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Interview 10 November 2022, 04:50

His integration, the duels, his inspirations… Read our interview with Breel Embolo

His integration, the duels, his inspirations… Read our interview with Breel Embolo
A few days before the team's last big match against OM before the international break (Sunday, 8:45 p.m.), the Swiss striker from AS Monaco spoke at length about his career to date.

He scored his 7th goal of the season in Ligue 1 in Toulouse on Sunday against Toulouse. He’s now been involved in seven goals (5 goals, 2 assists) in his last league matches with AS Monaco, as Breel Embolo ahs experienced an express integration into Philippe Clement’s squad. He’s a perfect match, which he explained, among other things, by his “simple” temperament, as he likes to say, but above all by being deeply emphatic. Here’s our big interview with our number 36!

Hello Breel. For starters, how have you been feeling over the past few weeks?

I feel good. We had a small passage of two or three difficult games in mid-October. But before that we were coming out of a good run of form, with things coming more naturally. And lately we have found ourselves doing well, with another run of victories. This sequence of seven games in three weeks was interesting for us, in order to regain confidence and get results. It’s up to us to finish well before the international break.

It's a very young squad, and one which is very open, and which gave me the chance to express myself on and off the pitch. This rapid integration is therefore not only due to me, but also to the quality of this squad.
Breel EmboloOn his integration

You have been involved in seven goals in AS Monaco’s last seven matches in Ligue 1. Was the Derby against Nice a turning point for you?

I felt very quickly integrated by the group, and I try in return to restore this confidence to the team and the staff by giving the best of myself on the pitch. The Nice match was important for everyone I think, even though we obviously start every game to win it, as that’s the most important thing. As a striker, when you can succeed by scoring or assisting, it’s always better. But the most important thing is the result.

At the start of the season it was more difficult, it’s true, with circumstances that were not easy to manage (three red cards in the first five rounds of league play, editor’s note). But things have smiled on us a little more lately, so it’s up to us to work hard to keep winning.

As you said, your integration happened very quickly. How do you explain this?

I am a very simple person above all. I came here to play football, and I found a lot of teammates have the same interests. It’s a very young squad, and one which is very open, and which gave me the chance to express myself on and off the pitch. This rapid integration is therefore not only due to me, but also to the quality of this squad.

As I did not take part in the preseason, it was up to me to learn and observe every day. It’s going really well today, but whether it’s personally or collectively, there’s still more to be acheived, I’m sure. In any case, I have very simple values in my life, including respect, and I found that in this team. So it’s good to be part of this project.

You showed a great complementarity in attack with Wissam, and more recently with Kevin. How have things worked so fast?

With Wissam, as with all my other teammates, we understand each other well. In any case, it’s really easy to play alongside Wissam, because he’s a very great striker, easy to understand. A great finisher but also someone who makes scoring a goal easier with his passing. He is an example for me and I am learning a lot from him, as well as from Kevin and Myron. We’ve played a lot together lately, so it’s true that we complement each other more and more.

The fact that the group has so many quality players, with a lot of competition, especially in our sector, makes everyone better. I was the first to be happy when Myron “sealed” the match in Montpellier (in a 2-0 win). We all try to do our job so that the team does not have to suffer.

You have a specific role in this team, often playing with your back to the goal and winning duels. Why do you like it so much?

When I started football, I played more as an 8 or 10, like a second striker. This is part of the evolution of our sport in recent years, and everyone must try to bring their strengths to help the group. Mine is indeed to be present in the duels. But this only goes well because I have a lot of quality players around me, whether in the midfield or on the wings. I like to have the ball and to wo in duels, and even if I had to do 150 in a match, I would. It’s part of our game plan, and it’s always good to be able to bring something else to the squad.

Precisely when you were younger, what were your inspirations?

Yann (he looks at Yann Lienard smiling)! I say that jokingly, but in addition when I was little I played in goal, because I was shy. But more seriously, in Basel, I would say that Samuel Eto’o inspired me a lot, especially since I am from Cameroon. Then I also think of Yaya Touré, Alexander Song. Didier Drogba too! Players who have made an impression in their position. Today, all the players have exceptional qualities around me, and I try to take a little from each one. They are no longer really idols, but sources to look to in terms of developing my game. I try to steal a little inspiration every day, to continue to improve.

To speak of finishes precisely, you had a specialty in Mönchengladbach, the overhead kick. Is it something you particularly like to do?

