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First words: Papy Djilobodji

The official Chelsea website spoke to our new signing Papy Djilobodji at the club's training ground. We found the Senegalese defender excited for what lay ahead after his move from Ligue 1 side Nantes…

Welcome to Chelsea Papy. How does it feel to be a Chelsea player?

I am really happy to be a Chelsea player. I have come here to learn and to go to higher places with the club, and to win trophies as well. I’m really happy and I want to show all my qualities and skills not just to the manager and the players, but also to the supporters.

How was your first day at Cobham?

It went really well. It was absolutely brilliant to be out there training.

I spoke to the manager who welcomed me which was really nice of him and I thanked him. I spoke to the players that are here, people like John Terry, Falcao, Oscar and Loic Remy, and I even had a bit of banter with some of the youngsters that were training.

Did you know any of the squad beforehand?

I didn’t know any of them but I have played against some that have been in the French leagues previously, people like Eden Hazard when he was at Lille and Falcao when he was at Monaco. The rest of them I have seen on TV because I watch lots of Premier League matches, and now I am here with them I just want to prove myself and show what I have got to offer.

What have been your impressions of English football when you have seen it on TV?

The quality of football is always really high. People have told me I have an English style of play, and what I’m going to do is keep adapting my style of play so I can play like everyone here.

Football is a sport that when you’re playing you’re giving joy to the people watching, so I want to give it everything I have got to give that pleasure to everyone at the club and to our supporters.

For supporters who haven’t seen you play, could you tell us what your strengths as a player are?

I am a defender and I want to do my job well, which is to defend well and to not let things get past me. Technically-speaking I am making a lot of progress. From this point onwards I am going to be looking for advice from the manager and implement what he advises me to do and what my team-mates want me to do.

Playing as part of a group like this you’re a team and you can’t be doing your own thing, so I need to integrate myself and let other people help me integrate so we can work together towards winning things, which is what this club is all about.   

We have a long history of signing African players, including from France…

I am really happy about the club’s African history and it gives me a lot of pleasure to know so many great players have been at this club and have left something behind. Obviously I have just arrived but I want to do exactly what they’ve done. They’re role models and I want to emulate them.

When you play at a club like this the whole of Africa is watching. I want to give it my all and create really good expectations for all my young African brothers.

Another defender with African heritage, Marcel Desailly, was a great defender for Chelsea, and he started his career at Nantes. Was he someone you looked up when you were growing up?

He was a great role model. I actually had the opportunity to meet him at Nantes when he came to training with my coach and he gave me some advice, telling me that now I had made it this far I had to keep working hard.

There is the added element that he was a defender like me, so I would love to follow in his footsteps. If I have the opportunity to see him again I will ask him questions and take whatever advice he gives and try and apply it on the field to help me move forward. 


A clip of Papy Djilobodji talking to Chelsea TV can be watched below with a full interview available now via Video on Demand, with Fan Club Plus membership.