by Aziza Uko
A day off their UEFA Europa Cup win Fernando Torres, Victor Moses, Juan Mata, and Oscar – the four ambassadors of the Samsung-Chelsea FC Dream the Blues Campaign sat down to a press conference at the Chelsea Football Club Training Ground at Cobham, UK on May 17, 2013. Present at the event were media from seven countries – Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Thailand, China, Brazil, and Mexico. Nigeria was represented exclusively by YNaija and the event was anchored by Jason Cundy and the Chelsea FC stars opened up on a range of issues from Torres’ hairstyle decisions, their childhood football heroes, and how dreams come true.
See the full transcript of the world press conference below:
JASON CUNDY: Are we all seated? Okay, good afternoon, my name is Jason Cundy, I will be hosting this Q&A this afternoon and I would like to welcome you all on behalf of Samsung and Chelsea Football Club to Cobham, the training ground, of course, to Chelsea Football Club.
Thank you all very much for attending this press conference this afternoon. In particular I know we have various different guys from the media from all around the world. Africa, we have three, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Two in Asia: Thailand and China and there are two in south America: Mexico and Brazil. Welcome all of you.
I will just give you a brief outline of what is happening this afternoon. I will be asking the players one or two questions, of course, from Dream the Blues. There are lots of questions here that have been put to me. Then I will open the floor, a mike will be handed around, questions that you guys would like to ask so I will make sure that happens as well and then I will end it with a few questions as well.
I would like now on behalf of Dream the Blues and Samsung to welcome the ambassadors: Fernando Torres, Victor Moses, Juan Mata and Oscar.
Gentlemen, welcome, there will be a few questions to ask you in a second. First off congratulations are in store. How was Wednesday night, Fernando?
TORRES: It was amazing for everyone, players, staff, fans, everyone. It was a magic night for Chelsea Football Club, for the players. Two European trophies in two years in a row so really proud.
JASON CUNDY: Victor, first season here, how have you found it? A major honour for the club and for you.
MOSES: Yes, I thought it was great. If you look at the game the first half was a little bit shocking but the second half we come round and dominated the game. I thought we done very well to win the trophy. It was not an easy time at first but we did great at the end of the day.
JASON CUNDY: Oscar, how have you found your first season in London?
OSCAR: I am very happy. I think it was a wonderful season and I hope in the next season I can help Chelsea to have more titles.
JASON CUNDY: And, Juan, you have had a fantastic last couple of years. FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League and back to back Player of the Year. You must have loved your time here at Chelsea?
MATA: Thank you, yes, it is true. The last two years have for me have been amazing, winning the trophies. The last night for me was special winning the Player of the Year Award. I am happy here, this football, this city and the only thing I want is to improve.
JASON CUNDY: How did you enjoy it out there? It seemed you guys were having a lot of fun with the boys.
MATA: It is nice to share our football with the kids, training with them and we have fun because they are really good, they have the quality.
JASON CUNDY: Now, some of the questions that have been passed around the world for Dream the Blues. First one here is to Moses: what message do you think this sends out to young football fans around the world?
MOSES: It send to young footballers that want to be footballers, playing with them and training with them meant a lot to them. We really enjoy it, going out there, playing football with the kids and then if you look at their face, they were smiling and stuff. So it was great to be out there and enjoying it with them.
JASON CUNDY: Did it cast you back to when you were a young kid as well, learning your trade?
MOSES: Yes, definitely. I see young kids growing up who want to play with professional footballers and them coming here and training with us, it really mean a lot.
JASON CUNDY: Oscar, as a young footballer growing up what were your dreams and have you achieved any of those so far?
OSCAR: I am very happy. I managed to fulfil all my dreams. I am playing in one of the best clubs in Europe, I am very happy.
JASON CUNDY: Fernando, how does it feel having to help some of these young kids fulfil their dreams?
TORRES: It is wonderful to have the chance to play with kids, even for half an hour. I think the chances that Samsung and Chelsea Football Club give to them are huge. I wish to have this chance when I was a kid. It was difficult for me even to find a football pitch or a space to play football. So they had the chance to play, great facility, time with the players they are watching and need to be. So they can realise they can become a footballer and their dreams can come true. It is not far away. It is just they have to keep trying and enjoying and working so hard.
JASON CUNDY: Juan, what do you think these young kids will take away from this and what will they benefit from?
MATA: I hope they will enjoy it. I remember when I was a kid I used to go to different training grounds and I really enjoyed those moments, knowing my idols, knowing the football personal players. I think we have a very good fan out there. As I said, they are like 7, 8, 9 years old so they are enjoying, making friends in football, and I think they did.
