Introducing Malang Sarr: defender on good Cobham feeling, stopping Juventus and why he knew Chelsea would win the Champions League

Sarr made 19 appearances for Porto during his seven months at the Dragao. While he admits he would have liked more playing time, the experience served him well. He says he learned a lot about himself mentally during those periods he wasn’t involved, and also because of the restrictions he faced as a result of the global pandemic. He had his elder brother with him for company, and a former Porto legend and now a Chelsea loan player technical coach, Paulo Ferreira, back at Cobham analysing his performances and offering guidance.

‘He was really kind with me, he was talking to me almost every day, trying to get news, asking for feedback, checking everything was going well,’ says Sarr.

‘I felt really good at Porto and the main reason was because of him. He was taking care of me. He gave me some little tricks with the language as well!’

Almost exactly a third of Sarr’s minutes last season came in the Champions League, with his six appearances in the competition yielding four clean sheets, an opening-game loss at beaten finalists Man City, and those Juventus heroics.

‘To play in the Champions League was a goal of mine since I was a kid,’ he acknowledges.

‘It was great to have that opportunity, see the level and where I’m at. I was happy to do pretty well, we were really solid defensively and that’s the main thing for me as a defender.’