Interview

One more step

The centre-back will need to be at his best if Paris are to go one better this season.

Presnel Kimpembe's Champions League career has been full of ups and downs. Since making his debut as a replacement for injured Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva in a 4-0 win against Barcelona, the French international has endured his share of disappointments, not least conceding a last-minute penalty that led to elimination against Manchester United and suffering final heartbreak against Bayern München last season. Yet having succeeded Silva as skipper and avenged the Bayern defeat in this year's quarter-finals, the centre-back is determined that this year, Paris will go all the way.

You made your Champions League debut in 2017 against Barcelona, in a 4-0 win no less – how was that experience?

The day before the game, I learnt that Thiago Silva was ruled out. Honestly, I didn’t think about myself straight away. I thought that the coach might put Serge Aurier in the middle, or [Thiago] Motta at the time.

The coach came to see me in my room and told me that I needed to be ready because I was going to start the next day. Obviously, that was good news for me, but it was a lot of pressure. It was positive pressure, though. That was the game that kick-started my career. Most people didn’t necessarily know me yet, and that was nothing but positive for me.

In 2019, you scored the first and only goal of your career so far. Do you remember it?

I’d scored goals before then, but they didn’t count. [laughs] In 2019, I scored my first goal in the Champions League against Manchester United at Old Trafford. We won 2-0, and the whole team had a great game. I scored the first goal, which kind of opened up the game, and a lot of emotions and things came out of me at that point. I wanted to celebrate, but I was so emotional, and my team-mates were running after me, so I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to be able to help the team and break the deadlock in that game, though, so that sticks in my memory.

Kimpembe on his Champions League debut (top); Kimpembe as Paris captain (above)

Of course, that great moment was followed by a less enjoyable one in the second leg. How did you feel after being penalised for the handball which led to Marcus Rashford's late penalty?

The second leg was really disappointing because that handball led to the penalty that led to the goal that knocked us out. So, of course, for a Titi [child of Paris] like me and a fan of the club, above all, that was really difficult to get over. It took me some time to get back on my feet, but you have to be able to pick yourself up after you fall. That was a key moment in my career because it was the start of a major disappointment and a long moment of… How do I put it? A long moment of doubt, let’s say. 

Fast-forward to 2020, when you helped Paris reach the final. What was that match like for you?

When the referee blew the final whistle, it was an immediate disappointment because we realised that we’d missed out on something big. A Champions League final against Bayern München was a big deal. We could see that we had the chance to be crowned European champions, so it still sticks in our throats, but with hindsight, we’ve realised that we achieved something incredible that the club had never done before. So we know that we wrote our names in history, and that’s something big that will remain etched in our memories. 

You obviously met Bayern again in this season's quarter-finals and came out on top this time. Do you feel that they were two legendary games, or is it just us journalists getting a bit ahead of ourselves?

That’s how we feel, obviously, because we were playing against the European champions. It was two big teams with big players facing off against each other, and we managed to put in the two performances needed to go through. We won the first leg having been put under a lot of pressure, but it was good because we were under pressure together. In the second leg, we did what was needed, with the whole team controlling the game well. We did lose 1-0, but overall, it was a complete performance, and we’re all really proud.

Presnel Kimpembe's Champions League career has been full of ups and downs. Since making his debut as a replacement for injured Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva in a 4-0 win against Barcelona, the French international has endured his share of disappointments, not least conceding a last-minute penalty that led to elimination against Manchester United and suffering final heartbreak against Bayern München last season. Yet having succeeded Silva as skipper and avenged the Bayern defeat in this year's quarter-finals, the centre-back is determined that this year, Paris will go all the way.

You made your Champions League debut in 2017 against Barcelona, in a 4-0 win no less – how was that experience?

The day before the game, I learnt that Thiago Silva was ruled out. Honestly, I didn’t think about myself straight away. I thought that the coach might put Serge Aurier in the middle, or [Thiago] Motta at the time.

The coach came to see me in my room and told me that I needed to be ready because I was going to start the next day. Obviously, that was good news for me, but it was a lot of pressure. It was positive pressure, though. That was the game that kick-started my career. Most people didn’t necessarily know me yet, and that was nothing but positive for me.

In 2019, you scored the first and only goal of your career so far. Do you remember it?

I’d scored goals before then, but they didn’t count. [laughs] In 2019, I scored my first goal in the Champions League against Manchester United at Old Trafford. We won 2-0, and the whole team had a great game. I scored the first goal, which kind of opened up the game, and a lot of emotions and things came out of me at that point. I wanted to celebrate, but I was so emotional, and my team-mates were running after me, so I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to be able to help the team and break the deadlock in that game, though, so that sticks in my memory.

