EXCLUSIVE: I Want To Show Atletico Madrid Fans What Is In The Reserve Team - Ibrahima

At the age of 20 the Senegalese striker Ibrahima already has football tales to tell. After making his debut for Atletico Madrid in their 2-1 win against Sevilla, the Senegalese spoke to Goal.com's Ashish Sharma.
"I went out there with confidence and with a desire to win," with those words Ibrahima recalls his debut and the victory on Saturday, in which an injury time goal resulted in Atletico making a winning start to 2010 against Sevilla.

It was a victory as much inspired by hard work from the home side as it was by Sevilla doing whatever they could to throw away their one goal lead. Aldo Duscher even got himself sent off for a nasty challenge on Valera, in the second half, to leave Sevilla outnumbered for the final assault as the home side finally grew in confidence.

There were not too many positives out there for Atletico in truth. The side still looked forlorn, especially in its attempts to link up midfield to anything significant in attack. Delusional is the hope fans have that one day the team may actually be able to connect defence with attack. Not that there is that much to shout about at the back either. Only three clubs in La Liga have conceded more goals then Atletico so far this season, and two of them, Xerez and Zaragoza, occupy the bottom two positions.

But there was one chink of light carved out of the Vicente Calderon aside from the unexpected last minute victory. Quique Sanchez Flores responded to the absence of Kun Aguero by turning to a youngster from the B side.

Ibrahima, who was at great pains to point out that his name ends with an "a" because "that is the style in Senegal", was everything that the doctor  had ordered for a subdued Atletico. Tall, strong and incredibly fast, Ibrahima won virtually everything in the air that was thrown up to him. He was quick with his decisions and made good use of the ball throughout the game. Not only did he show an ability to find  passes to set free his deadly attack partner Diego Forlan, but his strength at holding up the ball also allowed his midfielders to come up and feed off him. He idolises Zlatan Ibrahimovic and admits that he wants to be like his Barcelona hero.

There is nothing conventional about his story. Born in Dakar, by the time he was 17 he was in Argentina with just $50 and a pair of boots. Unable to speak Spanish he was fired up by the hope of making it for Argentinos Juniors. When that did not work out he ended up at Velez Sarsfield. Two years later and he was heading off to Madrid to see what he could do with the reserve team at Atletico ...the answer was provided on Saturday.

"When the coach came up to me and told me I was going to make my debut, I felt very good and very calm. I was also determined to show the fans that they do have something in the reserve team." Ibrahima says.

Atletico fans have almost become spoilt when the secrets of their reserve side are revealed to them. Fernando Torres fired up the imagination, when he came through, and although Kun Aguero came on a transfer, he was only 18 when he signed. Today, four years on, and  upwards of 50,000 fans can instantly chant his name. So what was it like for Ibrahima when he was running out in front of the Atleti faithful?

"Oh wow in truth I was really happy with the fans. But I was most pleased to see so many had come. We need our fans to come out and support us and to help us." Ibrahima was already beginning to sound like a seasoned professional, who has his standard lines ready to throw over an interview.

With the Copa Del Rey match in Huelva today, Ibrahima may be secretly hoping his run in the team can now be extended to two consecutive matches, but he prefers to focus on his reality.

" I am with the B team and so now I will just go back to the set up and continue training with them. If we are needed for the first team then we will go  but now I will continue with the B team," he says humbly.

"The difference in level between the two is there. The first team is very professional in every sense and plays really really hard," he admits.

Having got the taste I ask the question what more he feels he has to do to stand a better chance of staying in the first team set up.

"Well as I have always said. We are in the B team so we can learn. We have to learn  how to play and how to work hard every single day. And when we are brought into the first team, well that's because its for something. There is a lot more confidence in the way they play in the first team. but I suppose that is also because the B side is still very young but these are the things you learn."

And for a young striker learning alongside the likes of Aguero and Forlan can only be beneficial.

"Of course with Kun and Forlan you can only learn. I want to copy them and I want to learn to from them, and I want to fight for the chance to be able to play with them all the time."

Its an ambition the youngster from Senegal may very soon realise.

Ashish Sharma, Goal.com