This story first appeared in the March 2016 edition of the Arsenal Magazine.
NATIONAL KNOW HOW
How would you describe France?
It’s a nice country. France has got a good reputation for food and there are lots of nice places to visit, especially in the south of France, but the whole country is pretty good.
Name the three best things about your country
The food, Paris and the south of France, because the weather is the best and there are some good cities too.
And something you would like to change about your nation?
It’s difficult to say because it depends where you are in France. If you go down the south the people are a bit more welcoming, so if I had to change something it would be for people to be the same everywhere in France.
What’s your favourite food from your country?
I like every type of food – and to be honest I like Italian food! French food is nice as well, and we’re renowned for our meat and our cheese, but I’m not really fussy when it comes to food.
Tell us a typical phrase your country…
You probably know them as well. The most common one is “Bonjour, comment ca va?” which means, “Hey, how are you?”
Where are the best places to go on holiday in your country?
I would go around Nice – there are some areas around there and the weather is really good as well. St Tropez is nice as well, and Bordeaux has been voted the best city in France a couple of times recently.
Where would you like to go in your country that you haven’t been?
I’ve been pretty much everywhere in France but I haven’t been to the proper centre of France because I tend to go to the coast.
Who is the current prime minister of your country?
The president is Francois Hollande. Politics is always difficult, especially in France. He had a boost to his reputation because he did good things when the terrorist attacks happened in Paris.
It’s the same everywhere, though – the president says he will do things and not a lot gets done, but it’s a pretty tough job I reckon so I wouldn’t judge too much.
Tell us the first line of your national anthem.
“Allons enfants de la Patrie,” and it means... I don’t even know what it translates as, to be honest! It’s something like, “We’re going with the sign of the patriots,” or something like that. It’s a bit harsh, the national anthem, because it’s a war song, but we like to sing it whenever we get the chance to.
Which sports are popular, other than football?
A lot of other sports. The French are pretty good at rugby as well, plus handball, judo... we’ve been pretty good at all sports.
Who does your country have their greatest rivalry with?
We’ve got a few. Germany I would say, and Italy. England as well, of course. These three countries make it pretty tough when we play against each other.
What languages do you speak?
I’m alright at English... French! And I can speak a bit of German as well. I can say a few words in Spanish – I didn’t study it at school but can talk a bit with the Spanish players at the club. And a very few words in Italian.
What languages would you like to speak?
I’d say Spanish, and actually Japanese as well. I’ve been to Japan with the national team and I used to watch a lot of Manga when I was younger. I’d watch it in Japanese and I just liked it. One of our physios at the club – Takahiro Yamamoto – is Japanese so I’ve picked up a few words just to say ‘hi!’ to him in the morning. I feel Japanese a bit!
What was the first trip you ever made outside of your home country – and why?
This isn’t so much to visit, but for charity work – I’d like to go and help kids in Africa or India. There’s a lot of places to discover where rather than just go on holiday you can help out, and learn from the people there. I hope I get the chance in the next few years. We get a chance to travel with the club but when I retire I definitely want to visit quite a lot of countries.
Can you name the capital cities of these countries?
- Poland–Warsaw ?
- Japan – Tokyo ?
- Brazil – Brasilia ?
And can you name the countries from their Presidents/Prime Ministers?
- David Cameron – UK ?
- Angela Merkel – She’s European right? Germany ?
- Vladimir Putin – Russia. ?
Who won the World Cup in these years?
- 1966 – I have no idea, but because you’re asking me it must be England ?
- 1990 – I’m really bad at World Cups and to be honest I wasn’t born. 1986 was Argentina, I know that. I’ll go for... was it Holland? ? Germany
- 2002 – I was alive for this one. Brazil ?
What nationality are the following Arsenal legends?
- Dennis Bergkamp – Denmark? No, wait Holland! ?
- Anders Limpar –That must be Danish? Finnish? ? Swedish
- Lauren – Nigerian, no? ? Cameroon
In which country do Arsenal de Sarandi play?
Thailand ? Argentina
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