Called on Saturday in place of Raphaël Varane, Ibrahima Konaté captivated his audience, and that’s nothing to say. The Liverpool center-back did not appear to be intimidated for a single second. Neither on arrival nor before. Especially not before, by the way. “It didn’t stop me from sleeping. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you. Especially when it’s in good condition.”, he joked, happy to be there. Yet he did not expect it. Really not.
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After passing the Champions League final at the Stade de France, Konaté decided to set sail, both literally and figuratively. And to cut. And then … “I was on a boat with my friends in Greece, we were having fun. There, I was looking for my phone and I saw two missed calls. I called back because I didn’t know the number …” Good idea. Konaté quickly understood. He dreamed of it. More than just the suite. “The French team, I said it was a short-term goal, I didn’t think it would be so fast!”he laughs.
Everything went very fast for him. He arrived in Liverpool, the last time and now firmly established in the central defense, Parisien of 23 and saw a true tourbillon émotionnel in 2022. “It’s not easy … After the season, I told the coach (ed: Jürgen Klopp) that he was emotionally impressive as a young man. There, I’m on vacation, I decide to cut everything and I’m called for the France A team! It’s a little too much for my head (laughs)“.
Uncle Virgil’s advice
The author of a cannonball season with Liverpool, Ibrahima Konaté has set foot on the mushroom and, if he finds himself there, it is not for figuration. Being called up to the Blues is fine. Settling in is better. And to do that, a little naked playing time would be superfluous, even at this time of the season. “I was lucky enough to play in the C1 final, but it’s a little difficult for me. After that, I still have a bit of a rhythm. Am I ready? I don’t have a choice, I I’m a soldier. “
A soldier who listens to the hierarchy. And is inspired by it. A big fan of Sergio Ramos and… Virgil van Dijk, the Liverpool defender is a sponge. He learns quickly and learns the lessons: “I’ve learned so much since I’ve been in Liverpool … I like watching stats, for example. And I’ve often noticed that Van Dijk ran less than me during games. I thought, ‘What ‘Is that what he’s doing?’ In fact, it’s the placement and the intelligence of the game, I have to be inspired by it to keep energy. “
“When you see Ben Yedder’s games, you can think of Giroud.”
Uncle Virgil’s Tips, Volume 2? The Dutchman and his discipline pushed him to watch matches on TV, which Konaté never did, so to speak, in Leipzig. They are very fond of Nordi Mukiele. “When I was exchanging with Van Dijk, he would say to me, ‘Such a striker plays like this or that.’ I don’t know all that!” So Ibrahima disciplined herself and turned on her TV more often during the season.
Thiago Alcantara, another senior, advised him on another area of the game: offensive stopped kicks. “He told me, ‘When you go up, you have to believe in it.’. Konaté scored three times in the spring.
Here, too, he did well to listen. With a smile, always. By circumstance? “I’m always like that, I try to bring joy to life, there’s no reason to be sad. Je suis en bonne santé, I have every reason to be happy. Why would I shoot my head? “
Virgil van Dijk congratulates Ibrahima Konaté, Benfica striker
Credit: Getty Images
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