12.07.2019Bayer 04

'I'm ready for a new challenge'

Moussa Diaby signed for Bayer 04 this summer – after Ricardo Faty (2007/08), he is the second Frenchman to play for the Werkself in 40 years in the Bundesliga. Before moving to Leverkusen the 20-year-old youth international played for the French champions Paris Saint-Germain making 34 appearances last season (four goals, seven assists). Today, three days ahead of the training camp in Zell am See-Kaprun, the winger faced questions from the press.

Moussa Diaby on…

…the first days and weeks in Leverkusen: "I really feel at home here. The team accepted me really well from the first day – as did everybody else at the club. I'm looking forward to my time at Bayer 04."

…the decision to sign for Bayer 04: "Before I finally decided to join Bayer 04, I watched a couple of games from last season. I really love the way football's played here – quick and with a lot of pressure high up the pitch. I think that approach suits my style of play. The positive image I had of the club proved to be true when I came here to have a closer look at the club and the surroundings. Other big clubs were interested in me but the overall package here – the way of playing, the project and the fact that we're playing in the Champions League this season – fitted in perfectly."

…the reasons for leaving Paris Saint-Germain: PSG are a big club and I felt really, really good there. Of course, for a Parisian it's obviously a dream to play for the club. But there are so many top stars at PSG and that makes it difficult for you as a young player. I want to play regularly and make the next step in my development rather than stand still. That's why decided to move on. PSG would have been happy to keep me but I'm ready for a new challenge."

…the status of German football in France: "In Germany there is a greater desire to win – in my opinion there aren't so many teams in the Bundesliga that sit back and try to spoil the game. I like the attitude of always giving everything, the commitment to battle, and the desire to play football. In Ligue 1 most of the opponents focus on not letting PSG play their game."

…his former coach Thomas Tuchel: "I learned a lot from him last season in Paris. He is very close the players and talk to us a lot. And he brought in a few methods from Germany to make us physically stronger. (he laughs) I'm very grateful to him – as he encouraged me to move to Germany and he told me I'd made the right decision to sign for Bayer 04."

…playing alongside top stars like Neymar and Mbappe: "It's great. Especially for young players, it's really lucky to be able to train and play with top stars like that day in and day out. I learned a lot from the lads – starting with advice through to the desire to develop and wanting to improve every day."

…his favourite position: "Up front on the right. But to be honest: it doesn't matter to me whether I play on the right or the left side – I completely want to serve the team and would like to contribute to the overall success with my abilities."

…his targets for his first season in Germany: "Of course, you want to win titles as a player but primarily I want to win as many games as possible with team. Then we'll see where we end up. And personally, I'd like to improve every day, play as often as possible and help the team with my strengths. And, of course, I have to learn German."

…communication within the squad: "Up to now, Peter Bosz is the only one to explain complex matters in French. I've heard that Jonathan Tah (currently still on holiday, ed) can speak French. In the dressing room we use translation apps on our smart phones to communicate. That works very well. But I'm trying to teach the lads a bit of French, for example like 'How are you my friend?, 'My brother', 'left', 'right' and 'You're mad'." (he laughs)

…German words he's already learned: "'All's well', 'morning', 'thank you', 'bon appetit' and 'carry on' – I think that's all." (he laughs)

…the different coloured flashes in his hair: "That doesn't really have any special significance, I just do it for fun. Exactly the same applies to the different colours."

…the ambition to play for France one day: "I haven't got that far yet. But clearly it's a target of mine to play for L'Équipe. I also appreciate that so many Frenchman have had a positive time in the Bundesliga recently. That's another reason why I opted for Germany. I hope I can achieve my targets here."

…contact with French players in the Bundesliga: "Yes, I was in contact. But who with exactly I'll keep to myself (he laughs). The lads didn't play a decisive role in my move but through the answers they gave me I became more and more certain that the decision to join Bayer 04 was the right one."

…friends or family who have come to Germany with him: "No, there's nobody here at the moment. In the pre-season it's better to be alone so you can only focus on football. But I think in a couple of months time when I’m settled in here that I'll bring my family over."


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