JASON CUNDY: What are the benefits you think they can take from this?
MATA: We said to them when you are a kid you have to enjoy playing football. You have to try to improve and work hard but at this age you have to enjoy, and feel happy going to the training camp, going to every single game. I think it is the most important thing for them and they realise that they are happy when they are playing football.
JASON CUNDY: This question is to Victor, what advice would you give to children who want to pursue a football career?
MOSES: The only advice I can give them is just keep working hard. As a young footballer if you keep working hard you will see yourself at the top, no matter what, wherever you are going to be. I say, young kids growing up, you have to keep working on it, enjoy your football. As Mata said that is the most important thing. Whenever you are on the pitch the most important thing is enjoy yourself.
JASON CUNDY: This question is to Oscar, it is from Mexico. With a professional footballer as a role model what responsibilities do you feel by playing in one of the most important teams in the world?
OSCAR: I feel very happy. I am aware of our responsibility. We play to win and you have to work very hard but, as Mata said, you have to enjoy. You have to enjoy because we are not playing only for England, we are playing for the whole world.
JASON CUNDY: This question is to Fernando, from China. Have you seen the Samsung Dream the Blues video that you starred in? Have you seen that.
JASON CUNDY: Did you have a lot of fun making it?
TORRES: Yes, it was really fun to do with my team mates and the final result is great, I think. It is a clear example of something that maybe all the players were here, we had when we were kids, dreaming of being something that the people who are watching TV are in that moment, and dreaming that you are one of them and playing with them. I think one of the big things for the kids today is the same thing we want to say in the advert. It is not far away, it is real. They are training in the same place as us, training with us, so one day hopefully they can be the big players and some kids come and they can share the experience with them. So I think it is a finish.
JASON CUNDY: A long time ago were you that boy in the bed dreaming about playing?
TORRES: To be honest, when I was a kid I had plenty of posters of many of my heroes and my idols.
JASON CUNDY: Who were they?
TORRES: Some of the former Atletico Madrid players. I remember Batistuta, Thierry Henry poster, Raul, many other footballers. I wanted to be like them. So I think for the kids like them maybe they have some poster of us in their rooms, so maybe, or hopefully one day they can be the players on the posters, and some kids they get them on the wall, and they can join with them. I think it is a very real situation what we want to explain in the advert.
JASON CUNDY: How do you think the fans will see that video with you guys up on the wall coming to life? How do you think the fans will see that?
TORRES: Everyone that has seen is has said it is brilliant. I think too many people when they were kids they have this kind of dream so it is something that even if you are old now you remember to dream with — it is simple and a good idea.
JASON CUNDY: Juan, there are lots of different players in the Chelsea squad from various different countries and cultural backgrounds. How do you guys communicate amongst yourselves because there are so many different languages?
MATA: With a ball. That is true, we have so many players from, for example, Brazil, Portugal, Africa, and obviously we speak in English. We try to speak in English. But to be honest the Spanish, we speak to each other in Spanish, the Portuguese in Portuguese, but I think, as I said, when we are, or when we feel really comfortable speaking on the pitch with a ball. In football there is no language more than the ball.
JASON CUNDY: This question is from China to Victor, it says what kind of qualities should an outstanding player have?
MOSES: You should have a lot of technically — like, the most important thing is to score goals. Defenders can score goals as well, even goalies can score goals as well. So, yeah, it is easy to get technique and then the most important thing is working hard and training and then trying to improve in anything that you want to do as a footballer and when it is time for games so it is a lot easier for you to actually do when you want to play a game.
JASON CUNDY: Most people don’t think footballers work that hard but to get in your guys’ position there are years and years of hard work that go unrecognised and even go unseen.
MOSES: No, to be a footballer you definitely have to work hard as a footballer. The most important thing is to keep on training and improving in any areas you think to do that. When it comes to games it is for you to show your quality.
JASON CUNDY: This one for Oscar and is from China. Can you share your own experiences of participating in youth training camps and programmes when you were young and how they helped influence you?
OSCAR: I have never took part in a programme like this but I am sure a programme like this is extremely good, extremely helpful for the children and I am sure it can help them one day to become a professional footballer.
JASON CUNDY: This question here is to Fernando. How were you discovered as a footballer? What age were you identified?
TORRES: Well, to be honest, as Mata said before, for me enjoying is the key. So when I played my first game as a professional I realised I could be a professional footballer so I never see that as, like, a target, extra pressure. I was enjoying playing with my team mates, they were my friends. When I was 17 I played my first game as a professional and then I realised I am already here, so I have been working so hard but enjoying at the same time. So I never felt the pressure. So maybe after to play four or five games in the row I realise I can be part of the team and then I said maybe that could be my profession but always at the same time a hobby, something to enjoy.
