NEWS | 18/05/2017The French defender was the star of Realmadrid TV's 'Campo de estrellas' program.
“When you see how our stadium gets behind us in a difficult European Cup game, that must be so difficult for our opponents. We've all got more energy and that comes across when we take to the pitch. Winning two Champions Leagues in three years is a historic feat. I'll never get used to winning the Champions League. It's unique. That's the beautiful thing about football, you win one title but you always want more”.
“I used to be scared of playing for a team. I used to play with my brother in the garden and I didn't know what it was to be part of a team. My dad made me do it. I went and I enjoyed the first day so much that from then on, I always wanted to play”.
Lens spot him at 8 years old
“I went for trials and a few weeks later they called me back and said they wanted me. The problem was the distance and it was a real challenge for me. I had to get changed in the car. My parents have always been there to motivate me and help me out. I had my goals very clear and always did everything I could to achieve them. They were the ones who offered me my first professional contract”.
“At 17 years' old I was playing with the club's second team and after five games the coach made me captain, with players around me who were 21 or 22 years' old. I was the youngest, it was a strange feeling. But after seven games the first team coach called me up to train with them”.
The call from Real Madrid
“I was at college and Zizou called but I picked up the phone without really knowing who it was. He spoke to me and told me that it wasn't a joke, that it was really him. I said: 'Who is this?'. And I recognised the voice. I was embarrassed and it was such a surprise that I asked him if he could call back another time because I was busy. You imagine a lot of things, but never Real Madrid. They were so big to me that I never even thought about it. In the end, I decided to come here”.
“I'll always remember the day I arrived at the airport and there were loads of journalists waiting. I was just thinking about going to the club to sign and I didn't expect such excitement, so much energy to see a player. I understood then where I was coming to. When I saw the European Cups, the stadium, the city… it was like a dream, a very special moment”.
“My first memory was of the Bernabéu dressing room. I stood alone looking at the lockers and saying to myself: These are my teammates now, it's unbelievable'. They welcomed me brilliantly into the dressing room. The support Benzema and Diarra gave me was important and they've always done all they can to help me out. At 18, without them knowing me, I had to show them that I was capable of sharing a dressing room with them”.
First game and goal
“It was against Galatasaray and I couldn't stop looking at the fans. I was very focussed and I don't remember much of the game. My first goal was an indescribable moment. It was a strange thing. For five or six seconds afterwards I didn't hear a sound. I was in another world, a world of emotions. I wanted to score again to hear the fans. I was the third-youngest player at the club to make a Champions League debut”.
The game of his life
“It all went perfectly. I couldn't have dreamed it better. I felt great, really comfortable. It was my first game against Barcelona at home and I scored a goal. I had a good game defensively. Against Messi, I tried to anticipate the move because otherwise it was very difficult to stop him”.
“I knew I was going to play before I went for a siesta and I couldn't sleep. There was a lot of pressure and tension. People had been waiting so long for La Décima but it was the most enjoyable and emotional game I've ever played in”.
“It's been the first tough moment of my career. It's part of the life of a professional footballer and it's always disappointing. It was a difficult period but it made me stronger. I was eager to get back and be at 100%”.