Corentin Tolisso has been a tale of two seasons for Bayern, performing admirably in his first season and starring for France in their World Cup-winning campaign, then succumbing to an injury abruptly ended his 2018/19 season. Tolisso made a steady recovery with support from fellow players and fans alike, but he has not been able to recreate the performances that made him a mainstay in the starting lineup during the 2017/18 season.
As a result, the Frenchman now finds himself on the outside looking in with regards to the starting lineup, as he works toward regaining form. Speaking to Le Parisien, Tolisso gave insight into his expectations, the competition within the team, and his role for France.
When asked how he is handling not being a regular starter during the starting phase of the season, Tolisso responded,
I remain relaxed. At Bayern, the workforce is of very high quality and the competition is very intense in all positions. I have played little since the start of October. You have to know how to come back stronger in such moments and especially bring real added value when given the opportunity.
On his ambitions and being benched lately, he stated:
No footballer is happy on the bench. I am no different from others. I naturally aspire to become a regular starter.
Tolisso is a player with vast potential, but with the return of Leon Goretzka to full fitness and the inclusion of Kimmich as a regular in the midfield, he has not received consistent opportunities to showcase his talent and also faces massive pressure to perform whenever he gets minutes. Starting for Bayern isn’t easy and has to be earned via strong back-to-back performances.
Bayern fans endured a horrific scare in late October when Tolisso suddenly sat down during training gripping his chest. He was later examined and deemed fit, the cause being no more than cramps and exhaustion. On the incident, he said,
Things were going well. It happened during a really intense little game. I was tired. I sat on the lawn. I felt my heart speed up. Reflexively, I put my hand on my chest. Around me, my teammates made gestures to know if I was facing any trouble. The training was public. People in the distance misinterpreted these exchanges. I even wanted to resume, but the coach preferred that I return to the locker room. As a precaution, the Bayern doctor then performed tests. They were totally reassuring.
The player was then asked about how he felt when taken under the wing of French compatriot Ribery in his first year at Bayern. Tolisso was full of praise for the Frenchman, who will forever have a high place in Bayern hearts.
When I signed there, I knew only what I could read in the press. In Bayern and among fans, he was a unanimous favourite. On a daily basis, I was able to measure his impact inside and outside the club. The man is endearing, very funny and with values. He is a man of his word and has a big heart.
Finally, on being one of the lesser-known players of the French squad, Tolisso showed no surprise:
I do not really want to expose myself outside football or to reveal my private life. Sometimes I should maybe put more emphasis on myself. But that would go against my nature. I like to be discreet. The less you talk about me, the better I am.
Tolisso’s skill set is undeniable, but he also seems to be very humble and friendly. It is indeed unfortunate that he suffered such a devastating injury right when his career was picking up pace. The player has not been the same so far this season, but here’s to hoping he can improve and get back to his best, because a midfield with a menacing, direct and ruthless Tolisso is one that can give even the best defences in Europe fits. Good luck, Coco!