During the World Cup, as well as focusing on the stories of our players representing their countries, we are also shining a light on those Gooners around the globe cheering on their nations.
Here, Remi talks about supporting France at World Cups, celebrating their successes and dreading matches against England...
I was born in the south of France, and I've been supporting the national team since I was a child. I was really young in 1998 when we hosted and won the World Cup, so it all started there.
I can remember my father being so excited in ‘98, and he got me into it all. We had some top players in France at the time, such as Robert Pires. He was the guy for me because my family is half-Portuguese, and he’s a French-Portuguese immigrant as well. The 1998 team was very broad in terms of social and immigration backgrounds.
My stepfather had the big thing every kid wanted in France at the time - Canal+. They were the only broadcaster to show anything other than the French championship, and Arsenal was the main club that they were showing, because of their French players and Arsene Wenger, so they quickly became my favourite English team.
During my teenage years I kind of got away from football a little bit, but moving to London in 2014 brought me back in, especially as I moved in with some Gooners, which reconnected me completely. When you live in London for six months and you love football, you understand just how much the club is part of your identity within the city. That was it - I was going to be a Gooner for life.
I hadn't come to London, and worked on my English the way I did, to hang out with French people, but that’s actually something I love the most about Arsenal - the fanbase is incredibly diverse. I’m just hoping we’re going to see more French players at Arsenal. It’s a tradition we lost with Wenger leaving, but you never know, maybe we’re going to find some more in the next couple of years to find a friend for good old Saliba!
With it being William's first World Cup, we want him to be amazing. After all, the last time France won a World Cup with an Arsenal player in their team, Emmanuel Petit scored the last goal in the final!
Winning it again in 2018 was amazing. London is not a French city, but about for six hours, it felt like it was. The weird thing was that for the first time in ages, we didn’t have an Arsenal player in the French squad, so I couldn’t really share the joy with my fellow Gooners, especially as England went out in the semis.
That was a weird feeling, because you want your fellow Gooners to feel the good vibes, and for England to win a trophy - because it’s been a while! In 2018, there was a risk of a France v England final. That was my worst nightmare because you lose in both scenarios: if you win, all your mates are crushed and you can't celebrate with them, but if you lose then you’re crushed as everybody celebrates around you.
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