Euro 2021: “It’s in my DNA to never give up,” says Wissam Ben Yedder

With 13 selections for the Blues, and 2 goals scored, ASM striker Wissam Ben Yedder is not among the first choices of Didier Deschamps in the offensive sector. But for those who discover their first major international competition, the abundance of goods does not hurt. With his little Clark Gable mustache, he fully intends to play his role within the France group.

When you walk today in the alleys of Clairefontaine, do you think back to the one you were twelve years ago in team 3 of the US Saint-Denis club?

WISSAM BEN YEDDER. Yes, I think about it every day, and then I measure the privilege of being here. If I had been told at that time that I would be there, to prepare myself with the Blues for a Euro, I would not have believed it. Yes, I dreamed of it, but between dreaming and doing it …

You do not do a training center, you are recruited at 20 by Toulouse while you play in CFA and you know your first selection in Blue at 27 years old. Yours is an incredible course, right?

It’s a special course, but it’s mine. I thank every day what football has given me even if sometimes there have been periods of doubt, or more complicated phases. But I have been patient. I never set limits for myself, and those difficult times I broke through by working hard.

See you soon 31 years old, what is your recipe for staying on top?

I have a small garden at home where I try to train every day in addition to the sessions with the club. I do a bit of core training, mobility exercises and then I touch the ball as well. I do juggling, ball handling, dribbling, and even hitting or penalty sessions. There are times when I would rather go for a walk, but these are sacrifices to be made. I try to toughen up at work.

The France team is full of talent in attack. Are you not afraid of the traffic jam?

But it’s always better to have more than not enough, right? And then I have always faced competition throughout my career and it will continue to exist. So much the better if this France team can rely on great players. For my part, I will take advantage of these moments.

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Can you imagine a fate like Wiltord, Trezeguet or Pires at Euro 2000, all three coming off the bench to offer France victory in the final?

Ah, yes, I would like to. But it may be another fate. Either way, I am prepared for all eventualities. I can also be in the stands since we are 26 selected. Anyway, I will be a supporter of the France team.

Where does your capacity for resilience come from? I remember that during your transfer to Toulouse, coach Alain Casanova wanted to lend you a loan and you did not accept.

I am someone who never gives up, I am even a little stubborn. Resilience, as you say, sticks to my journey. I’m not in the habit of letting it go when things don’t work out. In Toulouse, I still remember the words of the coach who told me that he wanted to lend me National at Luzenac. In the next practice, I had dribbled all the players plus the goalie to show him that I was a player apart. And, finally, I stayed. Even though there was already an established hierarchy within the club, I did not accept it. It’s in my DNA to never give up. This is what drives me on a daily basis.

From the outside, it feels like you have to prove more than the others, while you are still the second top scorer in Ligue 1 this season. Are you bored?

Not at all. Everyone has their own experience, and that is part of the daily life of the footballer. We are all going through periods where we consider that we should have more playing time, like me this season in Monaco. At that point, you feel a little frustrated. But the only thing open to you is to get out of it and keep going.

Is it related to your atypical background. You have not gone through a training center, the environment may still make you pay for it?

It may be due to that, it is possible. But what I mean is, even though it’s related to that, it’s not a reason to give up. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here talking to you. For me, it’s a way of being, adversity is part of my journey. This is the meaning of extra work that I was telling you about earlier.

Will you still be Monegasque next season?

For now, I am focused on the selection, I have an agent who takes care of that. We will see what is best for me and for the club after the Euro.

Last winter, Barça took an interest in you. Is it still in the back of your mind?

Of course, it’s always in the back of my mind. I have always dreamed of playing for Barça, Real Madrid, in short in a big club of which Monaco is also part. But, again, these are discussions to have and I can’t tell you more.

What is an ideal summer for you?

Winning Euro 2021, that would be the best!

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