Frederic Kanouté

Annie Lennox is belting out Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) as Frédéric Kanouté leans back and considers whether this is the best moment of his career. The irony seems to be passing him by.

We are in the pine-floored gym of Sevilla’s training ground, and Enzo Maresca is pounding out sets of five 30m sprints between one-minute rests. The Eurythmics are there for the surging bass line, not the lyrics – and as Kanouté takes his trademark time to develop an answer, it could be the first time a mental muscle has been needed within these four walls. This is a place of physical, not cerebral, worship – and the music is like grass on a pitch: you only notice when it’s bad.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1