“My children want to wear Mbappé’s jersey to go to school”

Dimitri, Monday evening, Bollaert stadium, your Cassel team against PSG. We are almost at kick-off. Tell us what’s going on.
We weren’t aware that Neymar was going to play, we thought he would be on the bench. With Kiba (Sane)we looked at each other and said: Yeah, I think it’s going to be very complicated. “I had Neymar and Mbappé coming in from the side, with Nuno Mendes, who from three meters is so explosive, it’s unbelievable. We still managed to last 28 minutes, to recover a few balls. Because they have these ball protections… The way they attack half-spaces, it’s unbelievable. Even if you close the interior on Mbappé, you have Neymar in the back, etc. With Vitinha putting on these balls, with surgical precision… It’s crazy. And again, Verratti was not there (to laugh). Once they scored, it was a steamroller. That’s crazy. They know each other by heart. It’s going very, very, very fast.

Difficult to summarize this 16th final in one action. But this exit from the ball where your team chained passes against PSG of Mbappé and Neymar marked the spirits more than ever. Tell us about this moment.
In all the messages of support and thanks that we have received, many mention this action. It was crazy. On beIN Sports, they said: “ It’s amazing what they are doing! “We chained 7-8 passes from behind against a PSG in the laundry, it’s huge. When you manage to do that… It’s unlikely against PSG, and it’s already beautiful. People said to themselves: But what is this team? But that’s what we wanted. We wanted to show people.

In the end, what shocked you the most about this PSG?
Mbappe. Too fast… Really, too, too fast. What also shocked me was his humility. Unbelievable. I chatted and laughed with him. Twice, I touch him more or less in the area with at least one penalty which could have been whistled. When I make a touch, laughing, I make a small gesture to him that he had dived. And he was laughing. It’s super simple. At the start of the match, I go to see him, I ask him: “Hello Mr. Mbappé, can I have your t-shirt? » He answers me : “No, it’s Kylian. » I tell him : “You were stratospheric with the France team in 2018 and in 2022 at the World Cup. » Do you know what he answered me? “Thank you, that’s nice, but we lost. » He is the aggressiveness of always winning. We took five goals from the future Ballon d’Or and the future captain of the France team. He is a role model for young people.

We took five goals from the future Ballon d’Or and the future captain of the France team. He is a role model for young people.

Dimitri Santrain

What happened in the hallways after the game?
They were all nice, frankly! A total love. They did things they never do. We weren’t in their locker room but our children were able to come into the halls with us. I have two little boys. They took pictures, signed autographs, t-shirts. Everything is settled in their way of life. There they stopped every time. What took them? Two to three minutes each, but the kids had stars in their eyes. Even us kids! You played against Mbappé, Neymar, Sergio Ramos who has four Champions Leagues, Navas… And coach Galtier has a presence too… Incredible. I also think back to the entry of the players. You have Sergio Ramos coming and slapping my hand like that. There, already, it was crazy. I left with Kylian Mbappé’s jersey signed by him and Hakimi. I was able to take pictures with my children and Hakimi, Danilo Pereira, Renato Sanches, Sergio Ramos and, the most beautiful, Mbappé. My children already want to put on the jersey to go to school…

The end point of three days that will remain engraved.
We had a lot of communion with the supporters during the previous three rounds, because there had been an invasion of the pitch, etc. There, we were also able to commune with each other, between players. We had an incredible weekend of cohesion. We had the same performance as the pro players when they go to hotels. We went to visit La Gaillette (The RC Lens training center, Editor’s note), Bollaert when it was empty. We met the coach of Lens (Frank Haise), who spoke to us for a quarter of an hour. Someone very simple, very humble. Players donated cleats. There was (Adrian) Thomasson, (Julian) Cardinal, (Massadio) Haidara, (Lois) Openda… Incredible. We watched them against PSG three weeks ago and there we saw them in real life. It was crazy. They were giving advice on PSG. It was amazing. I’m very proud to have shared this with my friends. It’s unforgettable. We are all still on our cloud. I went to bed at five in the morning, enough time to come down a bit, look at the pictures, respond to people…

You are a banking advisor. It’s going to be hard to go back to, isn’t it?
I resume tomorrow (Wednesday). But it’s a daydream. Few R1 players can say they played the PSG armada at Bollaert. We will have to get back on the daily grind of the championship. We are expected in Marck-en-Calaisis (Leader of the championship; Pays de Cassel, with one match less, is only one point away, Editor’s note) ! But the organizations will have to recover… We took a few hits. It would be huge to succeed in the climb to N3 with the 16th against PSG. I stop in four months, at 35 years old. What I’m going through is huge.