JASON CUNDY: This question is from Nigeria, for Victor. Who are your favourite footballers and why?
MOSES: Growing up as a kid I always had a hero and I always watched French football when I was little, and his name was Zidane. I admired him a lot, one of the best footballers we have ever seen in Europe. He was a great player before he retired, so he was my hero.
JASON CUNDY: Do you try to model any parts of your game on him?
MOSES: No, I always want to learn things from him as a young kid growing up. He is a great player.
JASON CUNDY: Is it different, Juan, in Spain as it is in England how kids are spotted? Scouts go out to watch football games at a young age?
MATA: No, it is the same, it is the same. Like in England we have very good academies with good training grounds. As Fernando said before the kids today are so lucky, having this amazing dressing rooms, pitches. I remember when I was a kid my mum used to say to me “I always have to wash your clothes, they are so dirty.” But today, lucky, most of the pitches are from artificial grass so it is better for the kids to improve. I think in Spain as in England and in Europe in general I think there are a lot of quality in the little kids.
JASON CUNDY: Okay. I am now going to open the floor up. There are some questions that you guys in the media would like to ask. If I call out your country can you put your hand up please? Thailand, where is Thailand please? Thank you very much.
QUESTION: This question is to Juan. Congrats on the award. I want to know, like, when you were a kid who was your role model or the hero player that you look up to?
MATA: Well, first of all, like my father was a football player. I used to look up for him. I remember going to his dressing room, sharing the moment with his team mates, going to the stadium to watch him with my mother and my sister. So he was the first person I ever look up to. After that players like Aimar, Zidane, Ronaldinho, for me one of the best in the history.
QUESTION: How did they influence you, with the dribbling?
MATA: Obviously I am an offensive player so I like to play in offensive, like Ronaldinho, for example. I tried to learn some skills watching them. To be honest, it is difficult to imitate those kinds of players, they are so good.
JASON CUNDY: Brazil, if you could ask your question please?
QUESTION: Since 2010 a lot of the Spanish players are talking about a desire of playing against Brazil. I would like to know the reason of this desire, and the possibility of this game happens, turns, Confederations Cup more important.
MATA: Yes, of course. I think for every country always is a challenge to play against Brazil. To be honest for me Brazil is the best country talking about football and football players. They represent what means football for the society. So playing against them in Confederations Cup could be really nice for us. But we have to play first in the group, we have to be qualified so we have to think step by step but obviously playing against Brazil would be a very big dream for me, personally.
JASON CUNDY: Okay, a question from Nigeria. Where is Nigeria, please? Thank you.
QUESTION: My question is for Mata. Having made a move from La Liga, what have been the major differences in the English Premier League and how was your transition?
MATA: Well, to be honest, it is different, the English football from the Spanish one. I think here in England you need to be more strong. I am not. But you need to and you need to change your playing in a way. The defenders are stronger, the football is more physical. There are some points in the game where the game is crazy and you have to run box to box so physically you have to be ready. I think for players like me, with my conditions, I really like to play in this football because maybe you find some gaps that in Spanish football is harder to find. I think that is why I am really enjoying this football.
JASON CUNDY: Okay, a question from Ghana please. Where is Ghana? Thank you.
QUESTION: To Mata. I want to know how the feeling was when Chelsea lifted the UEFA Champion’s League last season?
MATA: It was like a dream came true to me, arriving to Chelsea in my first season and winning the most important trophy in Europe, talking about clubs. It was like a dream came true and even more because it was the first Champions League for the club. I felt very lucky to be there, to feel part of the team and after that winning the FA Cup and this season, again, the Europa League, to be honest it has been an amazing two seasons for me and the club. I want to keep winning trophies with this club.
JASON CUNDY: South America? Where is south America? Sorry, South Africa?
QUESTION: Hi, I have been a Chelsea fan since I was 10 but I publish an online magazine called gadgets so I have to ask you a gadget question, Fernando. I would like to ask you what is your favourite gadget and why?
JASON CUNDY: Gadget, electronic, iPad.
TORRES: I am not really one of these guys who is always crazy with these kind of things but as you know we are travelling all the time around the world and we always have our laptop and maybe the mobile phone is the one we use more to speak with the family when we are away, with friends and today we can have everything in the tablets and in the function. Just to be in contact with friends, family and — and, yes, I put my headphones and don’t listen to Mata next to me.
JASON CUNDY: A question then from Mexico.
