Former Super Eagles Captain Austin Okocha’s skills as a footballer influenced Frenchman Blaise Matuidi into becoming a professional footballer.
He could best be described as a prophet who was not recognized by his continent but revered across the world by others for he was a magician with the ball between his feet.
His confidence with the ball, technique, creativity, and dribbling skills, as well as his use of feints and step-overs made him a crowd favourite.
Augustine Okocha popularly known as Jay Jay earned accolades from one of Brazil’s finest, Ronaldinho who said he learned most of his dazzling dribbling skills from the former Nigerian captain while they were at Paris Saint Germain of France.
The latest footballer to heap praises on Okocha is Juventus of Turin midfielder, Blaise Matuidi.
He was born in Toulouse, Haute-Garonne to an Angolan father, Faria Rivelino and a Congolese mother, Élise. Rivelino and emigrated to France at a young age. Matuidi who has four other siblings and was raised in the Parisian suburb of Fontenay-sous-Bois said this about the former Bolton Wanderers dazzler.
“I grew an attraction to the sport of football watching Paris Saint-Germain and I became an admirer of former PSG attacker Jay-Jay Okocha”.
Matuidi began his football career at the age of six playing for hometown club US Fontenay-sous-Bois. After five years at the club, he joined CO Vincennois in nearby Vincennes, where he was teammates with Yacine Brahimi for a year.
In 1999, Matuidi was rated one of France’s youngsters.
After five years at the club and in a bid to get further experience, Maltuidi joined CO Vincennois where he was teammates with Yacine Brahimi for a year.
It was in the year 1999 age 12 that Matuidi became rated as one of the best players in the Île-de-France region (a region in north-central France).
Again, in a bid to get more youth experience, Matuidi starting multitasking his career. He accepted an offer from the prestigious Clairefontaine academy even while at Vincennes.
Matuidi would train at the academy for three seasons, playing there on weekdays while simultaneously playing for Vincennes on the weekends.
In 2001, he again left both clubs to sign for Créteil before finalizing his youth career at Troyes between 2004 and 2005. After playing his senior career at two clubs (Troyes and Saint-Etienne), Maltuidi became the most sought-after player and he got the best transfer opportunity.
On 25 July 2011, Paris Saint-Germain who just became rich confirmed Matuidi’s signature as a replacement for the departed Claude Makélélé, who retired from the sport. The rest, as they say, is now history.
The initial transfer fee was €20 million, plus up to €10.5 million in potential bonuses that would depend on the number of appearances made by him in Juventus’ competitive matches.