Friday April 21 2017
Babacar: 'Time to prove myself'

Fiorentina striker Khouma Babacar admits that 'I'm no longer a kid' and so 'it's time to prove myself'.

After revealing that he turned down a bid from Inter, the Senegalese hitman also discussed his passion for basketball.

"At the moment I have not had many opportunities," he continued in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. "But it’s certainly not [Nikola] Kalinic's fault that he is one of the strongest strikers in Europe.

"Now I look for my opportunity. I am confident I can be a striker in a team fighting for the Champions League. I hope Fiorentina will give me this opportunity.

"We are experiencing an unlucky season. Go and read how many times we’ve hit the post, it’s record numbers. Against us, goalkeepers often have made miraculous saves. But it's not over yet.

"[Mauro] Icardi is a great striker, he can win capocannoniere.

"The rival for Icardi is [Andrea] Belotti. The Toro forward is a star. "

With uncertainty over the future of teammate Federico Bernardeschi, what does Babacar think will happen next?

"I hope he stays. Federico currently is only Florentine both in his mind and in his heart."

Federico Chiesa has broke through into the first team this term, so how does the striker assess the youngster?

"He is strong. Mentally as well as in his legs. He will become a top player.

"I never watch football on television. And I do not play it at the playstation. So I struggle to give judgments about other players who are not at Fiorentina. But I'm very good at NBA basketball."

Who is the best player in the NBA?

"I have no doubt: [Russell] Westbrook. I’m mesmerised by him. He’s a real phenomenon, the symbol of Oklahoma City. Basketball is one of my passions alongside music."

Moving back to football, Babacar discussed the Senegal national team, and spoke of his hopes for the future, starting with the game against Inter on Saturday.

"In June we are facing a major challenge for World Cup qualifiers against Equatorial Guinea. We are a young and talented national team.

"At the Franchi we play Fiorentina-Inter, not Babacar against everyone. I'm only interested in Fiorentina scoring three points to keep our tiny European dream alive.

"I need to demonstrate my validity. I'm no longer a kid. It's time to prove to everyone that I'm ready for a leading role."