I tried it once or twice this season, and besides, Youssouf put me in my place afterwards (smiles). It’s a finish that I did a lot as a young player, something instinctive. When I feel I can, I do it. In the box you always have to try, because things move very fast. I managed to score two or three times like that at Gladbach’ and it’s true that if I could do that here in Monaco, it would be great, especially to make Mr. Fofana happy (he smiles)!

You always take great pride in playing for Switzerland. We imagine that it would be a dream for you to compete in the World Cup for the second time…

When you are young, the first thing you think about is playing in the World Cup! You also want to win the Champions League one day. It was a childhood dream and in 2018 for my first, I saw how amazing it was to participate in it. To be able to play in a second one would be crazy, but I’m trying not to think about it too much, because I am focused on AS Monaco until the last league game.

We are not yet where we would like to be, so I want to focus on my club, and if I do things right, it will make things easier in terms of the national team. It is always a pleasure and a pride to represent his country (Youssouf Fofana tries to distract him). Wearing this jersey, since the first call-ups as a young player, has been a dream and it is also a source of pride for the whole family.

It’s all the more special for you, as the current coach, Murat Yakin, gave you your debut as a professional with Basel…

Exactly, he was the first coach who trusted me as a pro, so we have a very special relationship. He is someone I respect a lot, whom I love very much and who has brought me a lot in my life as a man and as a footballer, even after my time in Basel. So it’s a pleasure to play again under him. It is now up to us to get the best possible result at the World Cup, once I have finished my job with the Club.

I hope that as many AS Monaco players as possible will be selected for this World Cup. Because it really is something special to experience, and Youssouf, like others, deserves it.
Breel EmboloOn the World Cup

The 2018 World Cup was also marked by a happy event for you.

Yes it’s true, I had the pleasure of welcoming the birth of my first daughter. I was able to go there and then return to the squad to continue the competition. Too bad we couldn’t go further. But it remains a very special moment in my life. We had gone through from a very difficult group, with Brazil in particular, like this year’s. And more personally, the birth of my daughter showed me how the most important thing is health and happiness.

You were talking about Youssouf earlier. You could eventually meet at the World Cup, if you are both selected and your teams meet. Would that please you?

First of all, I hope that as many AS Monaco players as possible will be selected for this World Cup. Because it really is something special to experience, and Youssouf, like others, deserves it. Then, facing France would be (he thinks)… weird and hard, because for me they are one of the favorites of the competition. We met at the Euros, and it ended on penalties, so it would be really tough. Let’s first try to get out of the group, which would already be good. I don’t want to be the guy who gets ahead of himself too much.

On a more personal notr, who do you get on well with in the locker room?

I get on well with everyone, but I would say Momo (Camara), Malang (Sarr) and Izo (the nickname of Ismail Jakobs) on the German side, then Youssouf and Axel among the French speakers.

What do you do outside of football, and how do you feel in Monaco?

It’s good, here there is the sun, it’s different for me a lot from Germany. The quality of life is different. I spend a lot of time with my family, my children. I try to discover new things with them and my friends. Otherwise there is the new FIFA that has been released, so a little bit of Playstation as well. Lots of football at home. But I also like to discover the city and the surrounding area with those around me. This is of course without forgetting to rest from time to time, because it is important to rest from time to time, when you are playing every three days. Taking a moment for yourself is important.

Do you have a hidden talent to reveal to us?

No Unfortunately. I thought I had one, but in reality I don’t (smiles).

Thank you for your support, because we need you! Know that we are doing everything to make you proud, and to achieve our goals together. DAGHE MUNEGU!
Breel EmboloA message for the fans

In terms of your clothing style, what do you like to wear away from football?

(Without hesitation) Sweatpants! I like to be comfortable, especially when I come back from the Performance Center. And then when you have children, you spend a lot of time with the washing machine (laughs). That’s why they are perfect.

 

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Une publication partagée par Breel Donald Embolo (@breelembolo97)

What are you listening to right now?

There’s Lil Baby’s new album that’s come out and it’s not bad. Tiakola too, a lot. After that it is between America, France, and Africa too, with Burna Boy (a Nigerian singer) for example. But I kinda like all styles of music, modern, Hip-hop, RnB.

Is there a favorite movie or a series that you have seen recently?

I recently watched the latest episode of Blacklist (Netflix). And in terms of film, I want to watch The Woman King, which is in theaters right now.

To end this interview, do you have a message for the AS Monaco supporters?

Thank you for your support, because we need you! Know that we are doing everything to make you proud, and to achieve our goals together. DAGHE MUNEGU! 🇲🇨

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