Moussa Niakhate in charge of Mainz, scoring against RB Leipzig and more



Moussa Niakhate was appointed Mainz captain ahead of the 2021/22 season following the departure of Danny Latza. It’s an honor the Frenchman took in his stride as he and Mainz started the new campaign in fantastic form.

French defender Niakhate sits with to discuss paternity, become captain of Mainz, the change of the club under Bo Svensson and play against Mohamed Salah of Liverpool … Congratulations on becoming a father – how happy does it make you?

Moussa Niakhate: “Thank you very much. This is a huge time in a man’s life. I am very, very happy. A new life has started.” Does becoming a father give you even more strength as a person?

Niakhate: “No, it doesn’t give you more strength. It’s something outside of football in my private life. It hasn’t given me more strength as a footballer. But it’s extremely important to me personally. . “ What did our teammates give you as a gift to become a father? And how happy are they for you?

Niakhate: “Everyone is happy when that happens. They are my colleagues, I am close to them. So they are all very happy. We always give each other little gifts every time someone becomes a father – whether it is a player. , a trainer or a staff member. We have a tradition of giving you a shirt with the baby’s name on the back and the father’s number. “ You are now the official club captain, why were you chosen for this role?

Niakhate: “Why? You will have to ask the coach, Bo Svensson. It was his decision. It’s the coach so it’s up to him to decide. I am very happy to have received this honor. To be the captain of Mainz is truly an honor for me. “

It’s fair to say that taking up his duties as Mainz captain took Moussa Niakhate’s performance to another level. – LDF What is your agreement with Leipzig? You always seem to find the back of the net against them.

Niakhate: “No, there is no special story. It’s funny. It’s football. Football is full of magical and amazing moments. Sometimes there are weird things like that, clubs against which we score a lot. Leipzig and Gulacsi, that’s the club I’ve scored the most goals with in the Bundesliga. “ Since Svensson’s arrival in Mainz the team have had good results. You have also had a good start to the Bundesliga season. How do you explain this good series of results?

Niakhate: “We were in a very difficult situation when Bo Svensson arrived in January. He was smart about his way into the club. He was very calm and collected. He had his own way of thinking and the desire to work hard. players responded very well to what he said. We didn’t have time to think too much, we just listened to the coach. And the results followed. Everyone gives 100 percent. And when we gives 100 percent in practice and in every game the results are coming. “ What are your goals for the season?

Niakhate: “I don’t know what our goals are yet. It’s not my job to determine the club’s goals. I’m just giving my all every game. And make sure we’re not in the same situation as we were in which we met last year. We have to start the championship well and then take it game by game. “

To concern: Niakhate scored the only goal in a large victory over Leipzig on MD1! What did Bo Svensson mean when he said you play like you want to stay in Mainz forever?

Niakhate: “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him. I think he said that some time ago, when we were in preseason and the transfer window was open. He means I’m giving it my all. in training every day. There are always rumors and big clubs interested in me. He knows football and he was professional. There are some players who can relax a bit in training. they know other clubs are interested in them and are getting a little less serious. Despite all the noise around me last summer, I stayed totally focused. I gave 100% in every training session , I played everyday with a smile on my face. I think that’s what he was saying. “ You played against Liverpool in a pre-season friendly and apparently Mo Salah didn’t like playing against you. Why was that?

Niakhate: “It was a great game. I enjoyed playing against such a great club. They have great players like Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. It was a good duel between us. It was tough, but that’s it. that I like in football. No, there was no resentment at all. We talked after the game and we laughed together, we said thank you. is up against a lot during the game. But I wanted to show what I was capable of against great players like Mo Salah. “ Your good performances are noticed. Are you proud to be seen so well in the Bundesliga?

Niakhate: “I am glad that my hard work in training and in matches is seen and appreciated. As you said, the fact that these big clubs care about me proves that I am doing well. I am very demanding of me. – even and I want to do better all the time. I know I can keep improving – I still have a lot to show the world of football. “ Who do you think is the best central defender in the Bundesliga?

Niakhate: “I wouldn’t name a single player. There are a lot of good center-backs at big clubs like Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Leipzig or Wolfsburg. It would be difficult for me to name just one.” How about you?

Niakhate: “I would never say it myself, that’s for sure. I don’t know who the better defender is. But it’s certainly true that there are a lot of good center-backs here in the Bundesliga.”


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