Dika Mem, the Champions League final and mourning

Dika Mem, the Champions League final and mourning
Dika Mem, the Champions League final and mourning

There were around ten Dunkirk players at the top of the Kiel supporters’ corner, who came to support their ex-teammate Samir Bellahcene who had gone on a crazy adventure to Germany. But the goalkeeper of the “Zèbras” fell heavily from his cloud on Saturday, swept away with his team by a hurricane in Catalonia (30-18).

Dika Mem and Barça, ruthless, will set off this Sunday evening to attack the Champions League final against the Danes of Aalborg. “It was a match that we had prepared really well for a month and a half, said the Catalan captain, far from any euphoria. I told my teammates to empty themselves, without thinking about tomorrow. »

It’s the return of good habits for the Blaugranas and their star right-back (1.94 m, 26 years old), after their titles in 2021 and 2022. But this remake of the 2021 final (36-23 victory) will have a very particular echo for the Tokyo Olympic champion, in a period of deep personal pain.

More juice in the second half

Last week, Dika Mem lost her little sister, Olivia, who died at just 17 years old following a serious illness. Returning to France to his family after this tragedy, the player joined his teammates directly at the Final 8 of the Copa del Rey in Jaen (Andalusia). After his 8 goals in the victory over Torrelavega in the final on Sunday (36-23), he dedicated this title to the deceased.

“I’m focusing on the Final Four and trying to give it my all”

Barcelona right-back Dika Mem on her sister

“Obviously, it’s not easy. he said modestly on Friday, during the media meeting in the garden of the team hotel. But after talking a lot with my family, I told myself that we have to move forward. From where she is, she would have liked me to be happy, to give my all. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m focusing on the Final Four and trying to give it my all. »

On Saturday, he did not deliver the best match of his eight Barcelona seasons: 3/5 shooting, 2 assists and a pair of offensive fouls. “I felt tired, in the second half I had no more juice, he admitted, ensuring that there is no link with the context. But I will be ready in the final. »

His teammates have no doubt, like his compatriot Timothey N’Guessan: “It’s a machine. » A very complete player, already considered one of the very best on the planet, the child from Eaubonne (Val-d’Oise) has taken on a new dimension this season, since he inherited the prestigious armband with the colors red and gold of Catalonia. “I continued to grow with this role of captain”says the second scorer in the Champions League (99 goals in 17 matches, an average of 5.8) behind Parisian Kamil Syprzak (112 goals).

His leadership is expressed in particular during timeouts, where he does not hesitate to harangue his teammates in Spanish. “He is an example on the field and in his relationship with his teammates, a very nice person”, congratulates his trainer, Carlos Ortega. This Sunday afternoon, Mem will be one of the most formidable obstacles in the way of Aalborg legend Mikkel Hansen, who is playing his last chance to finally win the Champions League.

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