Newboy Corentin Tolisso hopes to lift the first major trophies of his career after joining the Bundesliga record champions this summer.
The midfielder completed the switch from his hometown club, Lyon, when he put pen to paper on a five-year deal at the Allianz Arena.
Speaking to L’Equipe, Tolisso, who starred in Lyon’s run to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals last season, is desperate to start collecting silverware as well as perform well for Bayern to catch the eye of France boss Didier Deschamps.
‘Top three in Europe’
Question: A year after you could have left for Napoli but didn’t, it’s finally time to go…
Corentin Tolisso: A year ago, all the conditions weren’t right. I wasn’t ready to leave and I still wanted to play for Olympique Lyonnais. This year, I’m ready to take the big step. I have had a complete season. My individual performances were quite promising and I think I have taken a step up. To take more, I have to leave and discover something new. I have got into the France team with Lyon. But now, to be a first-team regular for Les Bleus, I have to leave and play at a big club.
Question: Bayern were able to convince you very quickly…
Tolisso: My agent called me to tell me about Bayern’s interest, and a few days later, I met them. It’s one of the top three clubs in Europe with a great playing philosophy which suits me. I went for it without any hesitation. When I was little, it was already a club that meant something to me. There were French players there like Willy Sagnol and Bixente Lizarazu, there were big names…
‘Ancelotti told me his plan for me’
Question: What did Carlo Ancelotti and his assistant coach, Willy Sagnol, say to you?
Tolisso: The coach laid out what he expected of me, his training methods, his playing style and how the club works. He told me not to worry, that everything would be fine. He expects me to contribute as much defensively as in attack. That I continue going forward while also fulfilling my defensive duties. He mentioned the fact I could play in a system with two 6s or as an 8. Willy Sagnol talked to me about the club, his experience and those of the players he was alongside. He insisted it was a club made for me, that we could do great things together.
Question: Talking with a renowned coach like Ancelotti, that’s a sign you’ve taken a step up, isn’t it?
Tolisso: Already, when I read clubs like AC Milan and Tottenham were interested in me, I said to myself I had done something good last season. After, when it’s Bayern who come along, when you have the coach and then his assistant on the phone, that its representatives are alongside you, you say, ‘Ah yeah, I really wasn’t bad!'”
‘Win as many trophies as possible’
Question: How was the day of your signature in Munich?
Tolisso: It was a really good day, that I spent with my dad, my agents and my best friend. It was important to experience that with people who are close to me. I discovered a very big club with really great infrastructure. In fact, it was the pitches that impressed me most. Without disrespecting those of Lyon, which are already very good, they’re something to behold!
Question: What are your ambitions?
Tolisso: I mustn’t be shy. I have to play my game, that which enabled me to join the club. My goal is to play the 2018 World Cup, so if I think about just taking things in stages and playing only ten or 20 games in my first season, I won’t make it. So, I want to establish myself at Bayern as quickly as possible. In terms of the whole squad, we’ll need to win as many trophies as possible, because I don’t have any right now!
‘Important to sign for Bayern’
Question: For you, it was vital to be able to play in the Champions League in a World Cup year, wasn’t it?
Tolisso: That’s my opinion, yes. Shining in the Champions League and the league is diffierent to only shining in the league. It can be a plus if the national team coach has a choice to make and he’s undecided.
Question: Have you had the chance to talk to Didier Deschamps…
Tolisso: I wanted to talk to him about my situation. I told him of Bayern’s interest, and he told me good things about the club. He said it was a good thing to go there, even though he also told me that he would pick me if I was good with Lyon. He didn’t say to me, ‘You should absolutely go there’. But to take a step up, it was important to sign for Bayern.