Les grandes équipes
Hearing the Champions League song may give dreary eyed football fans huddled in a blanket on the couch at 4am goose-bumps – but for Adama Traore it was the sign he had made it.
After a successful 2013/14 campaign at Melbourne Victory – where he won the club’s best player award – Traore signed with Portuguese side Vitoria before landing at Swiss giants Basel in January 2015.
It was there, where Traore’s dream became a reality.
The left-back started in all six of Basel’s 2016/17 UEFA Champions League campaign, which featured meetings with Arsenal and PSG, as well as featuring in the club’s Europa League run.
“I had great memories with Basel, we played in the Champions League and it helped me as a man and as a player to experience that,” Traore said.
“It can only grow you when you play in the Champions and Europa League.
“The atmosphere, the quality of players it’s a bit of everything which makes it special.
“As a kid, growing up listening to the champions league song and stepping on the pitch and listening to that song it’s unbelievable, it’s difficult to explain you have to live it.”
Upon his return to the A-League, the 29-year-old believes the competition has evolved considerably and says he is excited to pass on what he learned overseas to the developing players.
“The teams are stronger and there is no easy games and I think this is good for the league you don’t know what you’re going to get for the weekend,” he said.
“It has improved a lot; it’s been five years now and it’s gotten better.
“I remember when I was at the Gold Coast I had great players helping me also, I think it’s a great opportunity to chat to the young guys, if they listen good for them and they can only get better by listening to me telling them what it’s like to play at the higher level.”
Despite Traore’s return, it has not been smooth sailing for the Victory – who have only picked up one win from their opening five games.
The club faces a tough run of matches – most of which are away – with the side failing to capitalise on a dream first five weeks which saw them play four games at home.
Sunday’s match with Sydney FC could prove to be their toughest yet, with the club set to be without an additional four players – Thomas Deng, Elvis Kamsoba, Kenny Athiu and Storm Roux – due to the international break.
“There is a lot of change at the club so sometimes in the short term you can have good results and in sometimes the long term as well,” Traore said.
“But we are in a good process and looking at the long term, we have to put in the hard work and the results will come.”
Featured Image: FC Basel