Kevin Danso shares his experiences of facing Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi

Published on: 04 June 2024
Kevin Danso shares his experiences of facing Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi

Kevin Danso, a central defender for RC Lens in the French Ligue 1, is gearing up for his maiden major tournament with the Austrian national team.

In a recent interview, the 25-year-old Austrian-born Ghanaian defender, who has carved a established himself as one of Ligue 1's top defenders, recounted his memorable on-field duels with Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.

Danso's journey to the top-flight of football began in England, where he spent his formative years. He made his professional debut with FC Augsburg in 2017, followed by loan stints at FC Southampton and Fortuna Düsseldorf. In 2021, he joined Lens for a reported fee of 5.5 million euros.

"Against Mbappé, he is currently the best player in the world for me. With Messi, I was impressed by the matter-of-factness with which he does little things that you would never have thought possible. I can remember exactly how he ran towards me in my first game against him. He opened his hips, so to speak, as if he was aiming for the far corner and then shot past me on the inside. The goalkeeper, I, everyone just stood there and couldn't believe how that was possible. Luckily the shot only hit the post. It's always the best to play against players like that," he told Spox.

"In my first game against Messi, I looked at him for a few seconds and thought to myself: That's Messi! I'm standing on the same pitch as Messi, the best player of all time! Incredible! He noticed that I was a bit starstruck and grinned back. But there's not much time for such thoughts during the game. But against stars like that, you have to look for and win little battles on the pitch.

"By any means possible. I try to start a conversation with Mbappé during games to throw him off track. Once I took the ball from him and then shouted: "My arm is just too strong for you, you can't get past me!" He said: "Yes, yes!" Then I said: "Okay, try again!" Situations like that give me confidence,"