Yohan Cabaye : "It's not work, it's a passion"

In an exclusive interview, the former Parisian midfielder talks about his reconversion and his role as Sports Coordinator of the Paris Saint-Germain Training Centre.

Yohan, you arrived this summer as the head of the Training Centre, how did your first steps go?

"Very good. First of all, I was really happy to come back to Paris, to see the facilities again, to see people again I met a few years ago. It has always been a pleasure and it is even more so today. It's going well. I was very well received by the people I didn't know yet. The atmosphere has been very good since the beginning of the adventure, so I am really happy."

What does it mean to you to be back in Paris?

"What is special is to stop your career and move on to the post-career. I am taking it very well. I am really determined to do my job as well as possible and to guide the players every day. That's what matters most to me."

There have been a lot of changes for the youngsters this year with your arrival and that of Zoumana Camara at the head of the U19 group, was there an adaptation phase for you and them too?

"Zoumana has his ideas and has put them in place from the start. The players had to adapt to what him and his staff want. The results have been good. The progress, which is important, has been visible since day one until today. We are on to something good. The players have become aware that they have a quality coach and staff. They really listen. They try to carry out the coach's requests and they do it well. As for me, I arrived with my eyes wide open to observe and analyse what was going on. There were things in place that were already very good and that needed to be taken care of and developed... perhaps modified in certain situations. It happens naturally, the important thing is to create a good working atmosphere all together and that everyone is happy in the morning when they arrive at work. It's not even a job, it's a passion. We're all here together for the same goals."

What are your tasks as Sports Coordinator of the Training and Pre-Training Centre?

"It is to coordinate everything with all the staff: the sporting aspect, the accompaniment of the players, to be able to advise, to encourage, to call to order when necessary, to be close to the players and the staff on a daily basis. It's also about setting up a certain sporting organisation between all the teams so that it's mutualised and we can all be together with more or less the same principles, the same visions. There is also a recruitment part with Pierre Reynaud and his team with whom we are in constant contact and try to work together properly. It's going very well. There is also the relationship with the parents and the family which is also very important. The player is the centre of the project, we try to take them as high as possible but the family plays an important role. We want to be very close to the families and show a certain accessibility."

The results of the U19 Nationaux and U17 Nationaux are good. How important are these results?

"It's not the goal, even if we want to win the matches and competitions. It's about what the players experience, it gives them joy and confidence to win. That's how we cultivate the culture of winning. It's important, but the manner is the most important. For the development of the player, it is the most important. On the one hand, you have to win because it makes them hate defeat, but there is also the development of the player, which is essential for me. The recruitment is very well done, we have very high quality players. If we focus on their development, whether individually or collectively, with the objective of winning the game, we have a better chance of getting closer to our ultimate goals of winning competitions."

Beyond winning competitions, do you have other objectives in your mission?

"To guide the players as best as possible on a daily basis, as well as the staff. We are always in contact, we exchange a lot, we discuss a lot whether it is on the pitch or off it. My objective is that the players progress as much as possible and that this is visible in all aspects, be it technical, tactical, physical and especially mental. Prepare players for a career at the highest level and not a one or two year career. You have to try to last 15 years at the highest level. This is an objective that each player must have in order to progress. I want to pass this on to them."