Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting insists he is not all that surprised by his late career flourish at two of Europe’s biggest clubs.
He helped PSG reach the Champions League final last summer, scoring a 93rd minute quarter-final winner against Atalanta before they got past RB Leipzig and lost narrowly to Bayern Munich.
And it was Bayern who signed him at the end of that season. Now aged 32, Choupo-Moting has scored six times in 26 appearances, including one in a 3-2 Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat to PSG last night.
In fact, five of his goals have come in four starts and five sub appearances in the Champions League.
It was put to him that most talented players end up at the top in their early 20s but he said: “You can’t plan a career. I didn’t have the feeling that I was stagnating, nor did I say, ‘But I have to play for this or that club,’ for my career to be particularly good.
“And I don’t think I took small steps. For example, it was a huge leap for me to move from Mainz to Schalke, because that’s where I played the Champions League for the first time.”
It was Schalke who he left to join Stoke in 2017. He was arriving at a Stoke side with top half ambitions but he was filling the boots of Marko Arnautovic – and Stoke were doomed.
“I love languages and like to gain experience abroad, and I’ve always wanted to play in the Premier League,” he told Spox.
“The year there was a lot of fun – even if we unfortunately got relegated in a bitter way.”
He added: “I wasn’t totally surprised or anything (to then go to PSG). Sure, (mine and Tuchel’s) paths diverged a little after I switched to Schalke, but Thomas Tuchel knew what I could do. It was nice that a top coach like him did not miss my achievements.”
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Choupo is coming to the end of his contract at Bayern but reports suggest he could have done enough to earn an extension.
“I really enjoy being part of this team,” he said. “We work hard together and we all have the ambition to have as much success as possible. Apart from that, it’s an honour to play for FC Bayern.”