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Matuidi on life at Inter Miami, missing PSG and Basaksehir racism incident

04-Feb-2021, 10:03 pm

Blaise Matuidi France World Cup 2018

Blaise Matuidi and Presnel Kimpembe have plenty in common, the pair of 2018 World Cup winners boasting strong ties to Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain and the France national side.

Matuidi is the man to have gone chasing the American dream, but he continues to keep a close eye on events in Europe,with goings on in the French capital of particular interest.

Two close friends have been discussing recent goings on as part of Team Orange, with Goal joining in with an exclusive chat.

Life in Florida was first on the agenda for Matuidi, with the 33-year-old enjoying the challenges posed by a fresh start.

He said: "The family feels really good. They quickly adapted, there is the sun. There you have it, the good life. It's the American dream as they say.

“In football, it's MLS. It's not necessarily the European championship. After that there are some good young people. Sometimes I tell them 'Oh calm down!' When you don't know the players, you haven't seen them on video, they are lively, but it's not bad, there is still a good level. There is tactical work to be done. That's the big difference with Europe.”

While Inter Miami, where he forms part of David Beckham’s expansion franchise, is dominating Matuidi’s thoughts at present, he does allow his mind to drift back to France.

He added, having spent six trophy-laden years with PSG between 2011 and 2017: “The atmosphere with my guy Presko Kimpembe. When we were together, we did little things, it was good.

“More seriously, family, close friends, people like you in the locker room and outside. These are the things that can be missing from time to time, but I remain a Parisian at heart.

“Every time I have to return to Paris, I find myself. Family is also important. As they say, in life you have to take off. Me, I took the chance, it was the right moment for me to change continent, to discover something else and I think that it will serve me well for the future.”

While on the other side of the world, Matuidi has been following how Kimpembe and co have been getting on.

One Champions League outing in December 2020 against Istanbul Basaksehir piqued his interest for all of the wrong reasons, with a racism storm sparked as theRomanian fourth official was accused of making derogatory remarks towards Pierre Webo.

Matuidi said of that incident, which saw players from both sides walk off the pitch: “An important moment for the world of football. Hats off to you, to both teams. It's something that must stay in your head.

“We are examples and I think it was the best example. These are things that should not happen in football and you have sent a real signal.

“Even the big authorities today are aware that these are things that you cannot see in the world of football, and even in life. There have been so many episodes, so many situations that we let pass. Now is the time to really say stop.

“I also experienced it in Italy and I would have liked such a situation to happen for us. It didn't, but that's why I'm saying bravo.”

Matuidi was watching the events at Parc des Princes unfold from afar, but Kimpembe was very much part of the action after being included in PSG’s starting XI.

He said of a troubling incident that ended up delivering a sporting show of solidarity: “I did not understand what was happening at the start. I just knew that there was a crowd.

“We were in the Champions League, we had to win and at the time you don't know what's going on, but when you approach, that's where you start to understand. We asked questions and we see Demba Ba coming down. Even speaking English, we all understood what he said. That was really crazy because everyone was there.

“He spoke face to face with the referee, he dropped everything! You start to understand what's going on. Even the referees, you see that they feel a little weak, they are helpless because they knew that the truth was being told.

“When we found out what really happened, we all decided to go off, whether it was us as Paris or the Turks. We said ‘no! Guys, it's now. If we can bang our fists on the table, now is the time to do it’. We had to mark the occasion.”

Kimpembe, who is one of the vice-captains at PSG, added on the decision to stage a protest and force the contest to be completed the following day with a new set of match officials: “It came out naturally.

“All the players understood it. Once we were in the locker room, we told the guys if we have to return to the field, it's all together. If there is one who does not want to go back to the field we do not go back! It was clear to everyone. Everyone said 'no, we are not going!' Then we spoke with the Basaksehir players and they were of the same opinion.

“Psychologically it hurts, you take a hit. You are no longer focused to play a football match, you think of something else. If we returned five minutes later it was going to be difficult. We decided not to play and I think that was the best solution.”

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