He’s Gary Neville without the jobsworthiness, Cafu on a congestion charge, Dani Alves without the multi-instrumentalism, Alexis Mendomo without the razzmatazz. Anyone who has watched him at club level or Ivorian colours will attest to that. He is a makeshift right-back who is indisputably great.
As Jean Jacques Gosso ambles into the restaurant, situated in the hub of Perpignan, he is instantly compatible to his modus operandi on the pitch despite the hazy fog that separates us; a martinet sneersmile etched on his face, his white boots pitter-pattering on the concrete floor, his phosphorescent Cote d’Ivoire jersey utterly blinding – inasmuch as making me reach for my sunglasses – and then, of course, there are those assured, regal strides sealed with tunnel vision which makes one thing irrefragable: this is a man who is going places and fully in control of his destiny. I stood up to greet him as his shade loomed into my personal space and what ensued was crunching, almighty welcome-to-the-restaurant tackle through me. JJG laughed raucously as I withered in pain on the floor. I had been warned by my journo mates that this was his typical initiation to test the mental toughness of the individual. I manned up.