The passion, the confidence, the language skills, the immaculate appearance; Bordeaux's Paulo Sousa seemingly possesses all the tools a coach needs to cut it in the modern game. The 48-year-old developed his assured persona thanks to an illustrious playing career that notably included Champions League triumphs with Dortmund and Juventus. His coaching career has already taken him to nine different countries. The latest is France, and the south western hub of Bordeaux, a city that has already won him over.
"The city helps us do our jobs better"
Sousa told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN Sports: "It's fantastic, it's really really nice! The city helps us to do our jobs better, because when you don't like the other part of your life, it's much more difficult. I feel well to cross the streets and to go the shops or to get a coffee, the city offers you lots of things. Variety, not only the great wine they offer, probably one of the best in the world but also culturally it's a city that can offer you lots of things. I feel it really well. I feel like a Bordelais, completely!”
To add to the charms of the city, Bordeaux has, since May 2015, had a state of the art home for Les Girondins: the Matmut Atlantique. Having such a stadium at the club's disposal helped convince Sousa of the six-time French Champions' potential to return to the forefront of European football.
"Football is going in a way where also the quality of the stadiums, they are part of the quality of the football also as well. For that, I think this move it was important for our club. Coaches and players recognise it's a club that wants to move forward, and the infrastructures is part of that. Where we are here on the training facility, it's already some years ago it was outstanding, now they need to think to be renovate.”
Sousa was appointed to replace Ricardo as coach in early March, with the club's ambitious American owners hoping for a new dynamic both on and off the pitch. What was it that convinced Joe DaGrosa and co. that the former Fiorentina boss was indeed the right man to lead an institution in transition?
"The desire to win every game"
"They understand what type of coach I am, they know my profile of person, my human values, how they are important around the football and they want to follow me. They show me I am the right person to help them to build it up something special, or probably to rebuild something really special because this club has important history, and I want to create, in our team, in our players, in our club, the will, the desire to win every game.
"The passion and the dedication I put my job, it was the same, it is the same as when I played! When I made the decision to become a coach, my first thought was I become a coach to support and to help my players to develop tactically and mentally. The most important thing, is to be coherent with myself, I analyse other colleagues, not only regarding the tactical way, the way they promote football, but also leadership!"
Sousa has soaked up so much knowledge from working under some of the most renowned coaches in football history: "Our preparation is also analysing others! I remember some words from Fabio Capello saying we are stealers of the other ones, something like that, but we need to be ourselves!”