Few players have or had the ability to turn a game on its head while inspiring with sheer skill along the way. One that is symbolic of beautifully brilliant football is that of Jay Jay Okocha. An inspiration for Blaise Matuidi, we sat down with the man who lit the fuse and inspired the beginnings of Nike's short film 'Enflamme le Jeu'.

How does it feel to be back in Paris, you must have some incredible memories here?

"Yes, it does feel good. I spent a good four years of my life here. I had a wonderful time. My son was born here as well. It’s a city that will forever stay in my memory so it is great to be back."

Your style and flair arguably gave a fresh way of thinking to the way the game is played, what was the most important thing for you when going out on the pitch?

"I think it’s the team first. And then of course, when you are gifted with the individual ability to change games, it’s all about trying to learn how to use it for the team. Especially for when the team is struggling. That is something I always challenged myself with so I was putting myself under pressure to always go out there and deliver for the team. Luckily for me it worked out and I had a good career. It is a big risk because if you don’t get it right, you’re playing for yourself. But if you work, you will get it right for the team."

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You were so creative on the pitch and with the ball, would you say playing football was an expression of who you are?

"Well sometimes, yes. But when I try and express myself if usually when we are leading comfortably. Before then, I tried to keep it simple first and foremost but me keeping it simple to others may not look so simple when I play. That’s just my style. I think at the end of the day, I tried to stick to the game plan."

When you would trick players with the ball or bring skill into your game, how much did you think about it? Was it quite natural?

"I think, then it’s about earning the ticket and really showcasing what I can do with the ball and how gifted I am. I think sometimes people needed to see that as well ― they pay their money to come and be entertained so the possibility was there for me to entertain them. Why not?"

Would you ever get some funny comments from other players after a game? You turned some of your opponents inside out.

"Oh definitely. Some used to enjoy it, others were a bit upset by it. Some used to tell me after the game that it wasn’t necessary. Some would come to you and say ‘how did you do that’ so it was good and it game be good experiences."

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You will have inspired many along the way, were there players that inspired you when you were younger?

"Coming from a footballing family made it a little bit easier for me as I was always looking up to my brothers. I always wanted to surpass what they had achieved so the challenge was always there to either get to that level or do better than they did. Fortunately for me, I took it to another level."

What about the players you've played with, who did you most enjoy sharing the pitch with?

"Oh yeah, definitely. I will say that I was privileged to play with a lot of good players. The one that stands out is Ronaldinho. I was in the national team of course where I got the opportunity to play against and with a lot of good players."

Blaise Matuidi has explained how it was your game what inspired him? That must be a special feeling?

"It is, I mean it shows to me as a reward, you know? It’s a reward for working hard. You’re putting in that shift, going that extra mile to be successful, at the time you don’t even know that you are inspiring other people so for me to see that now and hear that, it does give me a great deal of joy. At the end of the day, I saw the game as an opportunity to enable to help others, help the next generation. Especially in african football. I saw it as an opportunity even beyond football. An opportunity for one person to help eradicate poverty in his family for example. It helped me to be grounded and make sure I didn’t blow the opportunity so that others couldn’t be happy."

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Can you see similarities between yours and his story?

"Yes, I mean in his story you can see a bit of similarity. I always say that every man has their own story to tell but it’s important to pick up what will inspire you in one man’s story and you can match it with what you have gone through then yes, there will be similarities."

What was it like growing up for you and playing football. Are you able to paint that picture at all?

"All I can say is that I never knew one could choose football as a profession. I was playing purely for the love of the game. I was out there playing with friends without a manager without an organised team. We were just out there playing bare footed after school. That was all we had so I never knew you could make a career out of it. I couldn’t have wished for anything better than this, I would have paid to play but it ended up I was getting paid to play so it was a huge bonus."

You were a king for a generation of Nigerian football. There's now so many incredible Nigerian players doing well at the top of the game, that must be special to see?

"It is, I think what you want to see is the next generation doing better than you did - picking up from where you stopped. Unfortunately we have not been that successful but individually we have produced some quality and talented players and it is always great to see people out there flying the flag for your country."

There's the international tournaments coming up in the shape of the Euros and the Copa America. You enjoyed a great international career - how did it feel to where that shirt?

"Well for me, it meant everything. I wore the jersey with great pride. We used to have issues, financial issues and all that but for the national anthem I would have given everything to hear that played for me so I think it was maybe the best thing that happened to me on the pitch, to be able to represent my country."

In your family too, seeing your nephew Alex Iwobi doing so well breaking through at Arsenal, have you been able to pass on much advice?

"Oh definitely. He’s like my son. We chat most of the time and I try to guide him where I can and I’m over the moon to see how well he is doing and how fast he is maturing, I think it runs in the blood."

I don't think you'll meet any fan that when they think of your name they will only think of happy memories. How big a part did the fans play in your career?

"I can tell you this for free, I left Qatar after a year because nobody was coming to the stadium. For me, it’s not about the money. It’s about the passion, the support and the encouragement you get from people and I think without the fans I couldn’t have achieved anything."

An undoubted hero. You can watch the full 'Spark Brilliance' short film here.