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Traoré: 'A pleasure to be back in France'

Ligue 1 Conforama > ligue1show
16/09/2017

Bertrand Traoré may be just 22, but the former Chelsea attacker has already experienced a lot.

Now back in France, the Olympique Lyonnais forward is relishing the chance to prove himself in Ligue 1 Conforama, and certainly isn't afraid of Sunday's opponents Paris Saint-Germain.

"I feel good, I feel good, it's a pleasure for me to be back in France. I've been watching the French Ligue 1 since I was very young, so it's, yes, a really good level," Traoré told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN Sports.

"We have some great quality, we have players who can decide a game. Yes, we can be great. I think I haven't done my best performance yet. I still have to improve, I still have to do more. As an attacking player I still have to bring more to the team."

Traoré in action against Apollon Limassol in the Europa League

PSG game 'massive'

Lyon are still unbeaten this season heading into their trip to the Parc des Princes after grinding out a 2-1 win over EA Guingamp last weekend. However, facing this PSG side - who have won all their games so far - in the capital is the ultimate test.

"It's always massive to play against PSG. They have a quality squad, quality players and are on top of the table. We will play our own way of playing, the same way we always play, we have to defend and attack together. I hope we will the first to stop them."

Destined for the top

It seems Traoré was always destined for a career in football. Both his father and mother played for Burkina Faso, yet Bertrand's role model has always been his big brother, the former FC Lorient and AJ Auxerre midfielder Alain Traoré.

"I always say that he's like my idol, I always look to him. I always wanted to do like him. I think we both have got our qualities. I think Alain's main quality is his shooting. He's got a better shot than me."

Alain was already starring in Ligue 1 when he helped Bertrand to secure a trial with Auxerre. And it was in Burgundy that his European odyssey began.

Traoré opens Ligue 1 Conforama account in style

"When I first arrived in France, I was joining the academy in Auxerre, the first time I was 13. And then when I saw the pitches it was something great already, and they gave me the training kit, the sports bag with everything inside, new boots, everything. So it a joy for me, I was just happy to play."

Traoré was something of a child prodigy. By the tender age of just 15, he was already playing senior international football, and Europe's leading clubs took notice. Chelsea won the race for the talented teen, and at the age of 18, he was handed his first professional contract by José Mourinho.

"Jose always says what he thinks and always says the truth. He said: 'you are a very talented player, a young player, you still have to progress, you have to improve, you have to work hard'. I was out on loan to Vitesse (Arnhem), I did well, I scored many goals there. He called me back, he told me: 'what you did over there was good, but to play in Chelsea first team you have to do three times more."

'Competitor'

Traoré showed great determination and was rewarded with 10 Premier League appearances in the 2015/16 season. But Mourinho's sacking came at a bad time for the youngster. As he said: "If José was still at Chelsea, maybe I would still be there, I don't know."

Mourinho's successor Antonio Conte sent Traoré out on loan again, this time to Ajax. And again, Traore excelled - helping the Dutch team reach the Europa League final - before this summer deciding to cut his ties with the Blues.

He said: "It was a bit hard, but I'm a competitor. I want to play. I think it's the right time for me now, I think Lyon is the right club for me. This year I think the main thing is to win a trophy, one big trophy, finish top three and then play the final of the Europa League again but this time win it."

>> PLAYER PROFILE: Bertrand Traoré

>> THE LIGUE 1 SHOW: More from the programme








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