Källström: 'Extremely happy in France'
By R. Thomson
Despite being linked with a move to Aston Villa, OL's Kim Källström told L1.com Editor-in-Chief Robbie Thomson that he loves life in France and that his main goal is to enjoy his career - while still playing to win. Exclusive interview.
Ligue1.com: First of all, Kim, what's the correct way of pronouncing your name?
Kim Källström: In Swedish, it's pronounced 'shellstrom', but in France they say 'kallstrom'. Actually when I arrived in France seven years ago now, they started to call me 'kallstrom' and you know, it's always more difficult for me to explain it, so I stick to 'kallstrom'. It really doesn't matter for me. Honestly it all started out with a Canal+ commentator who had a Swedish or Norwegian wife who said it's not right to call him 'kallstrom' and so now everyone asks me all the time. It's 'shellstrom'/'kallstrom'!
L1.com: How did it all start out for you, playing in Sweden?
KK: I started for a team called Häcken, a small club in Gothenburg. We were in the second division in my first year. I was 16 or 17 and we won the second league and we were promoted to the first league. I was young, I was 18 and I played there for three seasons and the last season we went down to the second division again. That's when I went to Djurgårdens, where I played for two years. When I went there I was 20 and I had already played four seasons with a professional side; I had some experience.
L1.com: At the time of your transfer to Djurgårdens, there was a lot of talk about AC Milan looking at you…
'AC Milan: just rumours'
KK: Yeah well, there were a lot of rumours but I was just young. I had played at BK Häcken, an extremely small club with no pressure. I wanted to go to a bigger club, and even though the Swedish league isn't the biggest in Europe, I wanted to try playing at a big club with a lot of people and some more pressure. So I stayed there for two years before I went to France. For me, it was two great years there. We won the double in the first year and won the championship in the second year as well. I started my international career as well during this time. Honestly, AC Milan don't need players from small clubs in Sweden, they should get bigger players. They were just rumours. I wasn't interested in going to the youth academy over there, nor for any club in Europe, and I preferred to play for a first team.
L1.com: Why did you choose Rennes? How happy are you now that you've spent most of your career in France?
'I enjoy living in France'
KK: Extremely happy. I enjoy it here on a personal and a social level, it's a great country. And now I play for the biggest club in the country. I chose Rennes because I was young, and I heard that there were a lot of young players from France who were doing well and I said to myself that it could be great for my development to go to a club that has faith in young players and works to develop young talent. Also, Rennes was an up-and-coming club, so why not? I had a good feeling about it even though in the end, you never know. Now I'm extremely happy with my decision.
L1.com: What's in the future for Kim Källström? You're only 28 and have many years left of playing football… you've won the French League, reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and you're an international with Sweden. What's left?
'Sometimes it's life that chooses for you'
KK: When you're young, it's so easy to answer questions like that. You want to do this, achieve that. I'd like to just play and enjoy myself. Play to win; here at Lyon we always play to win. I just want to meet good players, play with good players, play big games with Sweden and Lyon and just enjoy my career. I think that's the answer, you know? It sounds good to say you want to go to that club or that club, but you can't always choose. Sometimes it's life that chooses for you.
L1.com: You say you want to play with good players. Who are the best players you've played with in France? You were part of an excellent Rennes team…
KK: The best player I played with was, I would say, Juninho. He was great. He was a great character on the field and off it. He was a great player.
L1.com: Did he teach you how to take free kicks?
KK: That's impossible! He played like only he can play. His free kicks are incredible but he is also really good in open play as well. Sometimes people focused only on his set pieces, saying he could only take free kicks and corners, but he in open play he was great. He was really important for us.