Jean-Clair Todibo: My shirt number is a present for my mother

Jean-Clair Todibo is Schalke’s new #21. The French U20 national team player sat down to discuss his first impressions, his reasons for joining the club, his goals and why his shirt number is so important to him.

Jean-Clair Todibo

Jean-Clair, welcome to Schalke! What are your first impressions of your new club?
Very, very good. Even though I’ve only been in Gelsenkirchen for a few days, I can already feel how special this club is. I get the feeling from everyone I’ve met who works here that they all live for Schalke. The stadium is equally as impressive. I’m looking forward to the first time I come out onto the pitch.

What made you decide to come to Schalke?
I had some really promising conversations with David Wagner, Jochen Schneider and Michael Reschke. They made me feel like I’d fit in well here at the club, that they needed me and that I fit into the coach’s philosophy. I’m really excited to play in such a young and ambitious team.

Do you already know some of your new teammates?
I played with Juan Miranda at Barcelona. I also know the guys who have played in France before: Amine Harit and Benjamin Stambouli. Salif Sané is no stranger to me as well. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of my new teammates.

I’m really excited to play in such a young and ambitious team.

Jean-Clair Todibo

What are your goals for the next few months?
I want to help get the club back into Europe this season. Schalke is a massive club, not just in Germany but throughout the whole of Europe; it deserves to be playing in the most prestigious competitions.

You chose the #21 shirt. Does this number mean anything special to you?
Yes, I was actually really happy that 21 was free because I promised my mother Claire that one day this would be my number. Her birthday is 21st June so it’s a nice present for her.

At Barcelona you trained with some of the best footballers in the world on a daily basis. How hard is it to get the ball off Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann?
It’s not that hard (laughs). It has helped me a lot to be training at such a high level every day. My aim is to improve in every single session.

Do you have a role model?
Andrea Pirlo. His style of play, how calm he is on the ball and his overall demeanour has always really impressed me.

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