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Matches 31 July 2020, 11:11

Almamy Touré : "I only have good memories in Monaco"

Almamy Touré : "I only have good memories in Monaco"
AS Monaco's third preseason friendly match will take place against Eintracht Frankfurt this Saturday (6 p.m.), and will be an opportunity for Almamy Touré to face his training club for the first time. A player who still has a Red and White heart took the time to remember his journey.

He spent more than eight years growing up at the foot of the Rock. Joining the Academy at only 14, he discovered the professional game at AS Monaco with great players by his side. He participated in the European runs in 2015 and 2017 and was crowned champion of France that same season. In total, he  played 80 matches in the diagonal jersey, including ten in the Champions League, accruing very good statistics for a defender (6 goals and 13 assists).

Now flourishing in the Bundesliga in the ranks of Eintracht Frankfurt, Almamy Touré hopes to continue with a season as full as the one which has just concluded (29 games in all competitions, 1 goal and 4 assists). It is with the simplicity and kindness that characterize him, that the former Red and White right back has agreed to come have a look back with us on his career, when it comes time to return to the club that has been a foundational part of his life.

How have you been feeling since arriving in Frankfurt?

So far I have a feeling of success. By leaving Monaco I wanted to have more playing time and be able to progress. Since I arrived, I find that I have improved in some areas, because it is a different style of football compared to France. It feels good to discover another league.

In the past you were often bothered by injuries, how are things going now?

I haven’t had a lot of injuries this year, I’ve worked well with the club doctor. I have had recurring problems in the past, but I think I made a big leap in that area. Lowering the injury factor was really my goal.

What’s your opinion of the Bundesliga ?

The championship is very much on the up in Germany. When we get the ball the coach wants us to play with verticality, a forward pass. It’s football that matches my qualities and has helped me improve. It’s been a while since I felt so good. It’s up to me to work even harder so that it continues and that I am even more decisive. But again the Bundesliga is a league which is great for someone who leaves France. In France we are well trained physically and in football, and when we arrive in this league we have more space and we are not afraid to show our quality.

Besides, how did you feel when you scored your first goal for Frankfurt?

I waited for it so long! Besides, in such a match, against a big league team (RB Leipzig), at home and in front of the Ultras, it was really the perfect moment. The atmosphere was exceptional in the stadium. Now I have to score others.

It feels a little weird that I'm going to play against the club that trained me. It was Monaco that allowed me to be the player I am now.
Almamy Touré

How does it feel to be facing Monaco again?

It feels a little weird that I’m going to play against the club that trained me. I was told by my brother about it on Sunday, he texted me and told me we were playing against Monaco on Saturday, I thought he was joking. It makes me feel weird, it’s going to be special, it’s my training club. It was Monaco that allowed me to be the player I am now.

You have experienced everything here as well…

It’s true, I’ve experienced it all here. When I arrived at the academy we had just gone down to Ligue 2. After we came back up, I played my first matches in February 2015. Everything went very quickly in fact. My first match was in the cup against Rennes, then the derby in Ligue 1 against Nice and the third was against Arsenal in the round of 16 of the Champions League. It was crazy. We walked on water, we were a bunch of friends. I also remember my double at the Vélodrome, that was incredible. And of course the year of the title (2017) is a season that I will never forget. I only have good memories in Monaco.

Do you keep in touch with the people you knew at the club?

I am a loyal person who gets along well with people. Regarding school life, I still have good contacts with my teachers. In particular, I kept very good contact with Mohamed Salmi. I still talk to him, he even helped me with my move. Even with Olivier, Yann, Laurent, the people in the canteen. O the football level, I still keep in touch with Bruno Irles and I get along very well with Manu Dos Santos and Fred Barilaro.

Berbatov, Falcao, Ricardo Carvalho, Moutinho, Toulalan, Mbappé … You also had the chance to play alongside some very great players.

In Monaco we have that chance to rub shoulders with very great players, so obviously when you train with them you progress faster. It’s true that it’s something that has given us a lot. My debut went very quickly so it impressed me, and the year we finished champions was exceptional.

What did your teammates tell you about new coach Niko Kovac?

When I arrived there were already a few French or French speakers who had worked with him the year before I arrived. Sébastien Haller, Simon Fallette, Gelson Fernandes, they all told me he was very demanding, that he worked a lot. He likes his team to run a lot, that they are looking to play with high pressure. I am sure it will go well. He had a very good year here, he won the German Cup (2018). Then he went to Bayern Munich and he continued to win by winning the treble. Everyone I have known and played under his command told me he was a very good coach. He has a very good image here in Germany.

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