Dayot Upamecano has come a long way since his humble beginnings as a youth growing up in Évreux, France. After making his breakthrough at Austrian outfit FC Liefering, the Frenchmen enjoyed successful tenures at both RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig before agreeing to join Bayern Munich this summer.
In a recent interview with kicker, he recalled his early days where he would play most of his football in the street cages, which are very common in France as well as other countries across Europe. A plethora of professional footballers have been initially discovered by scouts who have ventured out to the cages to discover talent.
Leipzig teammate Emil Forsberg once described Upamecano as “the beast nobody wants to play against,” which the 22-year-old largely attributes to growing up playing in the football cages. Those experiences helped him forge a warrior-like mentality, which he says still helps him a great deal to this day.
“We had our own rules, and they were tough duels. If you fell down and your knees were bloody, you got up and kept fighting. That helps me to this day. If you did survive football cage, you survive many things in life,” he explained.
Upamecano’s transfer to Bayern was announced well in advance of Julian Nagelsmann replacing Hansi Flick, but the two will have a reunion in Bavaria as of July 1st. Nagelsmann managed Leipzig and Upamecano for a total of two seasons, so it will be nice to have that familiarity with the center-back as they both transition to Bayern. Still, Upamecano insists that he will be starting on a clean slate at Bayern.
“It’s nice, of course, because I know his game philosophy and his style,” Upamecano said of Nagelsmann. “Still, I’ll start from scratch, like all the other players,” he assured. As far as his transfer fee, Upamecano said he’s not worried about it and is only focused on his football; “Those [42 million euros] are numbers that I don’t deal with. I’m interested in my development.”