“Haaland is a beast … but Mbappé is Mbappé”

-How are you doing, Samuel?

-All good thanks.

-You are one of the panelists of the World Football Summit …

-Yes, I am delighted to return to Spain. Who doesn’t like to go back? It is always a pleasure to be here.

-How have you experienced, from abroad, this earthquake of signings in Europe?

-Every season is like that. The teams get stronger, others see how their players leave, this has always been the life of football … The important clubs have an advantage because they have more money, but I am happy to know that the different leagues in Europe are going to give us show. We hope so.

-What do you think of the team that has made up PSG?

-The squad that Al-Khelaïfi and his collaborators have made is spectacular. Hopefully this great team wins everything they want to win.

-Were you waiting for Messi?

-Like many, no. Few could imagine that Messi would leave Barça. But it is football. It is such a special world that we can never anticipate what is going to happen, especially when it comes to signings.

-Leo and Sergio Ramos in Paris
-They are great players, and it is a privilege for PSG to have them. As a city, Paris is one of the best in the world and as a team, it is one of those in my heart. It is a very good place for them.

“I don’t know what offer there was, but I’m happy that Mbappé is still at PSG.”

-If you don’t win the Champions League with that team, is it a failure?

-These players are used to teams with pressure. They know what it’s like to play like this. After 20 years of career, this does not change for them. On the contrary, for PSG it is a good thing to have footballers like this in their ranks.

-And Mbappé? Didn’t Madrid’s offer seduce PSG?

-I don’t know what offer there was, but I’m happy that he’s still at PSG. I have already said it: when you see that the two monsters we have-Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi- are already of an age… you sense that over time they are going towards the end of their careers. We all want them to last even longer, because the show they are giving us is incredible. But they have an age and others will have to leave. And among the others who are going to leave is Kylian.

-And Haaland.

-Haaland is a beast, yes. But Kylian is Kylian.

-Will Mbappé renew or see him in white?

-I don’t know, you have to ask that in Paris (laughs).

-Tell me about Barça and its delicate situation. What do you think?

-It is in an economic crisis, but that is the case in almost all the clubs except three or four … The crisis does not come from today, they have been dragging it for years. Still, Barça will always be Barça. What we want is for him to keep making us dream through victories.

-What solution do you see for the club without Messi?

-Barça has always had the quarry, but I do not have the solution. If it were in my power, I would tell my friend Laporta (laughs). I do not know. It is true that the quarry has given Barça a lot of fruit these years and I hope it continues to do so.

“Madrid can boast of having the best striker in the world, Karim Benzema”

-And how do you see Madrid?

-Madrid can boast of having the best striker in the world, Karim Benzema. People can debate about one and the other … but in the end they are there. And this year we will also have to count on them for everything. Madrid is always Madrid.

-Do you consider that Benzema is the eternal undervalued?

-It is clear that he has not been placed in the footballing place he deserves. But that happens sometimes in football. Some players do not give all their value and others who do not deserve it so much, they give it. That’s life.

-Do you see him as a candidate for the Ballon d’Or?

-If it depended on me, he is one of the players who has deserved it these years. But there have always been many like this: Raúl, Maldini, Roberto Carlos… Very important players who never won these individual awards.

-Does Vinicius’s case remind you of yours? He lived something similar in his beginnings in terms of scoring efficiency.

-I have not experienced something similar … (laughs). I’ve always scored goals!

-Yes, but the responsibility of arriving young at Madrid tends to weigh.

-If Madrid signs you, it is because they know you can play with that pressure and because you can contribute. He is a good player. If he is in Madrid it is because he is worth it. Scoring goals for the forwards is a matter of streaks. Sometimes it doesn’t come out. I, in my time, did not think much about that. The recipe is work and work completion. In the end it will come out.

-Is there a change of style in football? Less tiki-taka and more speed?

-The tiki-taka continues. Perhaps it is not like before, but we have seen the Spain of Luis Enrique in the Eurocup. Many said: “They don’t play, they don’t play.” And they gave us a soccer lesson with 18-year-old players. That means the tiki-taka is there. They are ideas. People want to improve and the coaches see football in a different way. As a fan I like to see teams that play well and want to score more goals than the rival.

“We have seen the Spain of Luis Enrique in the Eurocopa. Many said:“ They do not play, they do not play ”. And they gave us a soccer lesson”

-But the Premier is imposed on LaLiga, it is a fact.

-Well, some say that the most important thing is to win; others, that the important thing is to win, but playing well. They are ideas. I am not against one or the other, but if I had to choose I would say that it is more beautiful to play football well.

-You sucked on Guardiola and Mourinho, representatives of two very different ideas.

-With Guardiola in his first year we won everything, but Pep had an incredible team. With Mourinho it was something else. He showed us that with other types of players you can also win. It was a pleasure for him to play for Inter. It is difficult as an interista to assume that he has gone to Roma (laughs)… But hey, he’s a friend. You have to be with him.

-It is in the organization of the World Cup in Qatar, how are things there?

-We are prepared to receive the World Cup and its people. We are going to offer the best World Cup tournament organized so far.

-Do you share the idea of ​​holding a World Cup every two years instead of every four?
I don’t know if such a change is a problem for others. And if it is, I want to know what. From there, let’s talk. Many say that the players are going to have more games and more trips… Do people know who are the ones who travel the most? The South Americans and the Africans. By organizing competitions better, they will travel less and perform better. I don’t see any problems in that. If it is something that will improve football in general, why can’t it be studied? Then there are other interests, obviously, but as an African and a football lover I think it is something that can contribute things and that would allow some African country to win a World Cup tomorrow.

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