Mathieu Flamini says that footballers are the gladiators of the modern era – ready to do armed combat with an opponent as the colosseum filled with spectators looks on, demanding blood and evisceration.
The Frenchman was speaking to the Financial Times about his life on the pitch, and off, as his company which is going to save the world increases its profile.
It came to light earlier this year that Flamini had spent spent the last seven years setting up a company in Italy, GF Biochemical, that is the first in the world to mass produce Levulinic Acid; a substance that can apparently replace oil in all its forms.
Speaking to the FT about his persona, he said he was a different person on the pitch than off it.
“I become sometimes aggressive – in a good way. It’s kind of transcendent, you know? I consider us the gladiators of our time.
“When you’re on the pitch it’s him or you – and I would prefer it to him than me.”
The new company is still secondary to his football career, with Flamini admitting he still ‘eats football’ (or probably just eats footballs), and also says Arsene Wenger has been an influence on him.
“Arsene is kind of mentor to me,” he continued. “He is someone who will always keep his
clam calm, and I have learnt from him never to take a decision in the heat of the moment.”
Apart from tackling Lionel Messi 40 seconds after coming on, but hey, these things happen, and we’d be well advised to keep Flamini on side when he becomes the most powerful man on earth.
In 2009 he spoke publicly about an incident in which he was short-changed in a restaurant.
“My name is Mattimus Decimus Flaminus, commander of the Armies of North London, General of the Gunner Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Wengerus Aurelius. Father to a monobrowed son, husband to a slightly fey German. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
He means business, in business and football and in business.