“No regrets leaving PSG” / Liga / Girona-Seville / SOFOOT.com

Leaving PSG at 17, then Bayern Munich this summer after two contrasting seasons, Tanguy Nianzou became at 20 a central defender who counts in Sevilla FC of Jorge Sampaoli, 17e of Liga. He assumes his career choices and measures the path he still has to go before claiming the France team.


What is your assessment of your first months at Sevilla FC, where you arrived this summer?
I can do better. I fitted in well. The first phase was that above all: getting to know my new teammates, the city, learning Spanish, adapting to another football, to the methods of a new coach. (Julen Lopetegui, dismissed on October 5, and replaced by Jorge Sampaoli, editor’s note). So I was more into learning about this new environment to begin with. And now, I feel that it is getting better and better on all levels.

Have you ever felt so important in a club?
Important, I don’t know. You can’t say that I’m a regular either. Absolutely no one is, whatever the position, so I don’t feel settled if that’s the question.

“We have nothing to do at the 17e place, and we are going to demonstrate it on the ground. »

But you chain the matches much more than at PSG (2019-2020) or Bayern Munich (2020-2022) in any case…
I play a little more, it’s true (16 games in all competitions, with a right leg quadriceps injury which deprived him of 5 games, editor’s note)but I don’t want to stay on my laurels and say to myself: “I’m a starter, it’s good, I can rest a bit. » No, that’s not how it works. Especially not. I have to do more, try to progress even more by working.

At which level ?
Especially in terms of concentration. I am aware that I sometimes have lapses in concentration, which can lead me to lose a ball for no reason during certain matches.

How to explain Sevilla FC’s complicated first part of the season, only 17e in La Liga and transferred to the Europa League after being eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League?
I don’t really know, but we can’t deny that we didn’t live up to what we wanted to do. We will try to do much better and to be respected on the pitch during the second half of the season. We got off to a good start with this victory against Getafe (2-1, last Sunday, editor’s note). We have top players, like Ivan Rakitić, world champions (Marcos Acuna, Gonzalo Montiel and Papu Gómez, Editor’s note)… It’s true, we have nothing to do there, and we will demonstrate it on the pitch.

What do Jorge Sampaoli’s workouts look like?
They are intense! That’s what we like. He has the gritted. He wants duels, pressing, but also that we keep the ball, that we play quietly. But when the ball is lost, it’s direct counter-pressing. And if you don’t run, you’re in danger. (Laughs.) We’re going to yell at you, run into you. To me, he asks me not to lose the ball, to be calm, to find the elimination pass to advance the game. To take risks, but at the right time, to sum up.

He likes to play with three centre-backs. It suits you ?
He can play with a line of three, four, five. It can really change depending on the opponent. It’s modern football, you have to know how to adapt constantly.

What position do you feel most comfortable in?
I am able to adapt to anything. Three or four, I don’t mind. I can also help out in the middle, as happened to me at Bayern, but not yet here. But I remain a central defender, the position for which I was trained.

“The competition was great at Bayern, because it was healthy, but after a while you want to play. And so the solution was to leave. »

What made you decide to leave Bayern Munich, where you nevertheless gained playing time during your second season (22 games, all competitions combined)?
I wanted to spend even more time on the pitch, so that I could progress. For two seasons, it was a bit difficult. And I’m happy with my choice, because I found what I was looking for here in Sevilla: I have more opportunities to show myself and raise my level.

But 22 games in one season at Bayern, at 19, isn’t bad, isn’t it?
Yes, but between playing five games and playing a whole season, there is a difference. I wanted more. The competition was great at Bayern, because it was healthy, but after a while you want to play. And so the solution was to leave.

What did you learn in Bavaria?
To make the right decision at the right time. I tended to do things at the wrong time when I arrived at Bayern, which could lead to loss of ball in particular. I also progressed mentally. I arrived at 18. France is not Germany. Over there, it’s 1D at the 90e minute. We run, we press, from the beginning to the end of the match. And a little training session does not exist. We give our all, all the time, even on a session after a match. And then rubbing shoulders with Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski or Joshua Kimmich on a daily basis, who impresses me a lot, that necessarily makes you progress.

“My departure from PSG? I have no regrets. Bayern was an important step in my journey. »

Looking back, do you regret leaving PSG at 17?
No way. I have no regrets. Bayern was an important step in my journey. It taught me that nothing is certain, and that you always have to work to get what you want. You can proclaim everywhere “I want to play”, but without the work, it’s useless.

You played six games in your first season in Germany. This playing time, you could also have had it in Paris, don’t you think?
With ifs, we remake the world. If I had stayed, maybe something else would have happened. I’m gone, so we’ll never know.

Why did you leave, precisely, without the guarantee of having more playing time and knowing that the competition was no less fierce than at PSG?
For the club project, which pleased me and those around me. And it’s really no regrets.

On February 14, there is a PSG-Bayern in the knockout stages of the Champions League…
(He smiles.) And I will obviously watch it, like everyone else. It’s going to be a great game, may the best win. My heart will swing for… the ball. (Laughs.) I will support both teams.

“When the Argentinians returned to training, they spoke well of the French players and know that they were also hot in the final. »

How did you experience the World Cup, you who went through all the categories of young people in the France team?
Like a fan in front of his TV, supporting friends. We were all behind them. The Argentinians deserved their victory, there is nothing to say. As a Frenchman, I was not chambered by my world champion teammates, that’s fine. When they came back here, they spoke well of the French players and know that they were also hot in the final. They trembled. It came down to very little in the end.

Varane, Konaté, Upamecano, Hernandez, Kimpembe, Saliba, even Fofana and Kalulu… The French breeding ground is rich at your post. How to explain it?
There is an exceptional level, it is true. We could see it at the World Cup again. How come ? I do not know. But our training centers are very good, that’s for sure. The French central defenders, today, are difficult to pass, but also know how to raise, dribble, they know how to do everything.

How far are you from the Blues?
I don’t ask myself the question and don’t try to compare myself to others. I try to work as well as possible on my side and to progress. I focus on that first and foremost. The national team is obviously a goal for all players, but what has to happen will happen. I don’t think about that.

You are only 20 years old. Do we forget it and are the expectations around you excessive?
They are not at all, because I have to be at the level. It does not bother me. I’m asked to play like someone experienced and that’s what I try to do. It doesn’t scare me.

Interview by Thomas Broggini, in Seville