Takumi Minamino: "I was attracted by the AS Monaco project"
He celebrated his first appearance in his new colors this weekend in a friendly against Inter Milan (2-2). Having arrived in the Principality at the very end of June to sign for AS Monaco for the next four seasons, Takumi Minamino expressed his satisfaction this Wednesday, during his presentation to the media. It was therefore at the La Turbie Performance Center, and in the presence of the club’s Sporting Director, Paul Mitchell, that he spoke his first words to the press.
An introduction from Sporting Director, Paul Mitchell
“Hello everyone. Welcome back to the Performance Center. You can see that the latest infrastructure is coming along, including the new pitch equipped with a grandstand, which will soon be opened. We are here today to present to you our first three recruits of the summer, Takumi Minamino, Breel Embolo and Thomas Didillon, who will increase the overall quality of the team. I would therefore like to welcome them among us!”
Takumi Minamino’s press conference:
The choice to join AS Monaco:
AS Monaco is the first club that approached me. I was immediately interested, and that’s why I met with the coach, Philippe Clement, as well as the Sporting Director, Paul Mitchell, who told me a lot about the project. I was very attracted to it, and that’s why I wanted to place my future with this prestigious team.
Here's a look back to @takumina0116's first match with la Diagonale! 📸 🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/Wv4zSG3vws
— AS Monaco EN (@AS_Monaco_EN) July 19, 2022
The inside scoop from his international teammates
I already had a very good impression of the French league, which has proven that it is capable of developing very good youngsters every year. It can be a real springboard for a career. I obviously contacted Hiroki Sakai and Eiji Kawashima, who told me a lot of good things about Ligue 1, and that it was a league where there is a lot of pace to play, and that it is a perfect place to flourish.
Targeting the World Cup with Japan
Obviously the 2022 World Cup is a personal goal. But before that I already want to get my bearings and perform with AS Monaco. It is important that I show my qualities first here, and then it will be time to think about the national team and the great competition that is the World Cup.
On his trial in the Principality at the age of 16
It’s been a long time, but the memory I have is a bit sad. Training went well, I loved coming here, but I couldn’t really communicate with my teammates because I didn’t speak the language. Looking back, I think it was a trigger for me to learn other languages. At the time I had seen the training center and the Stade Louis-II, and I said to myself that I would like to play here one day.
His contributions to the team
I talked about it with the coach. He asked me to bring my experience to this squad, made up of a lot of very good young players. In my approach to matches, how I manage my emotions, I think I am able to bring all this to my teammates.
I have a personal goal of course, but I’m keeping it to myself. My role is above all to help the team as well as possible, whether in the game or of course in scoring and creating goals. I will give my all on a daily basis for the collective.
His relationship with Jürgen Klopp
The time I spent with Jürgen Klopp will remain unforgettable for me. I didn’t have a lot of playing time at Liverpool, but he had faith in me and when I played I tried to give back to him and show what I could do. I believe that this trust was mutual, along with my teammates and this exceptional club that is Liverpool.
“He made us better each and every day he was with us – not just in the games he played in but every single session in training. Perfect attitude, winner’s mentality.”
Jürgen Klopp on @takumina0116’s big contribution to our success in recent years 👇
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 28, 2022
His physical condition
I feel very good. I joined the team during the training camp in Lagos, Portugal. There are still preseason matches to come before the start of the season and training sessions to improve my condition. But I will be at 100% for the start of the season, and for the European fixtures that await us.
His preferred position
Ideally I feel good as number 10, in the middle. But I can also play on the flanks, on the left or on the right, or even as a striker, like against Inter Milan. It doesn’t matter, I will play where the coach considers that I can bring the most to the team. I haven’t talked to him directly about it yet, but it will also depend on the match situation, and I will adapt to what he wants.
A word in French?
“Bonjour, ça va ?” (smiles). It’s true that I don’t have a lot of vocabulary yet, but I’m going to learn it very quickly with a tutor.