Footballers from Indian Super League team Mumbai City were at the PUMA store at Linking Road in Mumbai recently and we got to meet Gabriel Fernandes, Frederic Piquionne, Sunil Chhetri and Subrata Pal along with Bengaluru FC manager Ashley Westwood who asked a few questions himself. We caught up with Piquionne, too, to get his thoughts on the ISL and a few stars in European football.
Frédéric, can you tell us about your experience in India so far? Anything that has surprised you?
Nothing bizarre. I was surprised about the football. Last season was the first edition and I saw many matches last year. I have many friends who played in the ISL like Robert Pires, Gregory, Mikael Silvestre, he played here as well. He told me good things about the league and that everything here is very well organized. I was surprised by the physicality in the game here.
How do you stay mentally prepared for every game when matches come thick and fast?
I still play the same way. It’s just sometimes when you play like three games in four days it’s hard. I am 37 years old now, but I still feel fit. I can’t play the entire 90 minutes at the same level, so sometimes of course I look to drop back.
I need to be relaxed to help my team, to make good passes and to have good control on the ball. But I think Nicolas Anelka and the staff can count on me and my teammates. So it’s looking good.
You don’t play like a typical number 9; you sometimes drift to the wings as well.
(Laughs) Yeah, but now with age not on my side I can’t run on the wings as much as I used to. I can do it but now I need to stay focused on blocking the two centre backs, staying in the box and you can see that I look for many headers. I need to stay in the box and be more focused as a proper number 9.
You’re good friends with Karim Benzema; can you talk a bit about him?
Karim is one of my best friends. When he was young he used to come to my house and we used to talk about the game. Even now we talk every day with each other.
As a player, his performance is good. Karim is one of the best players to play together with because he is smart, he can give you a lot of assists, he can score and he likes playing his football. I think in the future, if he plays like this and if he can manage to score some more goals, he can win the Ballon d’Or.
Your best moment of your career so far?
My best moment; well, I’ve got two. One was earning my first cap for the French national team and the second one is when we played the cup final with Portsmouth in Wembley against Chelsea. We lost the game to Anelka (laughs) but it was good.
Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
I know some people like comparing them, but I think they’re not the same type of players. Ronaldo, of course, is one of the best. He scores a lot, a lot of goals continuously for six, seven years. Maybe 50 goals a year? That’s amazing. And Messi is more of a dribbler and can play with his back to the goal and scores goals too.
But I don’t think we can compare both the players.
What is the craziest experience you’ve had so far? (asked by Westwood)
I was once asked to sign a pair of boobs for someone!Published 31 Oct 2015, 17:23 IST