Near and Far: Kurt Zouma
feature Wed 8 Feb 2017
Kurt Zouma is the latest player to answer questions about his own country and others elsewhere in the world...
What for you characterises your country?
Well, firstly, I was born there which makes it special to me. France is a really nice country and, like England, we have lots of people from all over the world living there. Many people visit France to go to Paris and some of the other big cities like Lyon, where I was born. There is a lot to do there and of course everybody likes the French accent.
Which is your favourite part of France?
My favourite place in France is the Champs-Elysees [pictured below] in Paris. It’s always nice to go there, do some shopping and just have a walk around.
Is there anywhere in your country you would like to visit that you haven’t been to before?
Yes, I would say the city of Lille. It’s meant to be a very good city but I haven’t had the opportunity to go there yet. Eden used to play there and he’s always telling me good things about it so hopefully I will be able to go there soon.
Tell us something about football in your country that we might not know?
All of the academies in France are very strong, they have a lot of talented players. You can see that in the France national team because the squad is quite young. We have some of the best academies in the world.
Apart from football, what are the most popular sports in your country?
I would say basketball and rugby. Basketball is very popular. Everybody watches NBA but the French game is also quite big, and we have a very good rugby team as well so a lot of people watch that.
Did you play any of them?
I played a little bit of basketball for enjoyment when I was younger, but never rugby.
When was the first time you left your country?
It was when I was called up for the France Under-16 team for the first time. We went to play a tournament in Turkey and we won it. It was a strange experience and it was the first time I’d ever been on a plane, but obviously it was good that we won the competition.
Which languages do you speak and are there any others you would like to learn?
I speak French and pretty good English. I would like to learn Spanish because it’s another of the main ones, as well as Arabic. I only had a few English lessons when I arrived here but you pick it up quickly by having conversations every day and just listening to people.
Where in the world would you like to go that you’ve never been before?
I would like to go to the country where my parents were born, Central African Republic. I've never been and it would be amazing to see what the country is like one day.
Where do you see yourself living when you finish playing football?
Near my family, back in Lyon. You never know, but that’s what I would like to do.