In an interview published this Saturday on our supports, Rio Mavuba presents his book "Captain of my life" to be published by Solar on November 15. In this book, the former international looks back on his atypical career. Born on a boat while his parents were fleeing the war in Angola, he will not obtain French nationality until he is twenty years old. Previously, Mavuba had only a residence card marked "refugee". From his childhood without wealth, he remembers without regret having eaten at the Restos du cœur. Becoming a player, he will be, in the eyes of the general public, one of the few to have dared to physically challenge the huge Zlatan Ibrahimovic at a PSG – Lille. At the end of his career Mavuba also tells how he was the victim of the racism of his own supporters.
Here are some excerpts from his book.
When Mavuba ate at Eating Heart
"We lived on the first floor of a 5-storey building. We were fourteen at home. My parents, my four brothers and my seven sisters. We especially benefited from this momentum of solidarity that existed in these neighborhoods. Thus, we were offered the opportunity to go to the Restos du Coeur. Many families went there without shame. There was not always enough in our fridge and, at home, we were given something to fill, something to eat. I was impressed by that. Those people who handed us food without asking anything in return. For us it was a real plus. A breath of fresh air for the neighborhood where many families of foreign origin were concentrated. Today, we are very focused on his own person, The Restos still exist but the momentum of solidarity, simplicity and humanity are less present. "
Racism in the Czech Republic
"In fact, I had to wait to play football to face racism. On and especially around the grounds. Racists, there are unfortunately everywhere, there is no reason that some do not sit in the stands of a stadium. The difference is that they take advantage of the place to regroup and let off steam. […] For my part, I have rarely experienced this type of scenes in France and I was very little faced with racism. But when I arrived in the Czech Republic in the summer of 2017, it was another story. When I sign at Sparta Prague, I hear about a bunch of well-known racist supporters. I could see it very quickly. In the first match against the Prague Bohemians. At the start of the game, the opposing striker, the Ghanaian Benjamin Tetteh, is injured in front of the tribune, where the hottest fans are gathered. He then suffers cries of monkeys from a small part of them. Your own supporters! I'm shocked. I mention it to Costa Nhamoinesu, Zimbabwean international defender at the club since 2013. " Do not pay attention, it's like that ! He answers me. He tells me that the club has been sanctioned by UEFA for this but that apart from wearing a T-shirt "Sparta against racism", few arrangements had been made. And this despite his repeated complaints. Second day, we play outside. We win. The captain calls us to greet our 300 or so supporters. The ritual is to clap their hands. When I pass, 5 or 6 of them remove their hands. I am surprised, also suspicious. I watch for their reaction when the other Blacks on the team pass. They do the same thing. Other foreign players also confirm it to me We are all shocked. We talk about it between us. We decide to boycott the ritual. There is not much else to do. Seeing such behavior in stadiums in 2018 is truly hallucinating and outrageous. "
When I have Zlatan Zlatan
"Paris leads (1-0) since the 36th minute of play and a goal from Ibra. We are in the 40th minute. There is a clearance to six meters for us. I recoil but I feel hands that catch me and push me violently. When I turn around, I come face to face with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He pretends not to see me. He ignores me. Do not calculate me, with his usual disdain. So when he is finally in front of me, I catch him by the neck. He, clever as he is, puts a little cleat on my head. I admit that it annoys me. I grab him by the neck, but I do not have time to touch him: he collapses, caught in a blazing pain. I know I have a big right arm but here he simulates. He is clearly falling. Fortunately, match referee Fredy Fautrel does not fall into the trap […]. But the craziest thing in this story is the sequel. The insane buzz that will result. What would have been a gameplay in a normal match and facing any opponent will become an event […] People stop me in the street to talk to me about it. It must be said that at the time of social networks, the image is shared, commented and even becomes viral. Parodies are made and the fall of Zlatan makes a lot of people laugh. The most amazing thing is that it will last and cross borders. Thus, when I sign at Sparta Prague three years later, I am presented as the player who "slept Zlatan". One of my feats of arms. It's still pretty crazy. "
The cover of the Rio Mavuba./Solar book