English club Manchester City’s defender Bacary Sagna has said he had tears in his eyes when Wembley Stadium paid tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks during France’s football friendly match against England.
Both sets of supporters united to show support during Tuesday’s match, singing the French national anthem and holding up cards to represent the Tricolore flag before a minute’s silence was observed. England won the match 2-0.
Reflecting on an emotional night, the French defender has vowed it was an occasion he will never forget, saying: “I am French and when something happens to the French people, it happens to me. Everything that happened on Friday will stay with us for a long time. Tomorrow, a week’s time, a year’s time – we will never forget what happened last Friday,” he was quoted as saying by the London-based talksport.com on Wednesday.
“After everything that had happened, we had to keep holding our heads high. Despite all the difficult things that had happened, we were ready to fight, to give everything.”
“On Tuesday night, we wanted to win for the people of France. Unfortunately, we lost but it was more than about just a match. Although it can’t put a smile back on the faces of the French people, this was the least we could do: to try and give all we could in support of the families of the victims,” he added.
Sagna said that the circumstances were so trying that it was difficult for his team-mates to concentrate and prepare on the match but it was essential to participate to send out a strong message to the world.
“Honestly, it was hard to prepare. This was about more than just a football match. We were just a little part in a bigger show of strength. But we had trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating. We struggled to focus.”
“But, by playing, we were sending out a bigger message. Football is a big part of all our lives, and part of our society, but there are far more important things in life than football,” he concluded.