Kimpembe on his Champions League debut (top); Kimpembe as Paris captain (above)

Of course, that great moment was followed by a less enjoyable one in the second leg. How did you feel after being penalised for the handball which led to Marcus Rashford's late penalty?

The second leg was really disappointing because that handball led to the penalty that led to the goal that knocked us out. So, of course, for a Titi [child of Paris] like me and a fan of the club, above all, that was really difficult to get over. It took me some time to get back on my feet, but you have to be able to pick yourself up after you fall. That was a key moment in my career because it was the start of a major disappointment and a long moment of… How do I put it? A long moment of doubt, let’s say. 

Fast-forward to 2020, when you helped Paris reach the final. What was that match like for you?

When the referee blew the final whistle, it was an immediate disappointment because we realised that we’d missed out on something big. A Champions League final against Bayern München was a big deal. We could see that we had the chance to be crowned European champions, so it still sticks in our throats, but with hindsight, we’ve realised that we achieved something incredible that the club had never done before. So we know that we wrote our names in history, and that’s something big that will remain etched in our memories. 

You obviously met Bayern again in this season's quarter-finals and came out on top this time. Do you feel that they were two legendary games, or is it just us journalists getting a bit ahead of ourselves?

That’s how we feel, obviously, because we were playing against the European champions. It was two big teams with big players facing off against each other, and we managed to put in the two performances needed to go through. We won the first leg having been put under a lot of pressure, but it was good because we were under pressure together. In the second leg, we did what was needed, with the whole team controlling the game well. We did lose 1-0, but overall, it was a complete performance, and we’re all really proud.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Presnel Kimpembe's Champions League career has been full of ups and downs. Since making his debut as a replacement for injured Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva in a 4-0 win against Barcelona, the French international has endured his share of disappointments, not least conceding a last-minute penalty that led to elimination against Manchester United and suffering final heartbreak against Bayern München last season. Yet having succeeded Silva as skipper and avenged the Bayern defeat in this year's quarter-finals, the centre-back is determined that this year, Paris will go all the way.

You made your Champions League debut in 2017 against Barcelona, in a 4-0 win no less – how was that experience?

The day before the game, I learnt that Thiago Silva was ruled out. Honestly, I didn’t think about myself straight away. I thought that the coach might put Serge Aurier in the middle, or [Thiago] Motta at the time.

The coach came to see me in my room and told me that I needed to be ready because I was going to start the next day. Obviously, that was good news for me, but it was a lot of pressure. It was positive pressure, though. That was the game that kick-started my career. Most people didn’t necessarily know me yet, and that was nothing but positive for me.

In 2019, you scored the first and only goal of your career so far. Do you remember it?

I’d scored goals before then, but they didn’t count. [laughs] In 2019, I scored my first goal in the Champions League against Manchester United at Old Trafford. We won 2-0, and the whole team had a great game. I scored the first goal, which kind of opened up the game, and a lot of emotions and things came out of me at that point. I wanted to celebrate, but I was so emotional, and my team-mates were running after me, so I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to be able to help the team and break the deadlock in that game, though, so that sticks in my memory.

Kimpembe on his Champions League debut (top); Kimpembe as Paris captain (above)

Of course, that great moment was followed by a less enjoyable one in the second leg. How did you feel after being penalised for the handball which led to Marcus Rashford's late penalty?

The second leg was really disappointing because that handball led to the penalty that led to the goal that knocked us out. So, of course, for a Titi [child of Paris] like me and a fan of the club, above all, that was really difficult to get over. It took me some time to get back on my feet, but you have to be able to pick yourself up after you fall. That was a key moment in my career because it was the start of a major disappointment and a long moment of… How do I put it? A long moment of doubt, let’s say. 

Fast-forward to 2020, when you helped Paris reach the final. What was that match like for you?

When the referee blew the final whistle, it was an immediate disappointment because we realised that we’d missed out on something big. A Champions League final against Bayern München was a big deal. We could see that we had the chance to be crowned European champions, so it still sticks in our throats, but with hindsight, we’ve realised that we achieved something incredible that the club had never done before. So we know that we wrote our names in history, and that’s something big that will remain etched in our memories. 

You obviously met Bayern again in this season's quarter-finals and came out on top this time. Do you feel that they were two legendary games, or is it just us journalists getting a bit ahead of ourselves?

That’s how we feel, obviously, because we were playing against the European champions. It was two big teams with big players facing off against each other, and we managed to put in the two performances needed to go through. We won the first leg having been put under a lot of pressure, but it was good because we were under pressure together. In the second leg, we did what was needed, with the whole team controlling the game well. We did lose 1-0, but overall, it was a complete performance, and we’re all really proud.

