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Here are some excerpts from our interview with Barbora Votíková. The entire 4-page interview can be found in the Onze Mondial magazine n ° 349, available on newsstands and on our eshop from 7 April.
I knew how to grow as a person and as a player and in that moment PSG crossed my path. “
Barbora VotikovaPhoto credit – Icon Sport
You have always been a huge football fan. The first time you had a standing ball, how old was he?
I think I’m about 8 years old. He was with the local men’s team in the small town I grew up in. I don’t quite remember how it started. I only remember that I was very young and played football at school. At the time, my grandfather saw that I was doing quite well with the ball on my feet. We told ourselves that I could do it in a club, because I already liked it at the time.
How did the boys behave then?
We were very young and everything was going very well. The guys supported me a lot. For my first game with the team, they were all around the stadium cheering for me. It was a great atmosphere, definitely one of my first memorable football memories.
Younger, it seems to me that you started offense. How did you find yourself a tutor?
Maybe I wasn’t very strong in attack, that’s probably the case (laughs)! I panicked quickly when I got the ball and had to run. I soon realized that I had to go to the goal, that’s what corresponds to me the most. The proof is still today.
At what age did you start in a women’s team?
Hard to say, I think I’m about ten years old. At the time, he was with the Viktoria Plzen team.
Before entering the Slavia Prague!
Yes. Slavia Praga was a step above, especially in the structures. In Plzen, it wasn’t necessarily the structures that developed a good team of professionals. We lacked the resources, the players worked on the side. At Slavia everything was more professional, the intensity of the training, the staff around us … It was much better to progress and reach a better level.
Was it then that you realized you could become a professional player?
When I arrived in Slavia I was 17 years old. I signed a contract, but it wasn’t entirely professional. In the beginning I had a separate part-time job, I also continued my studies. It was difficult to put it all together. But the quality of the conditions improved when we started to have good successes in the Champions League. In particular, we have reached the quarter-finals of the competition. From there, financially, it was easier for the club and therefore for us.
Were you taking on part-time jobs, studies and training at the time?
Yes, in the beginning it was like that. It wasn’t easy, but luckily it didn’t last. In particular, I decided to interrupt my studies, because I wanted to continue my career in parallel on YouTube and continue to progress on my social networks, in addition to football.
In total, you spent seven years at Slavia Prague. What are your best memories?
The quarter-finals of the Champions League, necessarily, but also, and above all, the championship titles. They are strong moments to live in a career, the victories, the celebrations that follow …
And last summer PSG contacted you. Is it an achievement for a professional to be contacted by a great team like Paris?
Yes of course. I was super excited to join Paris. However, I had received offers early in my career, but I didn’t necessarily feel ready to leave at the time. I wanted to take my time. I knew how to grow as a person and as a player, and in that moment PSG crossed my path. It was the perfect time to take this step in my career.
Did you hesitate to accept?
I wouldn’t say I hesitated. It was a big decision for me. I left a lot of things behind me in the Czech Republic when I arrived at Paris Saint-Germain. So it wasn’t an easy decision, but I was super excited to join this group. I just had to plan a lot of things about my YouTube channel, my brand …
What is PSG’s reputation in the Czech Republic?
PSG is known as a strong team, with a lot of prestige, very well known. We know it’s a quality club. In the Czech Republic, Paris is highly respected. Everyone around me was very excited to see that I was able to receive such an offer.
In one of your videos on your YouTube channel (Bára Votíková), we can discover that you traveled between Prague and Paris… in an electric car! Why ?
First of all it’s electric, it took me forever, a whole day. You have to charge it all the time. In fact, I was sponsored by Hyundai at the time. I wanted to have this car in Paris with me. I said to myself, here we are! It took me exactly 22 hours. I had to stop on the street to sleep, we lacked the charger, I was afraid of being stuck in the middle of nowhere. It was a great adventure even before arriving in Paris!