QUESTION: Hello, Fernando. I am going to ask you in English because I have to. What is the sensation for everyone of after winning the Europa League. You and you with your team mates won the Champions League, you have had two Euros, you have one World Cup. What is the sensation that lifts you, this trophy? The Europa League, what is important?
TORRES: I think the main thing to be able to win the Europa League is I believe that it was massive and for all the players it was massive because we needed to realise how important is the Europa League. Sometimes in a club like Chelsea always it is a Champions League matter, it is a Premier League matter, and it is not like this because Europa League is the second most important trophy in Europe. Even today some of the players, they don’t realise how important is winning the Europa League. They will realise in a few years. I think for Chelsea winning the Europa League and Champions League in a row, first thing in history to do, we are the first one, we are hosting the two trophies for a few days so we must be really proud. For me it is amazing. I have been really, really lucky to play in a Spanish generation that we won the World Cup and two types the Euros, and be lucky enough to play in Chelsea in the generation that when we won the Champions League and we have won the Europa League and it is a young squad and still we have more time to win more trophies. Hopefully next season we can get some more, we can play the European Super Cup that we lost this season, that was really painful. We have another chance next season. Hopefully we can start in a good way and this generation of players, this is what we have time enough to improve as a team and win much more trophies.
TORRES: I hope so, I hope so.
JASON CUNDY: Some more questions for the guys, this is for Juan Mata. What have you made of the German sides in the Champions League this season? Dortmund and Bayern?
MATA: Yes, I think they showed that German football is top right now, it is in the first level. They showed Europe that Dortmund or Bayern Munich, they are two of the best teams in the country, in the continent. Like last season Bayern Munich arrived for the final, for me they are one of the greatest teams in the history of football. That means that German football is growing and they know how to compete for sure.
JASON CUNDY: So European champions, are they the biggest rivals to Spain in next year’s World Cup, Germany?
TORRES: Germany is always the main contender for each one, maybe the favourite in all the tournaments. No one maybe is taking them as favourite but they are always in the final, the semi final, always a difficult team to beat. We know this from our own experience. We beat them in the final in 2008 and as Mata have said they have shown they have players enough to be winners in the next big championship. Hopefully Spain we can keep doing the things in a good way but we are sure Germany, and Brazil, are going to be the main contenders. We know that.
JASON CUNDY: You were at Crystal Palace and Wigan before you came to Chelsea. How different is it playing for Chelsea than Wigan and Crystal Palace?
MOSES: It is a lot different. The players that Chelsea has are a lot different from the players that Wigan and Crystal Palace have got as well. Making the big step and it means a lot to me and playing along side Fernando Torres and Juan Mata and Oscar, it has really meant a lot to me. They are great players and it is an honour to play alongside them.
JASON CUNDY: This is from Ghana and is for Oscar. How did you feel after you played your first game for Chelsea?
OSCAR: I was very, very happy. I was fulfilling my dream to play in Europe for a big team like Chelsea and after the game all my team came and they congratulate me, so it was a wonderful experience.
JASON CUNDY: Okay, this one is from Thailand, it is to Fernando. What is your opinion on how Asian youth football is developing?
TORRES: Well, we’ve had the chance last, pre-season, to go to the Blue pitch and see the work Chelsea is doing in the community and to help them and it is amazing. I think in Asian football in the last ten years it is so different and the improvement that they have is amazing. We felt in 2002 in Japan and Korea World Cup they can bring some of the best players in the world to Europe and you have players now playing now in top sides in Europe. I think this kind of things like we did today is going to help them to deliver their football with Europe. Hopefully in a few years we can talk about many of the Asian teams in the world as the way we talk about the European teams or the South American. It is really nice to see how football is growing up there. We can see every pre-season and it is amazing. All the fans give us a really warm welcome, great reception and we can enjoy the time we are there. We are going in a few months so we are looking forward to that because it is really nice to see how people that are so, so far away from Europe, they feel the football and feel the passion and they give us a great reception.
JASON CUNDY: This question is for Juan from Nigeria, what do you put down your fantastic figures this season, assists, and goals scored on the back of last season, you seem to be getting better and better, what do you put that down to?
MATA: I think it is just work and I try to be better. I am still hungry, I think I can improve in many ways in my play and the only thing I want is getting better and next season hopefully I can improve these stats.
JASON CUNDY: Another Player of the Year next year?
MATA: I will try, why not? I will try, I will try.
JASON CUNDY: Victor, this question is from South Africa, what has life been like after winning the African Cup of Nations?