One more step
Interview

One more step

The centre-back will need to be at his best if Paris are to go one better this season.

Presnel Kimpembe's Champions League career has been full of ups and downs. Since making his debut as a replacement for injured Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva in a 4-0 win against Barcelona, the French international has endured his share of disappointments, not least conceding a last-minute penalty that led to elimination against Manchester United and suffering final heartbreak against Bayern München last season. Yet having succeeded Silva as skipper and avenged the Bayern defeat in this year's quarter-finals, the centre-back is determined that this year, Paris will go all the way.

You made your Champions League debut in 2017 against Barcelona, in a 4-0 win no less – how was that experience?

The day before the game, I learnt that Thiago Silva was ruled out. Honestly, I didn’t think about myself straight away. I thought that the coach might put Serge Aurier in the middle, or [Thiago] Motta at the time.

The coach came to see me in my room and told me that I needed to be ready because I was going to start the next day. Obviously, that was good news for me, but it was a lot of pressure. It was positive pressure, though. That was the game that kick-started my career. Most people didn’t necessarily know me yet, and that was nothing but positive for me.

In 2019, you scored the first and only goal of your career so far. Do you remember it?

I’d scored goals before then, but they didn’t count. [laughs] In 2019, I scored my first goal in the Champions League against Manchester United at Old Trafford. We won 2-0, and the whole team had a great game. I scored the first goal, which kind of opened up the game, and a lot of emotions and things came out of me at that point. I wanted to celebrate, but I was so emotional, and my team-mates were running after me, so I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to be able to help the team and break the deadlock in that game, though, so that sticks in my memory.

Kimpembe on his Champions League debut (top); Kimpembe as Paris captain (above)

Of course, that great moment was followed by a less enjoyable one in the second leg. How did you feel after being penalised for the handball which led to Marcus Rashford's late penalty?

The second leg was really disappointing because that handball led to the penalty that led to the goal that knocked us out. So, of course, for a Titi [child of Paris] like me and a fan of the club, above all, that was really difficult to get over. It took me some time to get back on my feet, but you have to be able to pick yourself up after you fall. That was a key moment in my career because it was the start of a major disappointment and a long moment of… How do I put it? A long moment of doubt, let’s say. 

Fast-forward to 2020, when you helped Paris reach the final. What was that match like for you?

When the referee blew the final whistle, it was an immediate disappointment because we realised that we’d missed out on something big. A Champions League final against Bayern München was a big deal. We could see that we had the chance to be crowned European champions, so it still sticks in our throats, but with hindsight, we’ve realised that we achieved something incredible that the club had never done before. So we know that we wrote our names in history, and that’s something big that will remain etched in our memories. 

You obviously met Bayern again in this season's quarter-finals and came out on top this time. Do you feel that they were two legendary games, or is it just us journalists getting a bit ahead of ourselves?

That’s how we feel, obviously, because we were playing against the European champions. It was two big teams with big players facing off against each other, and we managed to put in the two performances needed to go through. We won the first leg having been put under a lot of pressure, but it was good because we were under pressure together. In the second leg, we did what was needed, with the whole team controlling the game well. We did lose 1-0, but overall, it was a complete performance, and we’re all really proud.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Presnel Kimpembe's Champions League career has been full of ups and downs. Since making his debut as a replacement for injured Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva in a 4-0 win against Barcelona, the French international has endured his share of disappointments, not least conceding a last-minute penalty that led to elimination against Manchester United and suffering final heartbreak against Bayern München last season. Yet having succeeded Silva as skipper and avenged the Bayern defeat in this year's quarter-finals, the centre-back is determined that this year, Paris will go all the way.

You made your Champions League debut in 2017 against Barcelona, in a 4-0 win no less – how was that experience?

The day before the game, I learnt that Thiago Silva was ruled out. Honestly, I didn’t think about myself straight away. I thought that the coach might put Serge Aurier in the middle, or [Thiago] Motta at the time.

The coach came to see me in my room and told me that I needed to be ready because I was going to start the next day. Obviously, that was good news for me, but it was a lot of pressure. It was positive pressure, though. That was the game that kick-started my career. Most people didn’t necessarily know me yet, and that was nothing but positive for me.

In 2019, you scored the first and only goal of your career so far. Do you remember it?

I’d scored goals before then, but they didn’t count. [laughs] In 2019, I scored my first goal in the Champions League against Manchester United at Old Trafford. We won 2-0, and the whole team had a great game. I scored the first goal, which kind of opened up the game, and a lot of emotions and things came out of me at that point. I wanted to celebrate, but I was so emotional, and my team-mates were running after me, so I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to be able to help the team and break the deadlock in that game, though, so that sticks in my memory.

