at the beginning of their career, have been there, as will be the case for young people who will arrive next at a pro’ level. It is like that with the physio: the older players have priority on the best appointment times, whereas the younger ones, are just so lucky if there is time for a massage. The day before matches for example, young players like me go after the older ones. These cloakroom rules are essential. It’s special for me today, I play with guys who have huge careers, who have played very high level games.

Players like Adil (Rami), Kevin (Strootman), Flo (Thauvin), Dim (Payet), Rolando, Valère (Germain). I learn every day.
This allows me to gain confidence in my football, to play more liberated. They force me to communicate, to talk to them, even to shout at them! At the Orange Vélodrome, it’s hard to be heard with all this noise, but I try to do it.

It is true that off the pitch I’m not very talkative but in a match, I have no choice. It’s in the interest of the team. I remember just a few weeks ago, at the Orange Velodrome, I shouted at Lucas (Ocampos) during the match against Caen (2-0) because he was not putting enough pressure on his marked player and it was putting us at risk. I yelled at him: “Lucas? Get to him faster!”

For example, when we train passing the ball in training, the young people go in the middle defend. It is the same when it is necessary to move the goals for a game or to pick up and put away the equipment.

For me, it’s natural, we’re not going to ask Rolando who is at the end of his career, Morgan or Steve, to go get the balls. They too, at the beginning of their career, have been there, as will be the case for young people who will arrive next at a pro’ level. It is like that with the physio: the older players have priority on the best appointment times, whereas the younger ones, are just so lucky if there is time for a massage. The day before matches for example, young players like me go after the older ones. These cloakroom rules are essential.

It’s special for me today, I play with guys who have huge careers, who have played very high level games. Players like Adil [Rami], Kevin [Strootman], Flo [Thauvin], Dim [Payet], Rolando, Valère [Germain]. I learn every day. This allows me to gain confidence in my football, to play more liberated. They force me to communicate, to talk to them, even to shout at them! At the Orange Vélodrome, it’s hard to be heard with all this noise, but I try to do it.

It is true that off the pitch I’m not very talkative but in a match, I have no choice. It’s in the interest of the team. I remember just a few weeks ago, at the Orange Velodrome, I shouted at Lucas (Ocampos) during the match against Caen (2-0) because he was not putting enough pressure on his marked player and it was putting us at risk. I yelled at him: “Lucas? Get to him faster!”

WE ARE LIKE THAT IN THE GROUP. NO B.S. WE CAN SAY EVERYTHING, LOOKING AT EACH OTHER IN THE EYES!

WE ARE LIKE THAT IN THE GROUP. NO B.S. WE CAN SAY EVERYTHING, LOOKING AT EACH OTHER IN THE EYES!

I also remember shouting at Valère (Germain) even if it was not really his fault. It was in Lyon, we were nine players since Clinton (Njie) got injured. I was tired that they were making us run so much. And again, I yelled at him to come to his opponent, but unfortunately he couldn’t hear me.We are like that in the group. We can say everything. Just straight talk. We all listen to each other. Sometimes we even apologize.

I’m improving every day and getting more mature, because it is so demanding. On the pitch during a match, of course, but for just about everything. When I’m not going to exercise, I’m told off, when I don’t go to have a cold bath, they remind me. When I make a bad pass, they shout at me …

Interacting with such players every day makes be better. Coming from the Academy to the pro’ team is such a journey, it’s much less forgiving. I’m reminded daily that I have to pay attention to every aspect of my career: my lifestyle, my diet, my recovery, my preparation… This is how I’m building myself, little by little. They tell me “watch this, watch that…

I realize that these are all the necessary commitments that will allow me to have a great career. It’s not just about the game of football, it’s about so much more.
Among the senior players, Dimitri Payet makes a lot of fun about me. We appreciate a lot each other, but inside the stadium on game day, the fun is over. No more time for jokes. That’s how he is. 

I also remember shouting at Valère (Germain) even if it was not really his fault. It was in Lyon, we were nine players since Clinton (Njie) got injured. I was tired that they were making us run so much. And again, I yelled at him to come to his opponent, but unfortunately he couldn’t hear me.We are like that in the group. We can say everything. Just straight talk. We all listen to each other. Sometimes we even apologize.

I’m improving every day and getting more mature, because it is so demanding. On the pitch during a match, of course, but for just about everything. When I’m not going to exercise, I’m told off, when I don’t go to have a cold bath, they remind me. When I make a bad pass, they shout at me …

Interacting with such players every day makes be better. Coming from the Academy to the pro’ team is such a journey, it’s much less forgiving. I’m reminded daily that I have to pay attention to every aspect of my career: my lifestyle, my diet, my recovery, my preparation… This is how I’m building myself, little by little. They tell me “watch this, watch that…

I realize that these are all the necessary commitments that will allow me to have a great career. It’s not just about the game of football, it’s about so much more.
Among the senior players, Dimitri Payet makes a lot of fun about me. We appreciate a lot each other, but inside the stadium on game day, the fun is over. No more time for jokes. That’s how he is. 

