Creative Soccer Culture

Hannibal Mejbri On The Experience Of The World Cup & What He's Learnt

Grabbing five minutes with one of the world’s up-and-coming stars, we spoke with Hannibal Mejbri about the experience of representing your nation in a World Cup, and just how it compares to club football.

Pulling on the shirt and stepping out on the pitch at a World Cup to represent your nation – it’s what dreams are made of. And for 19 year old Hannibal Mejbri, it’s a dream that recently became a reality, when he came off the bench in the 80th minute to make his World Cup debut for Tunisia in the Group D game against Denmark. It was a defining moment, but one of many to have already happened in the young man’s life.

It’s already been quite a journey for the Paris-born midfielder. Having made a reputation for himself at youth level and having made appearances for France Under-16s, Mejbri went to Monaco and then, in the summer of 2019, made the switch to Manchester United. A debut against Wolves on the last day of the 20/21 season followed, and it put him on the radar, catching attention not just for his Sideshow Bob-esque do, instead more for his bullish and gritty performance. He’s now at Birmingham City, honing his skills and gaining valuable experience as he develops. And you can’t get much better experience than facing the best the world has to offer on the international stage. That challenge was something we wanted to find out more about when we spoke with him following Tunisia’s exit, covering all things World Cup with the midfielder.

hannibal 7-min.jpg
hannibal 11-min.jpg

While the tournament on the pitch has ended for you. What have you made of the experience?

It was a very good experience for me. It’s one that I feel I’ve learnt a lot from. It’s been great to participate in a World Cup. It was a special moment and one I’m grateful for.

Being part of an international set up, has the experience been something that has impacted your mind positively already? 

When I’m at my club I obviously work hard and take everything I can from that as an experience but when I join up with the national team it helps me learn even more about the game. It helps me for when I do go back to my club. It’s more experience for me to take into my game.

It must have made you hungry for more experiences like this?

Yeah, after the elimination after the France game we, the younger players, spoke a little bit about the future and how we want to go through this experience again and make our country proud. We will do all we can going forward to perform at our maximum, that’s for sure.

hannibal 2-min.jpg
hannibal 10-min.jpg
The whole experience has made me want to do more and more with my career and to keep levelling up at every opportunity."

Being in and around the elite – both playing with and against – what’s that test been like?

To participate in a World Cup is probably the best experience for a football player. I know those feelings now that I’ve heard other players talk about, when they talk about representing their countries at big tournaments. The whole experience has made me want to do more and more with my career and to keep levelling up at every opportunity.

How has the atmosphere compared to the club level?

I don’t want to disrespect the club game of course but I have to say the fans at this tournament have been incredible. It’s hard to compare because everything is different. It’s a totally different occasion. I’m not saying Birmingham fans are not amazing, because they are, but to have your whole country supporting you is an experience I’ve not had before. It’s new and it’s crazy. The  World Cup is such an achievement for a player and I guess it’s the same for the fans. It’s amazing for them to be with us when so far from home.

The incredible stadiums – playing in them must be almost like dreams coming true, isn’t it?

For everyone. Whether you play football or not, for anyone who loves the game, a World Cup really is like a dream. The stadiums here are something else and with them, the atmosphere has been special. I think it’s been such a good World Cup when you think of how all the games have gone. It’s been full of emotion.

hannibal 5-min.jpg
hannibal 9-min.jpg

Has performing on this level reset your ambitions?

Now I definitely have been able to realise that we can do so much for my country. To perform and create a strong career with my country as well as club is definitely an ambition I have started to realise and want to build on. I want to progress on the highest level both for club and country. I want to qualify for the next World Cup already, now!

What players have you personally been in awe of in the tournament?

To be honest, it’s interesting because there are big, huge names but there are also players that you’ve never heard of, who have shown their real quality. The level is so high, that’s for sure, and with that in mind I’ve now seen that level. It makes you hungry to compete with those same standards.

Have you been watching the other games? What’s the experience in the camp been like when it comes to downtime? 

I watched all the other African Nations. They’ve all represented themselves really well. I’m very happy for all the teams in how they’ve performed. I’m happy for Africa as a whole.

What do you make of the adidas space here? Hell of a view isn’t it…

It’s a crazy view, the installation up here is special. I don’t quite know how to say it but from all I’ve seen, everything is good in Qatar. The place is so well looked after and the standard of all the facilities is so high and it’s the same for what adidas have done here.

hannibal 3-min.jpg
hannibal 4-min.jpg

Hannibal Mejbri wear the adidas X Speedportal, which you can pick up at

Daniel Jones

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.