Creative Soccer Culture

Moise Kean For SoccerBible Magazine Issue 12

Seated opposite Moise Kean, it’s clear that we’re in the presence of someone special, his calm persona exuding a confidence that belies his age. On set of his cover shoot for SoccerBible Magazine Issue 12 'Coming Thru' edition this is a player that is ready, has made this breakthrough, and is set for a huge 2019/20 season.

Moise Kean has earned the right to be confident. At just 19 years old, the prodigious Italian has already edged out some of the best talent on the planet to force his way into the Juventus first team, in the process becoming the first player born post millennium to not only make an appearance in one of Europe's five major leagues, but to score in it too. Add to that Champions League experience and a senior international cap, and you can start to understand where his confidence comes from.

It’s something of a cliche these days, but through hard work and determination, Kean is making his dreams a reality. Thing is, with all his dreams becoming a reality so quickly, his aspirations have to grow accordingly. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: shoot for the moon, and even if you miss, you’ll end up among the stars, as they say. According to Kean, even his debut for Italy’s senior side last November was “just” a friendly match. No, Kean wants – scratch that – he demands bigger and better things.


And so it is that we find ourselves speaking with this impressive young man who, like so many others, simply started dreaming of becoming a professional footballer as he played on the streets of his hometown as a child, watching his older brother, Giovanni, carve a path into the game, and aspiring to do the same. His rapid ascension has meant that he’s already eclipsed big bro, and it’s now down to him to forge his own path through uncharted territory. The only question is: how big does he want to dream?


Moise, you have a lot of goalscoring records to your name already. Did you always want to play as a striker?

No, I actually had something else in mind. I wanted to play as a midfielder, although my father wasn't happy about that. "You have to wear the number nine shirt," he’d always say. He also threatened to not take me to practice! I can say now that he was right all along.

So it's true when they say that family is important in a young footballer's life, especially if he’s destined to be a champion?

Absolutely. It's also thanks to my family that I made it to this level. Commitment, dedication, temperament are all things I learned at home. My mum wanted me to study first, but it's not easy to combine the two things. In the end my desire to become a football player at all costs prevailed over everything else. My mum’s proud of my journey and I could never have made it without my family.

How did things change for you when you joined Juventus?

When I came to Juventus, when I arrived at Vinovo, I understood that things would change. Juventus helps you to grow and become a man in all the things you want to do. You learn lots of things without noticing. Technically I improved, but my ambition is to improve every day more and more. I’m aware of the fact that I wear a shirt that carries responsibilities, but it's not a burden. I’m focused on my journey.

It can’t be easy trying to force your way into a team that possesses so much talent. Have you been tempted to look elsewhere for regular first-team football?

I'm sure that at the moment there aren't any other teams that can help me improve in the way Juventus can. I was born here, and I have almost always worn the black-and-white shirt. Obviously I don't know what the future holds, but what is sure is that I will always give my all.

This year you’ll have the opportunity to play side by side with Cristiano Ronaldo. What do you think you can learn from training with someone like him?

When we train, I try to observe all the things he does, from his attitude on the pitch to his desire to play, to train and to always be ready. Training with great champions has benefits that you can't underestimate.

Have you ever asked for tips?

Actually no, I'm not the type to do that, but I quietly observe and then I try to apply what I learned on the pitch.


Talking about great players, was there anyone that inspired you when you were younger?

Drogba was certainly an inspiration. I liked him a lot, he was one of my idols. I looked at how he moved and how he scored repeatedly. He was awesome.

Drogba was a great player, but what about closer to home? Were there any Italian players you looked up to?

When I was younger I liked Mario Balotelli, especially during his time at Inter. Mario, too, has been an inspiration for me.

What would a normal day in the life of Moise Kean look like?

It's pretty standard, nothing special. I train in the morning, then I go back home and nap – I have to recharge my batteries. I don't go out often, I prefer to spend the afternoon at home. It helps me to stay focused on my profession. Then of course there’s the PlayStation or the TV, watching sports.

What other sports do you watch on TV besides football? Do you have any athletes you like?

I really like basketball and NFL. I watch them when I'm at home or I don't have a game to play. If I had to give you two names I would definitely say Odell Beckham and LeBron James. They're awesome.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I think that the biggest ambition is well-known: winning the Champions League. But what they teach you in Juventus is to always give your all in every challenge, whatever form that takes.

What’s training like at Juventus? We can’t imagine you get many breaks.

Absolutely not! We’re always focused on training hard: giving everything, to me, means trying to be the best. Even when we have friendly games in training I don't want to lose. You can never quit, that’s our ethos.


What’s on your pre-match playlist?

There’s always one song that’s in my playlist: Issues by Meek Mill. I think it’s perfect for how I prepare myself for a match. If I had to say some other songs, there’s Nonstop by Drake, 1 AM by Mill…

Do you listen to Italian music?

No, it's not the right style for me. Not even Italian rap. I have lots of friends in France that make music, rap music, that’s more my kind of thing.

Let’s talk fashion. If we came to your house and opened the wardrobe, what would we find?

A lot of streetwear. To be honest, it’s full of football shirts, the ones I exchange with other players. They don't stay locked up, I also wear them to go out.

Is there a shirt that means more to you than the others that you've exchanged?

I’d say Alvaro Morata’s shirt from when we played Real Madrid in the Champions League final. That was a hard day, but one that I can't forget!

Talking about shirts, how do you feel wearing the Italian jersey? It must have been pretty special when Roberto Mancini called you up.

I never expected the call. I was in Ferrara with the U21s, just after the match against England. Luigi Di Biagio came to me and told me that I had to join the senior national team. You can imagine my emotions… I debuted in Belgium against the US, coming on in the second half, and I think I did well. Wearing the blue shirt is the sum of everything I learned: you always have to be ready, train hard every day because you never know. It was a very important moment in my career.

Since you’ve made the breakthrough into the first team at Juventus, your life must have changed a lot. How does it feel when young fans ask you for your autograph?

I'm very happy, of course. If I think that not that long ago I was on the other side of that exchange, I understand how you feel in front of a player you admire. Dreams come true, right?

soccerbible magazine issue 12 coming thru_0027__J0A0371.jpg

Read the full interview with Moise Kean in SoccerBible Magazine Issue 12, which you can get here.

Photography by Francis Delacroix for SoccerBible.


The Creative Soccer Culture Brief

Sign up to our newsletter and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the world of Creative Soccer Culture.