Footballers between the ages of 10 and 12 of AC Boulogne-Billancourt got the chance to interview PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who is the mascot for this year’s Danone Nations Cup, the largest world football tournament for this age group.
Were you good at school?
I was good up until the age of 15. When I came to Clairefontaine, I slightly neglected school and it is something that you should absolutely not do. If I had one bit of advice to give you, it is to go far in your studies. It makes you and your parents proud. Football is just a stage [of your life], after that you have an entire life. And then, sadly, not everybody becomes a professional footballer.
What team did you dream about when you were young?
I grew up in a Parisian suburb, I loved PSG. I had the chance to play for the club that I dreamt about.
What has been the best moment of your career so far?
I have had many: my first professional contract, my first call up to the French national team, becoming the champion of France and of course to play in the World Cup, that is the top.
What is your favourite stadium?
The Parc des Princes. I dreamt of playing on that pitch when I was young so the first time that I played on it, I was very emotional. I thought about all the work that I had put in, at times like these when I was like you, when I was dreaming about things. Aside from that, dreaming is not enough, I really enjoyed myself when I was young but I also had the desire to work, to surpass myself. That is what got me to where I am today.
Who is the PSG player who tells the most jokes?
There are a lot of them, but David Luiz is not bad. He likes to make people laugh. There is also Lucas and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He pokes fun at other people mainly. Those are the three who make us laugh in the dressing room.
You won the league title last week, how does it feel to win almost everything each year?
It is magnificent. I arrived at PSG with this aim and today I have ten titles, but I do not want to stop there. Maxwell has won 32 titles, Zlatan has won 28. When you see them, they always want to continue working. They are there first to arrive [at training], they are the last to leave. For us, they are examples.
Who will finish 2nd in the league?
For me, Monaco. Because when you have played for St Étienne, you don’t really like Lyon… But, more seriously, Lyon are very confident, so it will between them and Monaco.
Why did you accept to become the mascot for the Danone Nations Cup?
When I was young, I also wanted to play in this competition. I watched it at the Parc des Princes, but I was not good enough to play in it. The aim, today, is to give you advice. To see you excel, it gives me enormous pleasure.
Do you think that some of us here will become professionals?
I hope so. Aside from that, you know, you are at an age where before everything else you should enjoy yourselves and have fun. The road is long. You have to work, to listen to advice, respect your teammates and with your teachers. It is not necessarily the best players who succeed, it is those who have the most desire.