When Stoke City’s 10-year spell in Premier League stopped in May 2018, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting probably didn’t imagine himself playing a Champions League final two years later.
The 31-year-old lost that final with Paris Saint-Germain but is now playing for Bayern Munich the team that won the Champions League. Despite playing for two of the biggest names in European football he has no regrets about his time with the less glamorous English club Stoke City.
“I am very happy I went to Stoke, it was a great year even if we got relegated,” he said. “Of course, it was a sad moment for all of us, it was a difficult season but I was happy to get experience in the Premier League.” Luckily for Choupo-Moting a German coach, who had just signed in the French capital, had already been tracking his progress.
“After the season, I had immediate contact with (Thomas) Tuchel over a period of one or two months and he told me he would be happy if I joined Paris Saint-Germain,” the striker explained.
“When I started professionally, my dream was to play one time at the highest level, the Champions League with one of the biggest team in the world.” He achieved that ambition and also proved his worth to PSG with an injury-time winner in the quarter-finals against Atalanta.
It was a goal celebrated by the same fans who were openly skeptical when he signed from Stoke, having scored just five goals in 30 Premier League games. “You always have negative persons who don’t believe in you but the most important thing is to concentrate and to focus on yourself,” he insisted.
And after his two-year contract ended last August, Choupo-Moting decided it was time to move back to Germany, where he was born and raised and turn down an offer to stay at PSG.
“Of course, it’s a different level (training with world-class players). You can see straight away on the training sessions the quality of the players,” he explained. “At the end of the day, all these superstars are normal people.”
Choupo-Moting is also philosophical about his status in the Bayern squad behind Robert Lewandowski, who was the top scorer in last season’s Champions League.
“If such a big team wants you to come, they would have their reasons and it shows that can do your part and you can help this team,” he insisted.
Scoring a brace in his first game with the European champions in the first round of the German Cup was a great way to introduce himself to the club, the fans and his teammates. So far he has adapted well to life with Bayern, which is his fourth German club after spells with Hamburg, Mainz and Schalke 04.
“We are like a family in the team. That was the case in Paris and here I got integrated really quick,” he added. “I played with Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sane. I know Thomas Muller from the youth national team.
“Bayern Munich wants to win as many title as possible that’s our goal. The most important is the performance and we take every game 100% seriously.”