AS Monaco's Edan Diop on the ball

Ligue 1 Meets: Edan Diop

Ligue 1 Meets: Edan Diop

Publish on 03/10 at 10:00 - E. DEVIN


A product of the AS Monaco academy, in this exclusive interview, young Edan Diop (19 years old) talks about his discovery of professional football having been in the first team since last season. He reflects on his first appearance, his first goal, and help from his brother...

What memories do you have of your first steps with the first team last season?
I arrived in the group around mid-February. Coach Philippe Clement called on me just before the Europa League second leg against Bayer Leverkusen (February 23, 2023, 2-3, 3-5 on penalties). I came on at the hour mark and almost scored (his goal was disallowed). I could have been the hero of the evening! I also remember my first appearance in Ligue 1 Uber Eats against OGC Nice a few days later.

How did you experience your first times working with the group?
I felt a lot of pride and joy! It was a great reward for all the work done since I was five, the age when I started playing football.

Can you tell us about your first appearance against Bayer Leverkusen?
The coach called me to the bench and told me that I was going to come in instead of Chris (Matsima). I was very happy to have been able to make my first appearance in official competition with the first team. I remember my first touch of the ball like it was yesterday. It was during a recovery by the team where a player then passed to me, it remains engraved in my memory. I felt a lot of excitement.

“My first goal? I was a little shocked at the time”

How did you prepare for this match?
I had spoken with my brother just before (Sofiane Diop). He told me: “Be ready!” We don't know what the future holds!" He also insisted that I had to play football the way I know how. But I didn’t know at all that I was going to enter, I didn’t expect it at all!

Three days later, you come into play against OGC Nice (February 26, 2023, Matchday 25). What impressed you the most during your debut in Ligue 1 Uber Eats?
To begin with, it was in a derby, a match that we all want to win. And there was also my brother on the pitch. We ended up playing about twenty minutes against each other. It was special! We lost (0-3), but it remains a strong moment for me. I wasn't played in my regular position but that did not cause me any problems (he played as a right-back but has trained as a midfielder). I was just happy to play and debut in Ligue 1 Uber Eats.

You then scored your first goal against RC Strasbourg Alsace (April 2, 2023, Matchday 29). What did you feel at that moment?
I didn't expect to score at all. I was a little shocked at the time. Following an opposing free kick in our camp, Golo went up the whole pitch before passing to me and I finished with a touch. It was a well-done action on the part of the whole team. Everyone was happy for me. I remember Wissam (Ben Yedder) came to congratulate me.

A little over two months after your first appearance, you started for the first time against Montpellier Hérault SC (April 30, 2023, Matchday 33) How does it feel when you start in the eleven?
Excitement! A first start at 18 doesn't happen to everyone! It was a mixture of several feelings: I had a little pressure, the desire to do well... But at 18, you're still carefree! We put pressure on ourselves without really putting it on either (smiles). It is the desire to play that dominates.

“Everything is done so that when you arrive to the first team, you are not overwhelmed

How did you learn about this first start?
The day before the match, I saw that I was in the starting line-up in training. The coach then came to speak to me in the locker room and confirmed that I was going to start the match. He told me that I had to play like I was in training, that everything was going to go well. I immediately called my brother and he gave me some advice so as not to put any particular pressure on myself. He was the first person I told.

When we find ourselves in a Ligue 1 Uber Eats match, what changes the most compared to matches with the youth teams?
The intensity! It's not at all the same as during matches with the youth teams. There are also a lot more fans. It still adds a little pressure.

How did you manage to rise to the level of this type of match?
What helped me the most was the Academy’s Elite group (the reserves). As we face big European teams, especially during tournaments, it allows us to play matches with a lot of intensity and to be well prepared. Within this group, everything is done so that when you arrive at the pros, you are not overwhelmed. It really helped me! Afterwards, it plays out in your head. And technically too, you can't make a mistake.

“I try not to repeat the mistakes that Sofiane may have made”

You mentioned the fans a little earlier and you notably played at the Stade Bollaert last season (April 22, 2023, Matchday 32). What do we say to ourselves in the face of this type of atmosphere when a few months ago you were with the Elite Group?

It made me feel a little strange (smiles). At 18, playing at the Bollaert was beautiful. When I came on, I felt a special atmosphere, but it didn't impress me. I remember at one point I tried to talk to Ruben (Aguilar), who was 2-3 meters away from me, and he couldn't hear me. It showed that the atmosphere was there. It was pretty good.

What impact did your first appearances have beyond football?
In terms of my family and those around me, everyone believed in me and had confidence in my qualities. I wouldn't say it was normal for them to see me play with the pros but they expected it. I felt a small impact at the training center level, because when I started with the first team, I was always in midfield. As I had played in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, other young players saw me as a bit of a “star”. Otherwise, outside of it, it didn’t cause a big change. It was more internal.

And on social media?
Yes. On the networks, things go quickly with young people. I have felt this. I remember that after my first matches, people started filming me. It surprised me a little the first few times then I got used to it. It's part of the game!

You must not get lost at this point in your career, yes?
I am lucky to have my brother who has always been with me. He is there for me all the time. As he was also a young player, he experienced these things and he shares his experience with me. So, I take example and try not to repeat the mistakes he may have made.

“I’m the little brother, he’s the one behind me”

On what points does he support you the most?
In terms of professionalism! He knows how you can behave when you are a young player, so he gives me the maximum tools so that things go well for me, so that I put the maximum chances on my side. He talks to me about health, nutrition, sleep... For example, he always told me to avoid eating meals out, to pay attention to my nutrition or not to do everything my friends outside of football can do. I may not understand certain things on a daily basis as well, and he will explain them to me.

Do you debrief your matches?
Yes. We often talk about football. He watches my matches and calls me afterwards to ask me how I found myself. I share my opinion with him then he gives me his. I also sometimes give him feedback on his matches but I'm not the one supporting him. I'm the little brother, he's the one behind me. It’s not the opposite (laughs). It's more my parents who are behind him.

Does it put extra pressure on you to have a professional big brother?

Not so much! It’s more of a source of inspiration. It inspires me, as I tell myself that I want to do better than him!

Top videos