WATCH THIS, WATCH THAT…

WATCH THIS, WATCH THAT…

It’s similar with Adil (Rami). Always the first to joke around, but during the match, he can’t me more serious. We mustn’t concede a goal. Suffer first, play well after. They are all, in their own way, expecting a lot from me. But from everyone else in the group too.

I joined the pro’ group about three years ago, during the summer camp in 2015. As it’s tradition with the team, I had to go through an induction test: suddenly, I heard cutlery on the glasses, I got up and chose to sing a song by (French artist from Marseille) Jul, I think. The other players didn’t make too much fun of me, because Rémy Cabella likes the singer. 

Then I got to play several times in official matches. The first time against Bordeaux (on October 29, 2016), but I was starting on the bench, as it’s often the case with new, young players. This allowed me to learn, to gain experience, to be part of the group during the last hours before a match, up until the manager gave me my chance to play in an official match. It was in December 2016, I had just turned 17 [on November 23rd], in a League Cup away match to Sochaux. We were at the hotel. I was hoping I would be at least on the bench, since Hiroki , Tomas [Hubocan], Rolando, Doria were there already… And finally, Rudi Garcia told me I would start on the right wing. I was happy but I was very nervous. No particular pressure, no stress. Simply a form of fear of the professional world, the environment, the cameras, the atmosphere… so many feelings that faded away in a matter of minutes as I started to play. I knew I had the abilities to follow the instructions from the coach, but since it was my very first time, I couldn’t compare it with anything else I’d done before.

However, as I was playing on the right, the manager was close and was speaking to me constantly to reassure me, to help me gain confidence. I could feel he was with me at all the time. On my left, Rolando was also guiding me. So much experience shining through him. I keep some great memories from this match even though we ultimately lost. Regardless, that night I realized that I really wanted to make it at OM. I could not wait for the next match.

It’s similar with Adil (Rami). Always the first to joke around, but during the match, he can’t me more serious. We mustn’t concede a goal. Suffer first, play well after. They are all, in their own way, expecting a lot from me. But from everyone else in the group too.

I joined the pro’ group about three years ago, during the summer camp in 2015. As it’s tradition with the team, I had to go through an induction test: suddenly, I heard cutlery on the glasses, I got up and chose to sing a song by (French artist from Marseille) Jul, I think. The other players didn’t make too much fun of me, because Rémy Cabella likes the singer. 

Then I got to play several times in official matches. The first time against Bordeaux (on October 29, 2016), but I was starting on the bench, as it’s often the case with new, young players. This allowed me to learn, to gain experience, to be part of the group during the last hours before a match, up until the manager gave me my chance to play in an official match. It was in December 2016, I had just turned 17 [on November 23rd], in a League Cup away match to Sochaux. We were at the hotel. I was hoping I would be at least on the bench, since Hiroki , Tomas [Hubocan], Rolando, Doria were there already… And finally, Rudi Garcia told me I would start on the right wing. I was happy but I was very nervous. No particular pressure, no stress. Simply a form of fear of the professional world, the environment, the cameras, the atmosphere… so many feelings that faded away in a matter of minutes as I started to play. I knew I had the abilities to follow the instructions from the coach, but since it was my very first time, I couldn’t compare it with anything else I’d done before.

However, as I was playing on the right, the manager was close and was speaking to me constantly to reassure me, to help me gain confidence. I could feel he was with me at all the time. On my left, Rolando was also guiding me. So much experience shining through him. I keep some great memories from this match even though we ultimately lost. Regardless, that night I realized that I really wanted to make it at OM. I could not wait for the next match.

WHEN FACING THE BEST, I CAN ONLY GET BETTER…

WHEN FACING THE BEST, I CAN ONLY GET BETTER…

I have excellent relations with our manager Rudi Garcia. He doesn’t single out any player in particular, for him the group prevails. He treats me like a player equal of the others, no more no less. I listen carefully and I put into practice every advice he can give me. We talk from time to time and I always learn something useful. This is also the case with all the management staff, even if I work a bit more with ‘Jobi’ [Stéphane Jobard] who has arrived this season to OM. As he used to play central defender, I do a lot of sessions with him. We work on how I move on the pitch, my position. Sometimes he comes to me, some other times I will come to him for advise.

I may admire them when I see them on TV, but if I have to face them, they’re just like any other player: whether I’m against Falcao, Fekir , MBappé , or Neymar… I will defend the same way. They are just opponents. For me, they may be playing in National 2 or coming straight off the World Cup, I must do the same job, and focus the same way.
It’s not because I’m facing Mbappé, Neymar or any other player of that caliber, that I’ll freeze… It’s actually even better to face this kind of top players, because it is certainly against the best forwards that I will be able to improve.

