|When a dream comes true|
I was only 5 years old when I first played football in a club at Bellegarde in France (Ain).
As from secondary school, I was both gifted and fascinated with football, so I decided to include football as a special option in my courses. That was the good decision. Day after day, I improved my game and was called for the Rhône-Alpes selection at the age of 12 1/2. I then took part in the Predator Cup (which is an evaluated training course of the 64 best junior talents in France at Clairefontaine).
I joined Auxerre's training centre on August 1st, 2000. I was leaving home for the very first time in my life to go to an unknown destination, full of uncertainties and challenges.
The first year went pretty well eventhough I missed my family. However, I was lucky in that they came to visit me a lot so that made me stronger with good performance on the pitch and new mates. Days were long without my family. I was working very hard as I had an ultimate but uncertain goal in mind.
Each season end was hard as friendships were broken up. Because of a lack of performance, some of my mates had to leave. I couldn't have imagined this happening to me at the time. I didn't have any other plan. All I had was all my energy and my hard work both aimed at being a professional player.
At the age of 16, I got upgraded and played in the Under-18 team. I performed a good season with team-mates and opponents, some of them being 3 years older than me. From time to time, I played with the Under-16 team in order to help them. I then won my first Trophy in the context of France Under-16 Championship and I also captained the France Under-16 team.
At 17, Guy ROUX made me start training with the professional group. That was when I realised something was possible. I then played several matches with France CFA, the Club's professional reserve group which led me to be a substitute during the European Cup at PSV Eindhoven. I had number 35 and my name written on my shirt and was thinking "don't let anything go, you will play on this team very shortly". I was highly motivated. I couldn't have imagined being at such a level while still being in the training centre.
My mates kept asking me things and I had to avoid showing how proud I was and remain the same man, so as to be a model and not deceive them.