Why Footballer Adama Traore Is Not Style Over Substance

Adama Traore is unmistakable… in his stature, his appearance, his style of play, even the tightness of his shorts! In fact, the Spain international looks like he’d be more at home in a martial arts or body-building event.

The 26-year-old has recently moved back to Barcelona, where he started his career (on loan from the Premiership's Wolverhampton Wanderers) but he says he’s fully aware of the need to fulfill his potential in seeking to become the complete player.

RSNG You’re coming to what is deemed to be the prime of a footballer’s career, is the best yet to come? ADAMA TRAORE, PRO FOOTBALLER “I surely hope so. I am someone who will always leave everything out on the pitch, and learning is the best thing to do – whether you win or lose. I feel very settled at Wolves and I am ready for a good season.”

“I remain self-critical, and that is important to me. I am always thinking, ‘maybe I don’t score enough goals, maybe I don’t finish moves off as much as other players would like, or even as I would like.’ But because of that I am making sure the hard work and preparation is done so I can become that better player.”

RSNG There are so many great players in the Premier League and La Liga nowadays. How do you stand out? AT “I am the type of person who doesn’t shy away from working hard and the people who know me will agree with that. I’ve been playing consistently now for the last few seasons and it can take a little bit of time to get into a rhythm every week.”

“When your game is based on speed and attacking, you have to pick your moments. Because, yes, I can run very fast, but I am not a machine, I do need time to recharge my batteries after each run.”

“I don’t think it’s about me standing out more than anyone else, though. But if that happens, it’s all good – hopefully that means the time wins or is certainly benefitting from me playing well.”

“There are so many good players, as you say, and it’s hard to play well every week. But if you have determination, you keep yourself in shape and ready for when the time comes to strike, you can take those chances and deliver for the fans.”

It was difficult to break into a team with players who will go down in history for what they have achieved

RSNG How did it feel to get back to the Premier League when you signed for Wolves? AT “It was a great feeling and I was very happy. But it was not just for me, I wanted to make my family happy, and hopefully over the time that I have been here, I have made my team-mates and the fans happy.”

“I had experienced the Premier League with Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, but I was young and I didn’t feel I fulfilled my potential. I knew things would be different with Wolves.”

“I will always be thankful to the club for wanting to bring me here, even though Nuno (Espirito Santo) is no longer my coach, I want to thank him for everything he did for me while he was here. I have never settled quicker than how I did at Molineux.”

RSNG Obviously, you’ve been at Barcelona before, and you were training with some of the greatest players of their generation. What was it like there? AT:‘It was great to be at a team with such amazing players. Training was a great experience, but more fun than technical. The guys were very lighthearted, more than you would imagine.”

“Yes, it was difficult to break into a team with players who will go down in history for what they have achieved, [Lionel] Messi, Neymar, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, [Carlos] Puyol, Dani Alves, [Victor] Valdes; but I am ambitious and I want to play football, because what is the point at being at a club – regardless of how big they are in the world – when you’re just sat watching others play. I will never be that player.”

RSNG What do you say when pundits say you are not the finished article? AT “Perhaps they are right, haha! I would never be a person to say I was the finished article, so I can understand that. It can sometimes be difficult to take criticism, but most observations people make about my game are quite fair, I think.”

“Football is not an easy game, but getting better and developing as a player certainly feels easier when you have the fans behind you and supporting you - it does help you raise your game.”

“And this is what the life of a footballer is about. The guys I mentioned before at Barcelona - they were scoring, creating, repelling all of the time and helping each other, but they didn’t stop wanting to improve. This is what good players do – they are hungry to achieve more. That’s exactly what I want to do, and I am always my own worst critic.”

I don’t lift free weights – my routine is all about gradual building of muscle mass, a lot of fuelling, and mostly, flexibility and aggression

RSNG Just talking about your speed, your stats have been clocked alongside the quickest in the league, how do you achieve those? AT “Again, just hard work. People refer to my build, but my workout is based on efficiency not bulk. I don’t lift free weights – my routine is all about gradual building of muscle mass, a lot of fuelling, and mostly flexibility and aggression.”

“I have power, but that is nothing without speed, and unless I get the right combination, I will always be susceptible to injuries, so that’s something I’m always wary of.”

“The injury I fear the most is a hamstring - I’ve been told by many people that once it goes, it’s hard to be as fast as you once were. That is always in my mind when I look at other players who are unlucky to suffer this injury. But I do take care of myself and although I work hard, I make sure I don’t overdo it and cause myself harm.”

RSNG Your injury record has actually improved? AT “Yes, when I was at Aston Villa I was injured more than I would have liked. I think much of that was down to bad luck, and not allowing full recovery. A lot of persistent injuries are just from rushing back. This is a reality, and it is one I want to stay away from in future!”

WHAT NEXT? Read our exclusive interview with [Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar].(/categories/movement-fuel/articles/why-neymar-thinks-the-beach-is-the-secret-to-brazil-s-reputation-as-the-greatest-international-side-of-them-all)