Brighton’s Yves Bissouma: ‘It was hard to leave my parents aged 13’

Mali midfielder, set to face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final, was played out of position in France before thriving under Chris Hughton

Yves Bissouma, a midfielder with rare qualities, has been the revelation of Brighton’s season so far. It is a pleasure to find he is as enjoyable to talk to as he is to watch. In a chat at the club’s training ground as they prepare for Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, the Mali international discusses comparisons between himself and Paul Pogba, questionable career advice from Marcelo Bielsa, emigrating alone at the age of 13, what makes Chris Hughton special and why the player he used to aspire to resembling was Didier Zokora, the former Tottenham and Ivory Coast midfielder.

But before all that, some music. Because talk to any Brighton fan about Bissouma and there is a risk they will break into a song that is sure to be heard at Wembley – their reworking of the Champs’ 1958 hit, Tequila. It features a catchy tune and one word, which Brighton fans have replaced with “Bissouma!”

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