International Champions Cup Singapore

Football: Not here to make up numbers: Tolisso

A fan embracing Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso during a meet-and-greet session at German restaurant Paulaner Brauhaus. The French international has a tough task ahead to secure a starting berth.
A fan embracing Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso during a meet-and-greet session at German restaurant Paulaner Brauhaus. The French international has a tough task ahead to secure a starting berth.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

He may be just 22-years-old, but Bayern Munich's record summer signing Corentin Tolisso is eager to stake a starting spot in the German giants' star-studded squad.

The Bavarian side paid a Bundesliga record €41.5 million (S$64 million) to lure the highly-rated midfielder away from France Ligue 1 club Lyon, securing his services ahead of other clubs like Italian Serie A champions Juventus.

Said Tolisso: "I'm don't really think about the price tag, I just want to concentrate on my football, focus and train hard with my team-mates.

"Of course, I hope to repay the trust (the club) have put in me."

The Frenchman visited German restaurant Paulaner Brauhaus at Millenia Walk yesterday for a meet-and-greet with fans and is enjoying his first pre-season with the Bundesliga champions.

"The French guys like (Franck) Ribery and (Kingsley) Coman have helped me a lot. (Assistant manager) Willy Sagnol and the coaches also speak to me in French, so it's been okay, " he said.

Despite the high expectations, he has the faith of many of Bayern's ex-players, including club ambassador Hasan Salihamidzic.

"He's a really good midfielder, a good box-to-box player. He can do everything, score goals and is also a presence in midfield, I think we'll have some fun with him." said the 40-year-old Bosnian.

Fellow ex-Bayern star Giovane Elber echoed his thoughts, saying: "He will be a big and important player for Bayern, I'm sure. He is very talented and very young so he has a long future ahead of him.

"But of course he must work hard and keep his head down to fulfil his potential."

Competition for starting spots will be tough, with established stars such as Arturo Vidal and Thiago Alcantara vying for the same central midfield position as Tolisso, but the young midfielder is unfazed.

"When I signed the (five-year) contract, I was already aware of the strong competition but I will give it my best," he said.

"I didn't come to Bayern to be a bench player, I came to play."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'Not here to make up numbers: Tolisso'. Print Edition | Subscribe