“My coming out? I didn’t want to hide anything from my followers. I’ve always been authentic with my audience. “
Barbora VotikovaPhoto credit – Icon Sport
It’s been seven months since you arrived in Paris. How is your integration in the group going?
I feel great. We get to know each other week after week, it’s great. We have a very strong group. I’m very happy.
What are your ambitions?
Obviously it is to win all possible trophies, it is our common mission. We are fighting for the title in the first division, we are in the semi-finals of Coupe de France and in the Champions League (PSG won 2-1 in the first leg against Bayern Munich. The interview was carried out before the return match scheduled for 30 March). We dream of winning them all, it’s a crazy goal, but that’s what we want.
Is playing for Paris Saint-Germain something more challenging every day than at Slavia Prague, for example?
You have higher goals because you are able to achieve those higher goals. Each training session is more difficult, because the competition is more ambitious. We need to be more and more attentive, more focused. But gradually, you get used to it and it becomes your nature.
You started as a professional in 2014. How do you see the evolution of women’s football?
Women’s football continues to grow. This can be seen in stadiums that are increasingly full. I am happy that women’s football is growing, it is a good thing. Sponsors are more and more interested, clubs are putting more money into it. It is thanks to all this that we progress. If this continues, we are on the right track. We need the right conditions to get the best out of us. This will advance the game and, logically, people will become more and more interested in it.
Are these conditions you speak of missing in some clubs to help players progress?
Completely. It depends on the people in the clubs that revolve around women’s football, on how they decide to fight to put on the field the best conditions for the players.
You are known thanks to football, but not only that. For years your YouTube channel has been a success (nearly 500,000 subscribers) and so has your Instagram account (more than 500,000 subscribers). Where did you get this passion for vlogs, social networks?
I do not really know. Currently, I share my days in my vlogs and my followers can follow what I am doing. It’s nice to be able to share it with them, to exchange. They can be inspired by what I do. I started my channel at 16 at the beginning. In fact, I wanted to become an actress at that time. I auditioned, without success. So I decided to create my YouTube channel by posting small sketches on it. It quickly brought me a lot of audience. There was no football content. These are mainly videos about the problems of adolescents, with their parents, their relationships, school …
Do you still make all the videos yourself?
Yes, I do it all by myself. The editing, the ideas… everything comes from me.
Your teammates don’t seem bothered by your camera. Was it difficult to get him to accept at first?
No, I don’t think this bothers them. They enjoy their time with me, that’s all. We will start doing YouTube challenges with my teammates, it will be fun!
You have been seen on Czech TV and in movies. Is this something that can inspire you for the post-career?
I have had roles in two films and in some TV series. I have this little experience, but I don’t think I would follow this path after my career. Maybe I’ll continue in the film industry, but I don’t know how yet. My dream is to write a book and then be able to turn it into a film. It’s a hell of a project. We will see.
In one of your videos, you decided to come out. Why was it important to do this to you?
I didn’t want to hide anything from my followers. I’ve always been authentic with my audience. I wanted them to know me for who I really am. As long as I’ve been able to feel completely comfortable with my decision, I didn’t mind sharing it, it makes me even stronger. This can help people who follow me and who are in the same situation, it could encourage them to talk.
You also created your own brand called Barbes. Did you know it was the name of a neighborhood in Paris?
I basically didn’t know this when I created it, because Barbes comes from my name. My agent then told me it was a neighborhood in Paris. When I found out, I said to myself “what a coincidence”. Also, one of my favorite restaurants in Paris is called Barbes.
In fact, it was obvious that you would one day sign up for Paris!
Yes, it was definitely written!
Arriving at PSG this summer, Barbora Votíková quickly made a name for herself in P1. Undisputed owner in the cage, the 25-year-old Czech impresses both on and off the pitch. An explicit adaptation that is felt as you approach her debut in France, her YouTube channel being a hit, her clothing brand or her coming out.