Your injury has kept you out of the squad for a long time. What has it been like for you, as you work your way back to fitness?
It hasn’t been an easy time. I had an operation on my hernia. I’d been carrying it since the start of the season. It was too painful, and I couldn’t go on like that. The injury has kept me out of action for three months. I’m starting to come back, still not quite 100% but it’s looking good. The staff and the squad have always supported me and given me a lot of strength.
The coach watched you in the Toulon Tournament and made signing you a priority. What’s your relationship with him like?
He’s a very open coach, you can talk to him. He gives out a lot of advice and works us hard. I get on very well with him.
What do you think of the squad? Did you settle in quickly?
We have a very good squad. A lot of new signings have come in and joined the great players who were already at the club. There’s a good mix between the younger guys and the more experienced players. I get on well with everyone. The squad is very open, you can have a laugh with everyone. I get on particularly well with Nabil Dirar and Thomas Lemar, who is from the same generation as me and who has played with me for France. There’s also Tiemoué Bakayoko, Helder Costa, Ricky (Carvalho), Joao Moutinho… I don’t speak Portuguese, but they speak good French.
What are your personal aims for this season?
I hope to get back to 100%, and play pain-free when the coach calls on me. I want more time to prove my worth, score goals, help the team to win games. There’s still some discomfort when I’m working flat out, but it’s improving gradually, and soon I’ll be back at 100%.
For people who haven’t yet seen you play, can you describe your main qualities?
I like to dribble and play the final ball. I like to score. I’ve also got a good shot. We don’t very often shoot from long-range in games, but I hope to shoot a bit more while playing. I’m working on that side of my game in training.
And what parts of your game do you need to improve?
I could play it simpler. I tend to dribble and hold on to the ball too much. I need to work on releasing the ball quicker.
Who inspires you?
Zidane. He’s been an inspiration and an example for me, as for many people. Zidane is the iconic player who won trophies for the French national side. He made me dream. Then there are two Brazilians, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. I watched videos of them a lot. Even today, before games, I try to take inspiration from them.
How are you finding life in Monaco, off the pitch?
I feel good here. It’s a nice place. I’m very happy to be here. Away from football, I enjoy the cinema. I’m very family-oriented too, I like spending time with them at home.