Three global sporting icons; Kylian Mbappé, Thierry Henry and Anthony Joshua, have been brought together in a one-of-a-kind conversation that sees the athletes discuss their own careers and performing at the elite level, with each considering how they approach ‘head to head’ battles in their sport. The conversation, hosted by EA SPORTS, covered each of the biggest failures in their respective sporting careers and how they reacted to them, as well as how they perfected their ability to come out on top in a one-on-one situation, either in the ring or sprinting towards a goalkeeper.
Finally, AJ and Mbappé both spoke about how it feels to be involved with FIFA 21, with Mbappé describing his initial reaction to learning he was this year’s cover star, and AJ’s providing his thoughts on being a playable character in the game.
The trio came together in conversation to celebrate their inclusion as Groundbreakers in EA SPORTS FIFA 21, which allows players to recruit the biggest names from the world of football and beyond to their VOLTA SQUAD in the all-new VOLTA FEATURED BATTLES mode. Anthony Joshua is a playable character in VOLTA FOOTBALL and is unlockable via his VOLTA FEATURED BATTLE from the 23rd October.
AJ, Mbappé and Henry on the art of ‘finishing’ and one on one battles in boxing and football:
- “The uppercut is my go-to finish. I love it so much, it’s so dangerous. It’s beautiful but it’s very violent as well. I really enjoy landing that shot”.
- “Energy doesn’t lie and as much as people will keep a poker face, I can just sense when they are ready to kind of give in. But when you meet someone who is just naturally born with confidence, one on one it’s hard to break them down because when you knock them down they get up and go “Let’s go again!”. They just brush it off and go again.”
- “When I was younger I needed five or six chances to score one goal, I wasn’t a natural born scorer. The more time you have, the more difficult it is to score. By the time you change your mind the goalkeeper is at your feet and it’s too late. I started to develop my finish and I called it ‘freezing the goalkeeper’. I used to put my head up so when you look at the goalkeeper he usually stops, and by the time he stops he cannot push very far with his legs because he’s stopped his momentum. Then if you curve the ball properly, it’s usually a goal. That was my thing, I worked on it every day in training.”
- “When you come one on one (with the goalkeeper) you wanna kill him, of course. And that’s from me, that’s not something I work on, that comes from me since I was a young kid. I want to kill him, one against one you think you will stop my shot? No. It’s this spirit for me.”
- “Sometimes I come to a one on one and I approach it too easy, too sure of myself, too much confidence. I’m not focused on what I want to do, I’m too confident as I’m thinking “I can score easily”, but that’s not the good way. I know what I have to do, today I see the best players in the world like Messi and Ronaldo and I’m really happy with the start of my career but I have more steps to reach their level and I know what I have to do to be there, I have to improve every day.”
AJ, Mbappé and Henry on their experiences of failure in sport
- “My career is over so I can talk now, I can open up about failure. Sometimes when you are still in the game it’s difficult to open your heart up because you are supposed to be a lion. When I lost that 2006 Champions League final with Arsenal it was hard. People used to say I was a bad loser, hell yeah I was a bad loser, how can you be a good loser? I will respect the team that just beat me but myself I’m not going to be a ‘good loser’. “
- “We lost the Champions League Final and people have to understand this; we train all year to be ready for this moment and when you lose, you can’t be happy. You can’t be happy because you remember all the sacrifices that you made to arrive there.”
- AJ on losing to Andy Ruiz Jr
- “I was in America when I lost and I went to the basketball court just to feel amongst the people. One guy said something where I wanted to punch his head, he said ‘Hey man, don’t let that fat boy beat you again homie’. But I realised this is part of my grounding, so let me take it, let me understand it and let me embrace it, then I go again.”
Henry and Mbappé on who is faster?
- “I would have won against Thierry (in a race)”
- “What?! No, no you know what? Listen, we can never know. You need to understand something; it’s not about speed, it’s about how fast you can be with the ball. This is something that people do not understand. This kid right now, Kylian (…) put speed on the side, yea he has speed. But (it’s different) to be able to shift the ball, stop it, go with power. To be able to block someone at the same time, shift it on your right, block here, shift it on your left and still have your head up and see what’s happening.
Henry’s advice for AJ and Mbappe
- “Don’t ever lose the little kid inside of you. Sometimes I did, I won’t lie.Sometimeswith the pressure, after 10, 11, 12 years you kind of forget about the enjoyable part of the game. Make sure you listen to that kid because you know what, he brought you there”.
Henry on why France produce so many good football players…
- “You know what, I’m going to be biased and suggest that you could even ask; ‘why do so many good players come from the suburbs of Paris’. Why? Because first and foremost you can’t beat concrete football. You always go down to the street and play raw and hard, it’s how you learn to protect the ball, it toughens you up, and that won’t change.”
Mbappé on his reaction to being the EA SPORTS FIFA 21 cover star
- “The first thing, I was thinking like a child again you know? I was proud, it was a dream. I was thinking of the superstars and legends that were on past covers and it’s amazing to be part of this club so I’m really proud”.
AJ on being included as a playable character in FIFA 21
- “Even though I love football and it was my first passion, never in my life did I imagine I could be in EA SPORTS FIFA. If I was a player, I would have been a defender though. For sure, I would have caused you both big problems if I was a Premier League footballer.”
Kylian Mbappé, Anthony Joshua and Thierry Henry were in conversation as Groundbreakers in EA SPORTS FIFA 21. They are just a few of the huge names from the worlds of football, music, fashion and beyond that are available to add to your VOLTA FOOTBALL squad each week through VOLTA FEATURED BATTLES. Anthony Joshua’s VOLTA FEATURED BATTLE is available in FIFA 21 from 6pm Friday 23rd October, so to pick-up your copy of the game and add him to your squad, head to https://www.ea.com/games/fifa/fifa-21/buy