Born in Guadeloupe, Wylan Cyprien, 24, took his first steps in football with the Paris FC jersey. When it came time to challenge the Red Star (National), a historic club in the Paris region, on Saturday (1 p.m.), the attacking midfielder from Nice (L 1) opened his souvenir cupboard.
You have been intimately linked to the Paris region since your childhood …
WYLAN CYPRIEN. I arrived at eight years old from Guadeloupe. I first lived with my aunt in Massy-Palaiseau. My mother was starting a new life, everything had to fall into place. I then moved to Porte de Bagnolet and signed at Paris FC. It was there that I took my first steps in football at the age of ten.
What surprised you the most about the Antilles?
In Guadeloupe, life is peaceful, a bit like here on the French Riviera. People are less stressed, there is a real joie de vivre. In Paris, everything goes to 2000. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed but I quickly acclimated, especially thanks to my cousins, real Parisians, them.
Why did you choose Paris FC?
Simply because my friends played in this club. I was not one of the best when I started. I was taller than the others, I played in attack. It was only after my repositioning in the middle and a detection at Clairefontaine that Lens spotted me and had me sign.
In young people, the level is very high in the Paris region …
There’s the Red Star, Boulogne-Billancourt (ACBB) and lots of other clubs… All of the games were really hot. We preferred to play against professional clubs because it played more ball. I have often faced Adrien Rabiot who played at Créteil and Hervin Ongenda who played at Porte des Lilas.
“The first time I went to a stadium was for a PSG-OM”
Do you feel Parisian?
This is where my roots are. I go back as soon as I can to see the family. My mother settled near Disneyland. Since I was a dad, she wants me to go see her more often.
Was PSG your heart club?
The first time I went to a stadium was at the Parc des Princes for a PSG-OM. Ronaldinho had been immense. I was mostly a fan of the Brazilian but I liked PSG. My free kick goal at the Parc in March 2017, in front of the whole family, was one of the best moments of my young career.
What inspires you to meet the Red Star this Saturday in the Coupe de France?
I immediately think of my grandpa. He often told me that I was little. It was his club, he told me that it was a big team at the time and that it recruited in Guadeloupe. He was a fan of the Red Star. For him, there was no photo with PSG. Via my grandpa, I have a special bond with this club.
How do you judge the OGC Nice season?
We are in the soft stomach of the championship, while this group has a lot of talent. We hope to make a much better second half of the season. On a personal level (Editor’s note: 7 goals in Ligue 1), I feel much better, more fluid (Sic). I took over before everyone else this summer, I have absolutely no regrets.
Is a departure this winter possible?
No, I have a contract with the OGC Nice.
Can the INEOS project convince you to stay for a few more seasons?
They have displayed their ambitions, want to build something big. We all aspire to that. There is everything here to progress and the Nice project will appeal to many players.