I have excellent relations with our manager Rudi Garcia. He doesn’t single out any player in particular, for him the group prevails. He treats me like a player equal of the others, no more no less. I listen carefully and I put into practice every advice he can give me. We talk from time to time and I always learn something useful. This is also the case with all the management staff, even if I work a bit more with ‘Jobi’ (Stéphane Jobard) who has arrived this season to OM. As he used to play central defender, I do a lot of sessions with him. We work on how I move on the pitch, my position. Sometimes he comes to me, some other times I will come to him for advise.

I may admire them when I see them on TV, but if I have to face them, they’re just like any other player: whether I’m against Falcao, Fekir , MBappé , or Neymar… I will defend the same way. They are just opponents. For me, they may be playing in National 2 or coming straight off the World Cup, I must do the same job, and focus the same way.
It’s not because I’m facing Mbappé, Neymar or any other player of that caliber, that I’ll freeze… It’s actually even better to face this kind of top players, because it is certainly against the best forwards that I will be able to improve.

3rd

youngest olympien to play 15 matches in Ligue 1

90%

successful pass rate this season

17

youngest olympien to start in Europe

I remember, for example, when Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos was face-to-face with Barcelona’s Ronaldinho: he often looked powerless, but that does not mean that he has not become one of the best, if not the best defender in the world.

He is a model. He is a calm defender, with a great technique, with a good goal-scoring flair. He’s the boss on the pitch. I know I still have a lot to learn, but he inspires me to improve and reach his level. He is aggressive, brave and knows how to impose himself. Like how Ramos puts pressure on his opponents, I try to show the forwards that I will be coming strong in duels, from the very first to the very last second of the match. I’m not as big and tall as Adil (Rami) or Rolando, but like Ramos, I make my rivals understand that, with my own attributes and abilities, that I will keep on fighting against them.

I remember, for example, when Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos was face-to-face with Barcelona’s Ronaldinho: he often looked powerless, but that does not mean that he has not become one of the best, if not the best defender in the world.

He is a model. He is a calm defender, with a great technique, with a good goal-scoring flair. He’s the boss on the pitch. I know I still have a lot to learn, but he inspires me to improve and reach his level. He is aggressive, brave and knows how to impose himself. Like how Ramos puts pressure on his opponents, I try to show the forwards that I will be coming strong in duels, from the very first to the very last second of the match. I’m not as big and tall as Adil (Rami) or Rolando, but like Ramos, I make my rivals understand that, with my own attributes and abilities, that I will keep on fighting against them.

Sometimes I see myself in Rolando…

 

Sometimes I see myself in Rolando…

 

I feel good as a central defender. I’ve played this position since I was a kid. I prefer to have the game in front of me, to stop attacks, fake passes, kick long balls, get the ball back…

When I play with Luiz (Gustavo) for example, I play on the right, which allows me to start from the back on my foot right. If I play with Adil (Rami), on the other hand, I find myself in a leadership role: I will play the first ball to start from the back, and will come forward to put pressure on our opponents in midfield. With Rolando, it’s similar to when I play with Luiz.

I like to clear the ball, eliminate two or three opponents on a good pass. Of course I prefer to control the ball rather that kick it in touch. I also love anticipating, reading the game. For that, being a central defender makes it easier.

In terms of style, I feel very close to Rolando. He’s got great abilities and can play with both feet. He is not very fast but he moves really well, and he knows best how to anticipate and read the game.
At times, in training, I see myself in him. I watch him when he comes to intercept the ball. He is very good technically and is great with his head in offensive and defensive phases. At OM, he’s the player who inspires me the most. He gives me a lot of advice.
Il me donne beaucoup de conseils.

I have always had the number 4. I took advantage of Karim (Rekik)’s departure to get it back. It is a symbol for me because I’ve always had this number in the development squads. If it couldn’t have been number 4, I would have picked number 23, which is my birthday.

I feel good as a central defender. I’ve played this position since I was a kid. I prefer to have the game in front of me, to stop attacks, fake passes, kick long balls, get the ball back…

When I play with Luiz (Gustavo) for example, I play on the right, which allows me to start from the back on my foot right. If I play with Adil (Rami), on the other hand, I find myself in a leadership role: I will play the first ball to start from the back, and will come forward to put pressure on our opponents in midfield. With Rolando, it’s similar to when I play with Luiz.

I like to clear the ball, eliminate two or three opponents on a good pass. Of course I prefer to control the ball rather that kick it in touch. I also love anticipating, reading the game. For that, being a central defender makes it easier.

In terms of style, I feel very close to Rolando. He’s got great abilities and can play with both feet. He is not very fast but he moves really well, and he knows best how to anticipate and read the game.
At times, in training, I see myself in him. I watch him when he comes to intercept the ball. He is very good technically and is great with his head in offensive and defensive phases. At OM, he’s the player who inspires me the most. He gives me a lot of advice.
Il me donne beaucoup de conseils.

I have always had the number 4. I took advantage of Karim (Rekik)’s departure to get it back. It is a symbol for me because I’ve always had this number in the development squads. If it couldn’t have been number 4, I would have picked number 23, which is my birthday.

Boubacar KAMARA

Boubacar KAMARA

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