French professional footballer Yohan Cabaye has impressed his fans in several matches of the 2016 UEFA European Championship.
Cabaye, who plays for the French national football team and who plays as a central midfielder for English club Crystal Palace, has a strong attachment with his Vietnamese grandmother and wants to visit Việt Nam to discover that part of him.
He shares with Vương Bạch Liên his thoughts about his career and his life, before France’s match against Germany to be played on Friday early morning (Hà Nội time)
Inner Sanctum: Earlier this week, France beat Iceland in the quarter-final with an impressing 5-2 score and will play in the semi-finals against Germany on Thursday evening in France’s Marseille City. How do you feel now?
It was a really important game. Iceland had beaten England in their last game thanks to their aggressiveness and tenacity. We could not be cocky against them.
We played very well in the 1st half, where we had the chance to score pretty early on. Thanks to that we came back to the dressing-room with an advantage of 4 goals.
During the 2nd half, we wanted to play with the same spirit and with a view to score more goals.
We played a great team, who deserved their place in this quarter final. Thanks to their Viking spirit, they succeeded in scoring 2 goals.
Next, we will play Germany in Marseille. The Velodrome Stadium is very special because of the crowd. The fans there are always able to give you the strength to push yourself and lead you to victory.
Inner Sanctum: What are the reasons and secrets that have helped France win most of its matches in the Euro 2016 so far?
The French national team has a good mix of top players and upcoming talent. That makes us a really difficult team to play against.
Thanks to our spirit and our strong desire, our most talented players are able to perform at their best and allow us to win important games.
Everybody brings something to the team. We have had the chance to stay together for a few years. We live this adventure like a family, and we are really united. That is the factor that will take us to the final.
Inner Sanctum: Are you optimistic about the chances of your team?
It is pretty important to stay positive and to stay humble.
We know how our last game against Germany went. We played them in the quarter finals of the World Cup in Brazil (July 4, 2014, Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro).
We went head to head with them, but unfortunately we conceded a goal in the early stages (Hummels 13’).
After this game, it was frustrating because it was a missed opportunity, and we could have gone all the way.
Today we have got the chance to play them again in the semi-finals. Also, we are playing at home, so it promises to be a very exciting game.
Today, we have a shot at winning the trophy. We have got strengths and qualities to compete with this team.
Inner Sanctum: This year, when you played in such an important competition like UEFA Euro in your country, in front of your family, and friends, do you feel more pressure than in the other matches?
I don’t think there is too much pressure. It is a great chance to play for our nation in an international competition.
From my side, it is my third tournament with France (After Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014), and the fact that all of us get to play in front of our families and our children, allows us to perform even better.
They support us, and we put all our heart into it. We want to make them proud of us and proud of what we do.
I think you can find a balance between calmness and concentration, without unnecessary stress. However, it is always a good thing to combine stress and adrenaline in order to perform.
Inner Sanctum: You have played for English club Crystal Palace for one year. How has your life changed since your arrival in London?
I have been playing for Crystal Palace for a year. There I worked again with Alan Pardew who was really important to my career (I played for Newcastle from 2010 to 2013). I am really happy to play in the Premier League and I am thriving under him.
I had the chance to discover Crystal Palace fans. They welcomed me and allowed me to feel at home here.
I am really happy in London. It is a nice city where I feel fulfilled. I really fit with the mind-set there. It is a place where I like to spend my time.
Even if I am quite attached to France, I also have got my bases in England.
I love to spend my time with my family and my daughters. It is always a pleasure to be back there and have the possibility to recharge myself. I love to go back when I can.
Inner Sanctum: You are a French international footballer, and you have to spend a lot of time on your passion for football. You also have to travel often for matches. How do you keep a balance between your family and your career?
The downside of our football life is having to travel so much. It does not make it easy to keep in touch with family.
I try to see my children as much as possible. They are my real driving force. I love to see them blossoming and growing up. They are my rock and source of inspiration in my life.
Inner Sanctum: Why are you so passionate about football?
Football was passed on to me by my father when I was young. I have always soaked it up, and it became my passion and my dream to play professionally one day. I have always been close to football and I am lucky to make it my career today.
Football has always been a good thing for me and it allows me to experience this great adventure.
I have had the chance to grow up with my father, who was also a football player. He gave me the opportunity to develop myself and advised me when I needed it. He has never put too much pressure, and with my mother they have been awesome.
My brother is also a big part of my life. He is playing in France at the moment and I am really proud of what he is doing.
Inner Sanctum: Your paternal grandmother is Vietnamese. Are you close to her?
My grandmother is a really important person in my life. Since I was a child, she has given me a loads of values which kept me grounded.
I am proud to have her as my grandma and it is a pleasure to have her close to me every day.
The fact that Vietnamese people could be interested in my football life, is a great source of pride.
I have never been to Việt Nam, because the schedule is hectic. However, it is something I plan to do in future and it is a part of my personal development.
I am really excited to discover this culture and at the same time discover this part of me and my roots.
Inner Sanctum: Your brother wished to play in the Việt Nam national football team. Do you know why he wanted to play and why he did not?
A few years ago, the Vietnamese national team contacted my brother through the agent of my teammate Demba Ba who I played with for Newcastle.
Geoffrey has always said that he would be happy to represent Việt Nam but he did not receive any more news about this.
Playing for the Golden Stars is an opportunity that would interest him a lot. He is building his career in France but if he had a chance to represent Việt Nam, I would be proud to see him playing at this level. VNS