Nor everything that shines among successful athletes is gold. Behind the life that seems perfect hides the person who had to fight for their dreams, sometimes in an adverse world and a very hostile personal life. Aurelien TchouamniHe wanted to explore what's behind each individual, bringing together characters not just from sports who are now successful. Above all, very revealing are the experiences of Thierry Henrique, world champion with France, who talks openly about his difficult relationship with his father and depression, or Francisco Ngannou, heavyweight champion Ultimate Fighting Championship (mixed martial arts) that narrates his life of misery in Camern and his journey to Spain crossing the straits in search of an opportunity.

The bridge is the title of this debate program and in this first chapter that is transmitted through the youtube ESN Media Tchouamni himself, the Georgian pianist, also narrates his experiences. Khatia Buniatishvili and Steven Bartlett, successful British businessman and author of the most listened to podcast in Europe.

Tchouamni's passion for the piano

The Real Madrid player is the one who moderates the program, although he tells guests where his passion for the piano comes from: “I'm also a great pianist. I started playing the piano during the World Cup with my brother Cama (Camavinga). You stay in a hotel for a long time and look for more things to do besides training and games. We usually play in the bedroom. We started to play Ludovico Einaudi, is one of my favorite songs and I said to myself, I have to play it on the piano. Areola also plays very well, so after the World Cup I asked my parents to buy me a piano and I started playing. I used a cell phone app to help me and now I can play some music. It's good, it helps you concentrate and focus on the present, in the moment, like on the field. Not what happens next, the brain is incredible.”

The Frenchman talks about the impact of social media when he felt racism or the penalty he missed in Qatar: “Now it's easier to connect with fans, but at the same time it's also complicated because now everyone can say whatever they want and when you're young and see everything they say it's hard to take it. at stake, is the most important part. Today's complicated world. We get used to it. When I missed the penalty at the World Cup, I received a lot of hate on social media. When I played my first game at age 18, Monaco, you got 2,000 comments, some saying you're bad, “That you won't make it, it's difficult, you're human, you're young and you think: maybe I won't make it. With The time you think, well, I'll always be the same, no matter what I do, they'll always talk about me.”

Henry's Confessions: His Father's Pressure and Depression

Thierry Henry spoke about his experience and what his father's excessive demands had on him throughout his life. “Before I start speaking, I want to say that it is an honor to listen to Francisco and that I did not have to live what he lived. But we all have our demons, something we have to overcome. It's more of a mental battle with myself. The hardest thing I had to do was always make my dad smile. Little Henry, however, didn't have that smile. I always tried to please my father and it was the hardest. “I was scared, I won’t hide it” comments the former Barcelona player.

“The best bridge is when you can feel empathy for others. I understood late that the most important thing was not to win titles. inspire others. I understood late. Aurlien, look, I confess that I was programmed to succeed, my father was a fanatic. I can't go back and have another life. I could have failed, but I fought every day. I was made to be successful because my father lived through me. It was an inspiration, but at a certain point it weighs a lot. I've always tried to make you happy and you don't like it. There comes a time when your medicine is your worst poison. “You are stuck with yourself,” says the former French player.

Francis Ngannou's tough childhood

The martial arts champion returns to his difficult childhood at school in his town in Cameroon, abandonment by his parents or working in the mine since he was eleven: “All the children conveyed their contempt to me, but at the same time I realized that it was the best thing that happened to me getting here. My parents divorced when I was six years old and I started living in different families, I attended six different schools, I never had a permanent home, friends, or attachment to a place. “I was the child who was expelled from class because I didn't even have a pencil to write, I didn't pay for school or do gymnastics because I didn't have tennis shoes, so I was an object of shame.”

“I was forced to work hard since I was a child,” continues Francisco. I think when I was 9 I was already in the mine and my brother was eleven. And it wasn't enough. When I was 13, one day they kicked me out of class, I was devastated and said: what do they have that I don't have. I thought, I deserve much more than these guys, I never took a vacation, I never had anything… That day everything changed, I decided to show that I was no less than them, and I gained everything I have. I knew I would do something big to show it. My father didn't have a good reputation, he was always in fights, it hurt me, and I thought about how to express this strength without being like my father. I liked fighting and doing something great and I thought boxing was the way. But I had never seen a gym in my life, there weren't any within a 50 km radius. I only saw one when I was 22, I stopped dreaming and it became clear to me that I had to leave Douala. They thought I was too old and told me it was impossible, but I wanted to try. “I had the right to fail, but I realized that in Cameroon I wouldn't do anything.”

Cameroon's difficult journey to Spain

Ngannou recounts his frustrated attempts to reach Spain through midwives or by jumping over the fence in Melilla: “But how do I get out… I couldn't apply for a visa because of my profile, I was the type that they don't even want to see because they think you're going to be unhappy.” to his country. He didn't even have money to live in Cameroon, where would he go! I was carrying a backpack with clothes and shoes, it was April 2, 2012, that day I told myself I was leaving. You try to go from country to country, using any means of transport. Sometimes they walked and walked, on bicycles: on motorbikes, in trucks, in cars, whatever you can. I passed through Nigeria, then Niger, crossed the desert of Algeria, Morocco, I stayed there for almost a year before crossing into Spain, it was hell. You can only make one book out of this.”

“From Cameroon to Morocco it was just three weeks. France was not my goal at that time. Going to the other continent was the big challenge. I made many attempts: by sea, also on top of the wall, with wires and iron, I never succeeded, I was trapped in those spiked wire fences. I made two attempts there, I preferred by sea, but they always picked us up and returned us to the Moroccan desert. Regroup again to try again…, like this many times.”