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Bissouma: It wasn't easy to leave home to follow my dreams

14 Dec 2023
Yves Bissouma

Spurs midfielder discusses moving from Ivory Coast to Mali aged 13 to achieve his ambitions

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From as far back as he can remember, being a footballer is all Yves Bissouma has ever wanted to be.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, who was born in the Ivory Coast, knew that in order to turn his dreams into reality, he would have to make sacrifices, which meant leaving home and moving to Mali when he was 13.

Bissouma’s path to the Premier League - to Brighton & Hove Albion and then Spurs - underlines the message that greatness comes from everywhere, with 121 different nations being represented in the competition since 1992.

“All I did was play football. My whole life was about football," said Bissouma. "I went to sleep dreaming about football. Sometimes, I didn't even go to lessons. All I wanted to do was play football.

“It wasn't easy [to leave home]. Originally, my dad didn't even want me to go to Mali. When I first got there, I remember it was great, but two to three months into it I really started to miss my family a bit.

“My parents and I have always been close, and when I was little they tried to protect us, so it wasn't easy for me at the academy.

“But then again, I told myself, 'This is your chance to fulfil your dreams.' You always have to work to be the best and really achieve what you want."

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