It`s not often that player wins hearts of the fans so quick as our last summer`s acquisition Fousseni Diabate did. We spoke to 27-year-old winger during Belek preps.

“We feel really good although we work a lot. I`m a little bit tired but preps are moving in a right way. Hotel and training pitches are good and the atmosphere is great. Actually, everything is great and I`m so happy about it.

I never trained so hard, it`s similar in England but this is harder than anywhere else. I hope we`ll “kill” everyone for the rest of the season, we have to”, said Diabate.

Fans would like to know if Dia is enjoying life in Serbia.

“Yes, of course. As you know, my mother is with me and my brother too, he goes to school in Serbia. Now it`s snowing in Serbia, not as much as in France, but my brother loves snow and he enjoys Serbia. We feel at home in Belgrade”.

You are not the only foreign Partizan player enjoying Serbia. Ricardo and Natcho received Serbian citizenship as well. Would you like to follow in their footsteps?

“Now I understand why they are here for so long, this is a beautiful country and people are very hospitable. When I`m free, I like to go to Galerija Shopping Centre where lots of kids approach me and want to take photos with me. Also, my brother goes to school in Belgrade and loves it. I would love to stay, I signed a three-year deal and if I get an contract extension offer, I`ll stay for more”.

What`s the Serbian football scene like from your perspective?

“It`s very tough as it`s quite physical. Moreover, some pitch surfaces around the country are not as good as ours and it makes it even harder. In France or England it`s more about tactics while Turkey is more similar to Serbia but I think it`s more difficult here”.

You are often with Hamidou Traore as you both speak French.

“I think it`s better for me to have Traore around as we can communicate in French. When I`m in our training centre I have no one to speak with apart from Traore as my English is not good and Serbian players do not speak French. It`s good to have Traore to help me adapt”.

You are famous for your pace. Is there anyone in Serbian football of your pace or faster? How do you like Serbian players in general?

“Lutovac has more pace than me. There are lots of good players in Serbia, especially in the top clubs. You`ve seen a goal Urosevic scored in a friendly against TSC and you have Vujacic or Markovic as well, lots of good players around. I didn`t know that before but I learned about it now. You have lot of quality in your national team, players like Milinkovic Savic and I also love Aleksandar Mitrovic. Then you have that short-haired centre-back that looks like a policeman – Strahinja Pavlovic. When I watched him at the World Cup, I said wow”.

What do you expect for the rest of the season?

“In the league, we`ll battle until the end as if we win the title we go directly to the Champions League group stage which will be good for Partizan and all of us. As for European competition, I want us to win Sheriff and go as far as possible. It will be good for everyone in the club if we have success in both competitions. We`ll fight focused and we have to beat Crvena Zvezda”.

You played your first Eternal derby. What was it like?

“I was surprised when I played my first derby. It`s important to everyone in the city, they are all there and the atmosphere is great. There was a lot of pressure but this game is like a big final and we want to play many more games like this”.

What Serbian expressions did you learn?

“Good afternoon, how do you do, thanks…That`s about it”

You played  lots of games this season, including these mid-season friendlies. Who`s the best teammate on the field for you?

“Traore and Menig while I have the best understanding on the field with Filipovic as we play on the right flank and we don`t have to communicate much, he knows where I`ll be on the pitch and vice versa”.

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