MOSES: It has been great for me so far, this season, first time in African nations, winning it as well it meant a lot to me, and not just for me but the other players as well that was involved in it internally as well. And as a Nigerian after 19 years winning it again a second time, it really meant a lot to Nigeria so I am very delighted.
JASON CUNDY: Oscar, how have you dealt with the physicality of the Premier League? You seem to have dealt with it pretty well.
OSCAR: Well, as Mata said, because of our build it was hard but we tried to adapt. We use our technique and I think we adapted very well and I hope next year we will improve that.
JASON CUNDY: Mata and Juan, the same question to you because, again, the physicality of the Premier League is very different to La Liga but you guys seem to deal with it. Were you prepared for it?
MATA: The gym. We do the gym.
JASON CUNDY: You seem to rise to the challenges and seem to be able to deal with the physicality of the Premier League?
MATA: Players like Oscar and me we have to try and avoid defenders in our way, we have to think before them and be ready for the — for the strong, but they are. So we have to try to find the gaps between them, between the other players and I think the English football let us to do it because sometimes there are so many spaces.
JASON CUNDY: It has been another good season, Fernando, on the back of last year, especially for you in particular. What about next year, Champions League football has been secured, where do you see Chelsea Football Club next season?
TORRES: I think as always Chelsea is going to be asked for trophies. We have the European Super Cup, the first one to come, after that there is always the Premier League, and with a few years with Chelsea not winning it so we are really focused on that. We know we have to be better, that is the thing, much better and this season in the Premier League especially. Of course, winning the Champions League again, why not?
JASON CUNDY: Victor, that is why you have come to a club like Chelsea, to win the major honours. Do you expect a Premier League challenge next year?
MOSES: Yes, there is definitely going to be a Premier League challenge next year. We are going to have a new manager coming in, other players, new players, we are going to have a new reshape in the team and, yes, we are looking forward to it. Chelsea is a club that normally wins trophies every year so we are looking forward to next season.
JASON CUNDY: That has to be your dream as well, winning the Premier League. You have won three honours since you have been here in the short time that you have but the Premier League has to be the one surely?
MATA: As I said today, it will be so special to me. Maybe it is one of the trophies I am missing right now. I think this season Chelsea is going to fight for this title because in the last few years Chelsea was trying to win it and I think we have enough squad, we have enough supporters and the club is so big to try and fight for every trophy we play.
JASON CUNDY: It is going to be a massive year for all of you boys building up to the World Cup but I am guessing in particular for Oscar, with the World Cup in your homeland, how much are you looking forward to that?
OSCAR: I am looking forward to it very much. As you know, we are going to play very soon, all of us, but I hope Brazil will prepare a good show and I hope Brazil will do very well.
JASON CUNDY: Okay, just time for a few more questions from the floor. If you would like to raise your hand I can come out and ask a question. Just say who you are and where you are from, please.
QUESTION: From City Press in South Africa. My question is to Victor Moses. How do you fancy Nigeria’s chances at Confed Cup in Brazil?
MOSES: It is not going to be an easy game for us, we are going to be playing against one of the best teams in the world, Spain, Brazil and then other countries. So it is not African Nations, this Confederations Cup. But I am looking forward to it, we have enough quality players that can win us games. It is not going to be an easy game for us but we are looking forward to it.
JASON CUNDY: One question over here.
QUESTION: ESPN Mexico, again. I want to say, maybe each one of you can say something. We don’t know what is going to happen with Rafa Benitez but what is — how is things going with him? How do you feel with him as a head coach?
MATA: Me? Well, we — we don’t know what is going to happen, but until today it has been a pleasure to work with him. I think since he came he try his best for the club, he won a trophy, we will try and be first in the league, trying and achieve the Champions League position for playing next season and for me it is a pleasure because I think I have learned a lot of things from him and I think I improve my game with him.
JASON CUNDY: And the final question?
QUESTION: Cham from Thailand. I just want to ask Fernando, in Thailand you have been voted one of the best looking athletes in the world, so the question for many girls is why did you decide to change the haircut from the long one to the short one? Did you decide by yourself or your girlfriend told you to cut it short?
TORRES: I did by myself. I know many of the Thailand girls they like.
JASON CUNDY: Fernando, can we see you with a haircut like that?
TORRES: We have to ask them first, if they agree. I receive many, thousands, millions of messages on my website from Thailand fans so thank you to them, their support. As far as I know they are happy, we will see.
JASON CUNDY: Okay, guys, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for that. There will be a picture opportunity, can you put your hands together for Oscar, Juan Mata, Victor Moses, and Fernando Torres.
I believe there are, we can have some photographs taken.
YNaija was in London to cover the event courtesy of Samsung Electronics West Africa