Kimpembe on his Champions League debut (top); Kimpembe as Paris captain (above)

Of course, that great moment was followed by a less enjoyable one in the second leg. How did you feel after being penalised for the handball which led to Marcus Rashford's late penalty?

The second leg was really disappointing because that handball led to the penalty that led to the goal that knocked us out. So, of course, for a Titi [child of Paris] like me and a fan of the club, above all, that was really difficult to get over. It took me some time to get back on my feet, but you have to be able to pick yourself up after you fall. That was a key moment in my career because it was the start of a major disappointment and a long moment of… How do I put it? A long moment of doubt, let’s say. 

Fast-forward to 2020, when you helped Paris reach the final. What was that match like for you?

When the referee blew the final whistle, it was an immediate disappointment because we realised that we’d missed out on something big. A Champions League final against Bayern München was a big deal. We could see that we had the chance to be crowned European champions, so it still sticks in our throats, but with hindsight, we’ve realised that we achieved something incredible that the club had never done before. So we know that we wrote our names in history, and that’s something big that will remain etched in our memories. 

You obviously met Bayern again in this season's quarter-finals and came out on top this time. Do you feel that they were two legendary games, or is it just us journalists getting a bit ahead of ourselves?

That’s how we feel, obviously, because we were playing against the European champions. It was two big teams with big players facing off against each other, and we managed to put in the two performances needed to go through. We won the first leg having been put under a lot of pressure, but it was good because we were under pressure together. In the second leg, we did what was needed, with the whole team controlling the game well. We did lose 1-0, but overall, it was a complete performance, and we’re all really proud.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Presnel Kimpembe's Champions League career has been full of ups and downs. Since making his debut as a replacement for injured Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva in a 4-0 win against Barcelona, the French international has endured his share of disappointments, not least conceding a last-minute penalty that led to elimination against Manchester United and suffering final heartbreak against Bayern München last season. Yet having succeeded Silva as skipper and avenged the Bayern defeat in this year's quarter-finals, the centre-back is determined that this year, Paris will go all the way.

You made your Champions League debut in 2017 against Barcelona, in a 4-0 win no less – how was that experience?

The day before the game, I learnt that Thiago Silva was ruled out. Honestly, I didn’t think about myself straight away. I thought that the coach might put Serge Aurier in the middle, or [Thiago] Motta at the time.

The coach came to see me in my room and told me that I needed to be ready because I was going to start the next day. Obviously, that was good news for me, but it was a lot of pressure. It was positive pressure, though. That was the game that kick-started my career. Most people didn’t necessarily know me yet, and that was nothing but positive for me.

In 2019, you scored the first and only goal of your career so far. Do you remember it?

I’d scored goals before then, but they didn’t count. [laughs] In 2019, I scored my first goal in the Champions League against Manchester United at Old Trafford. We won 2-0, and the whole team had a great game. I scored the first goal, which kind of opened up the game, and a lot of emotions and things came out of me at that point. I wanted to celebrate, but I was so emotional, and my team-mates were running after me, so I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to be able to help the team and break the deadlock in that game, though, so that sticks in my memory.

Kimpembe on his Champions League debut (top); Kimpembe as Paris captain (above)

Of course, that great moment was followed by a less enjoyable one in the second leg. How did you feel after being penalised for the handball which led to Marcus Rashford's late penalty?

The second leg was really disappointing because that handball led to the penalty that led to the goal that knocked us out. So, of course, for a Titi [child of Paris] like me and a fan of the club, above all, that was really difficult to get over. It took me some time to get back on my feet, but you have to be able to pick yourself up after you fall. That was a key moment in my career because it was the start of a major disappointment and a long moment of… How do I put it? A long moment of doubt, let’s say. 

Fast-forward to 2020, when you helped Paris reach the final. What was that match like for you?

When the referee blew the final whistle, it was an immediate disappointment because we realised that we’d missed out on something big. A Champions League final against Bayern München was a big deal. We could see that we had the chance to be crowned European champions, so it still sticks in our throats, but with hindsight, we’ve realised that we achieved something incredible that the club had never done before. So we know that we wrote our names in history, and that’s something big that will remain etched in our memories. 

You obviously met Bayern again in this season's quarter-finals and came out on top this time. Do you feel that they were two legendary games, or is it just us journalists getting a bit ahead of ourselves?

That’s how we feel, obviously, because we were playing against the European champions. It was two big teams with big players facing off against each other, and we managed to put in the two performances needed to go through. We won the first leg having been put under a lot of pressure, but it was good because we were under pressure together. In the second leg, we did what was needed, with the whole team controlling the game well. We did lose 1-0, but overall, it was a complete performance, and we’re all really proud.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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