Bilel Aouacheria: “I have lots of work to do!”

Every week, The Ballboy aims to provide its readers with the opportunity to learn more about a promising player starting prove himself in one of Europe’s top leagues. This week, we interviewed Bilel Aouacheria, who recently joined Moreirense (Liga NOS).

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You left Saint-Étienne when you were only 20 years old to go play in Portugal, precisely in Segunda Liga. Why did you make this decision?

Saint-Étienne did not offer me a professional contract, and I was then free to sign wherever I wanted. I decided to join Covilha in Portugal as a free agent, because I thought this would be an interesting move for my career.

How was your adaptation to the Portuguese style of play? Are there that many differences between French and Portuguese football?

It went very well, and exceeded my expectations. I learned the language very fast in order to improve my social skills and break out of my shell as fast as possible. In terms of the game as a whole, Portuguese football is in my opinion more technical, intense; it’s where I discovered professional football after all.

After two seasons at Covilha, you signed for Sporting on a year-long loan. What was your experience like down in Lisboa?

To be honest, It was a fantastic experience in one of the best youth systems in the world, a system that produced and helped develop players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Luis Figo, Ricardo Quaresma, and so many others. It allowed me to progress in a bigger club with experienced coaches, a different work ethic and to play alongside quality players in world-class facilities. I learned a lot in my time there, and to have the opportunity to train with the first team and Adrien (Silva), William (Carvalho), Gelson (Martins), to play for Jorge Jesus. It made me progress a lot.

Just after coming back to Covilha, you joined Moreirense and finally made the jump to Liga NOS. Why did you choose Moreirense, and why now?

I did have a couple of offers from around Europe, but Moreirense were the first ones to show any kind of serious interest. They were a club that was well established in Liga NOS, and I knew that they could provide me with an opportunity to improve, and to continue improving. I know the country very well and I have been here long enough to have my friends here; stay here and play in one tier higher was a golden opportunity to my eyes.

Which players in particular inspire you in Liga NOS?

Of course, I feel like I always have something to learn from the best players. In terms of players, I really like (Yacine) Brahimi’s playing style, but I try to work on my own for now.

You are also French Algerian, having been born in France from Algerian parents. Do you have a preference for either one of the two teams?

I am indeed French Algerian. For now, I don’t think there should be any question regarding my allegiance; I haven’t been approached by either one of the two teams, and I have a lot of work to do before even thinking about being called-up, let alone get capped.

Would you ever come back to Saint-Étienne? Or would there be another league where you would like to play in the long-run?

I wouldn’t be against going back, it’s my first club and I grew up in Saint-Étienne – it’s a special club for me where I spent almost twelve years of my career. It had an impact on my playing style, and you can’t just forget that. The Big-5 are leagues where I would like to play, but it’s all about opportunity at this point and I think I still need to work on my football before thinking of taking such a big step forward in my career. For now, I’m focused on staying in Liga NOS with Moreirense and confirm my status in the squad.

Finally, if you were a fruit, which one would you be?

A watermelon. It’s one of my favourite fruits, full of water and it has a football-esque shape, which is a nice coincidence!

Najib Guiti is the man behind the curtains, as well as the founder of the eponymous news website; he has written for various different news outlets in the British, American press and has had a successful career in football news reporting, mostly through his influence and presence on social media. He aims to integrate statistics in the sport whilst keeping his analysis focused on the non-quantifiable parts of the Game such as tactics and playing style.

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