William Saliba was thrilled with his individual performance as Marseille held ten-man Paris Saint-Germain to a goalless draw in Ligue 1, calling it his greatest effort to date.
Saliba joined Arsenal for £27 million from Saint-Etienne in 2019, but the 20-year-old has yet to make his first-team debut for the Gunners, and he joined Marseille on a season-long loan in the summer.
Mikel Arteta has reminded Saliba of his quality this season, and the young center-back has done exactly that, receiving wonderful praise for his solid performances at the heart of Marseille's defense.
On Sunday evening, the Frenchman faced possibly his hardest test yet, as PSG, the league leaders, traveled to Marseille with a superstar front-three of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Lionel Messi.
However, just before the hour mark, PSG's Achraf Hakimi received a straight red card, and the visitors left the Orange Velodrome dismayed, with Saliba performing a last-ditch charge on Mbappe in the 83rd minute to maintain the result goalless.
‘I saw he made the call so I was like, “Either take the red or I take the ball”. I tackled the ball well so there you go,’ Saliba told reporters shortly after the final whistle.
‘It’s the best game of my career, playing a Classico at the Velodrome with this atmosphere.
‘Today we drew, it’s not that bad. We lacked a little efficiency, but from Wednesday we will try to bring all three points.’
After PSG was reduced to ten men midway through the second half, Saliba claimed there was a sense of 'regret' in the Marseille dressing room.
‘It was a very good game, they scored the first offside goal, we equalized but that was also offside,’ he added.
‘It was a very good game with chances on both sides. With the red card, we hoped to bring back the three points but hey we drew. We must not be too downhearted and we must go forward.
‘There is some regret because with the red card we would have hoped to take the three points, but we drew and it’s not that bad.’
Marseille moved up to fourth place in the French top division as a consequence of the win, and Saliba was happy with the team's determination to keep PSG at bay.
‘They had the man sent off with 35 minutes left. At the start we had possession, then even with ten men they managed to gain some momentum,’ he went on.
‘Up top they have the best players in the world and we had to stay focused. Even with a man down they managed to keep the ball and attack.