Christian Pulisic has been a Chelsea player for almost half a year now, but because of the circumstances of his signing, he’s just now finishing up all the formalities usually required from new arrivals. So we’ve had two first interviews, a first visit to the training ground (to watch his new/future teammates train for the Europa League final), a welcome message, but we still hadn’t had the customary “hold up the shirt” shot with Stamford Bridge in the background.
On Tuesday, that was also taken care of, as can be seen above.
For good measure, we’ve got a third first interview as well, carried by the official website, the Guardian, and the Telegraph as well, all with slightly different takes. But the one thing they all definitely agree on is that the 20-year-old is not fazed by the challenge facing him.
“I try not to allow pressure from the outside to affect me. I put enough pressure on myself to be good, to be great. That’s how I’ve always been. I’m very competitive, I want to be the best for myself.
“It’s quite easy to avoid the outside pressure, you just zone it out. I’m not saying I kill myself with pressure. I expect a lot of myself. For me, that’s enough. Obviously there’s pressure from outside – that’s to be expected. But I just try to focus on what I can do.”
-Christian Pulisic; source: Telegraph
And a lot will be expected of Christian, even more so than with the US Men’s National Team or with Borussia Dortmund, for that matter, especially if Eden Hazard leaves this summer as expected.
“Eden is a fantastic player, we all know that and if I can get anywhere close to that I will be happy. He is a great player. I want to come in, be my own player, and do the best that I can do.
“I want to use my skills, my pace, my quickness and creativity to help, especially on the attacking end of things. Scoring goals and providing assists, that is what I am here to do. I want to make an impact and be a team guy who is going to give it everything.”
-Christian Pulisic; source: Chelsea FC
If Pulisic comes across as a confident young man, it’s because he’s already proven himself against the odds. It’s a bold move to go from American soccer to German football at any age, let alone as a teenager, but he handled it with the utmost aplomb and quickly managed to make a name for himself in the Bundesliga and beyond.
“I was 15 when I moved to Dortmund. I knew that move wasn’t going to be easy, and the first two years in Germany were very tough for me: a foreign country, a new language, being away from my family and friends...
“I thought people were looking at me, asking: ‘Who is this American trying to take my spot?’. I was playing in the youth team and hadn’t ‘made it’. Everything was in front of me. It was a tough time, but I wanted it. My life was soccer. I knew that if I stuck at it and proved I was good enough it would all work out. If they see you can play, they respect you.”
He will have to earn that respect at Chelsea now, too. His transfer fee may be sizable but it will not guarantee him immediate accolades. In fact, it will mean that everyone will be watching him very closely, the good guys for signs of promise and the bad guys for any signs of weakness. That may be unfair, but that’s the nature of the beast, of competitive sport.
“There’s no doubt City had a great season, but Chelsea … there’s a champion mentality at this club. They are a confident group of guys who understand we have a long way to go, but we have a great squad already and everyone wants to take the steps so we can compete right away.
“It’s the next challenge I want to take on [...] When I was little, if I didn’t get a trophy, I was mad.”
-Christian Pulisic; source: Guardian
Fortunately, the kid’s mentality is in the right place and should make him a good fit for the club.
Welcome to Chelsea, Christian! Let’s win some trophies.